FOXNews Mocks Atheists! November 13, 2008

FOXNews Mocks Atheists!

I know this is shocking to you all.

FOXNews is rolling its eyes at the American atheist bus campaign:

Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Alisyn Camerota don’t understand the need for the bus campaign.

They say atheists just “need a hug.”

They say atheists are doing this because “misery loves company.”

They say we’re feeling “left out of Christmas” because we chose to.

Steve Doocy is really confused. After all, he “doesn’t feel left out during Ramadan.”

He also makes another idiotic comment about how the buses are supported by tax dollars and how uncomfortable this might make viewers. He says this right after they had mentioned how much the American Humanist Association is paying for the advertising. Apparently, he doesn’t understand how advertising works.

They don’t get the irony that their reaction to this story is precisely why the campaign is needed.

And once again, a program (I would say “news” program, but this is FOX) is discussing atheism without inviting an atheist on the program to offer a different perspective.

I really hope this bus campaign draws more attention…

(via Atheist Media Blog)

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  • Matt

    A hug? If they treat holy places like this,, we might need a self defense class instead.

  • Grimalkin

    They were making fun of this on a radio station I listen to (up here in Canada!) as well. They made pretty much the same statements (“why do you need to tell other atheists that they aren’t alone?”).

  • Cindy

    I don’t watch Fox & Friends…and this segment’s another reason why. What a bunch of idiots. They don’t discuss the issue evenhandedly. It’s a big joke to them. They can’t even conceive of someone not believing in god.
    Just pathetic.

  • Even though I’m not a Hindu I took the kids out to a Diwali festival last month. The light show and the huge paper lanterns were fantastic.

    Even though I’m not a pagan I decorated my house with symbols of the dead over Halloween, carved pumpkins and made special food. It was great fun.

    I’m not a Christian either but I’ll be putting decorations and a tree up in the next few weeks for Christmas and getting things ready for a feast and gift giving.

    As for needing a hug I’m open to the idea. Hugs are fun.

  • John Lewis

    The quote they use from the American Humanist Society does not help, you must admit. This has NOTHING to do with humanists “feeling a little alone.” That’s NOT why this was done. I’m not looking for Christian’s sympathy that I don’t have Christmas to celebrate. The campaign is great (a much better slogan than the London version, in my opinion), but the comment from the Humanist spokesman was not good.

  • This was kind of sickening to watch, had this been on Norwegian TV they had been ran down with complaints and probably loose their job, then again about 80-90% of Norwegians are non theistic.

    That said we still do celebrate jul (Christmas) that has taken the name and the time spot of the old norse midwinter offering of animals to the gods.

    It really saddens me that this thing is sent on a “serious channel” over there, just another reason for me hating the image that the US is building of itself, but that is another story…

  • Anonymous


    I am so sorry. This is awful. It was derisive, flippant and IDIOTIC. It was insulting. I think that if you weren’t insulted by this, no matter what your position on faith, you should be ashamed.

    I apologize. I have no authority here, but on behalf of anyone I am so sorry.

    And I am REALLY sorry it went out on mainstream TV and is just another part of the constant exposure to ridicule that makes it so standard, and therefore not remarkable to many in the general public.

    Again, I am so sorry.

    (lurker for about 2 years now) 🙂 *waves*

  • JT

    I don’t think you need to worry about the campaign drawing more attention – “War On Christmas – First Strike”. The group didn’t do themselves any favors by saying they are running the ads because they “feel a little alone at Christmas” – I’m pretty sure that’s not why they are running the ads. We celebrate the winter festival (not alone) and if we call it Christmas or something else, it doesn’t matter – but in my house it’s totally secular.

  • Joseph R.

    FOXNews Mocks Atheists!

    That’s OK, I mock FAUXNews.

  • Randy

    I have to say the statement issued by the AHA opened themselves up for ridecule. They spent $40k, I think they could have given a better reason why other than “we feel left out”. Something along the lines of a belief in god isn’t required to be “good”. Something other than what sounded like whinning. Other than that, good for them.

  • As I don’t live anywhere near by States I didn’t know about this campaign and don’t know what it really is like, but this show was horrible.

    Can you really say that kind of things in tv ? What if it was, say a jewish campaign, and they would have mocked it ? Like, “if they have it cold without houses in Israel, why don’t they just go into an oven ?”, or something. Ok, I’m not the world’s greatest stand up comedian, but the people of faux news (that was a good one, Joe !) must be complete morons.

    It’s disturbing how campaigns for big institutions are always embraced, but the alternative ones are free to laugh at. In Finland, they removed a vegan anti-commercials from bus stops. The big companies are free to commerce the carnivore habits, but if you have campaign against it, it’s “disturbing” some people (that is, the heads of meat product companies). The atheist campaigns are disturbing the religious people, of course, but why doesn’t anyone react to constant religious harassment of people by churches ? And the west should be secular…

    Oh, my favourite was “what you mean there’s no god !” Yeah, just that, there’s no god.

  • TXatheist

    Thanks for the publicity Faux News.

  • They are ignorant, or perhaps even dare I say, willfully ignorant, which is of course equivalent to stupid.

  • PrimeNumbers

    I must admit I don’t get the campaign either. Surely it’s not so we don’t feel lonely at Christmas. Surely it’s about poking fun at stupid believers who watch Fox news? Surely the humanists could have put a much more realistic % of nonbelievers on that poster, or even talked about the Christian hi-jacking of the ancient winter solstice festival. What they did do sort of invites the ridicule Fox gave it.

  • Polly

    I don’t get the Fox network. Maybe someone more knowledgeable about the broadcasting industry can enlighten me.

    Fox is ultra rightwing and appears to cater to conservative Xianity. YET, the most blasphemous shows are all on Fox! I think of the Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad. How often do you see GOD arguing with his babe in bed over not wearing a condomn on other networks?

    Seriously, what’s with this schizophrenic network?

  • Steve Doocy says that “there was an outcry in Great Britain” over the claim. I’m afraid that simply isn’t true. A few people thought it was a bit silly and a waste of time but I’d hardly call it an outcry. Don’t forget that most people in England don’t care about religion one way or the other. Many of us might believe in a vague sort of creator but it’s hardly central to our way of life. We have beer for that.

    Brian Kilmeade doesn’t understand. He doesn’t understand why the campaign is running or what it means. I doubt if he’s even considered an non-theistic view point. Maybe this campaign will open the eyes of other Americans who similarly have not considered an atheistic view. Even if they reject it, as they probably will, they won’t be able to ignore it any more.

    I think some Americans should write in to Fox and thank them. A four and a half minute slot on national TV repeated over and over in news feeds and blogs is worth much more than a $40k city wide campaign. Even negative advertising raises awareness…which is sort of the point.

  • Emily

    This could have been handled better by pretty much everyone, AHA included, but the scorn just pouring out of those ‘casters is enough to make me throw-up a little. Discrimination? I think yes. Even if they were atheists talking about Christians, it would disgust me.

    Besides, no one likes to point out the fact that Christmas is not actually Jesus’s birthday. Jesus isn’t the ‘reason for the season’, Mithras is. Christians adopted December 25th to make the transition to Christianty easier for ancient Persian Zoroastrians, and yet no one on Fox news is making fun of the Christians for being lame and unoriginal…

    Then again, Fox has been an opinion channel more than a news network for years…

  • PrimeNumbers

    Yes, Fox is mad. Again, Atheists are the new Jews. If the ad had been put up for Jews, who don’t do Christmas, (do they?) and the scorn Fox shows had been set upon Jews, imagine the outcry.

  • Larry Huffman

    So, I suppose that way back in Rome the christians created the christmas holiday because they were feeling left out during the Sun Festival? So left out in fact that they had no problem moving their sacred saviors birthday to meet the holiday.

    And I do not want christian sympathy or anyone elses sympathy.

    Now…I did not post when you first showed the bus campaign, because my comments were going to be negative. Not at the intentions, just because of how I figured the public would perceive it. And guess what…they are reacting just as I thought. The message does not really say what it needs to say. If atheists are going to be spending money on a campaign, I would prefer to see it be one to get religion out of our government…not to forward some feel-good message that will get more ridicule than gain ground.

    To be clear…I do not want to push atheism onto the public…I want to remove religion from government. That is all. I do not want others to see things my way, unless they are interested in doing so. I do not want to send out an ‘atheist message’…I merely want to stop the religious messages.

  • Lynn

    I thought I saw an AHA (not the heart people) rep. on at least one of the Fox shows addressing this. I don’t know that they can always get people on for the morning show.

    Anyways, I have always felt it odd that atheists try to emulate religions. It’s just bizarre to me. If you don’t believe in a god or gods or higher power or spiritual aspect or whatever, then don’t. But to organize around what you don’t believe in? And to organize in a manner meant to compete on some level with organized religion? To run ads trying to talk people out of belief?

    Weird. Just…weird. And more than a little insecure. Just sayin’

  • Pamela

    oh, those compassionate and loving Christians.

  • Don Pope

    I’m sorry, but if the AHA’s quote is correct, then they deserve all the ridicule they’re getting. You have to work really hard to come up with a worse justification than “we feel left out”.

    Unfortunately all atheists also get ridiculed by the nincompoops at Fox, not just the AHA.

  • mikespeir

    This “ridicule” seems pretty mild to me. What’s happening is that a bunch of believers who have never been where we are are trying to make sense of that they can’t see as sensible. Maybe they should try harder to see the thing from our perspective; but, having been there myself, I’m not sure that’s even completely possible. And, as others have pointed out, the AHA’s rationale leaves a little to be desired. I feel left out of Christmas to about the same extent Doocy feels left out of Ramadan.

  • RobL

    And this is a surprise because? I stopped watching Fox about 3 years ago when all semblance of objectivity went out the window. Fox has become a bad joke so it’s hard for me to get too worked up about this.

  • I think being mocked by Fox news is better than the alternative. The moment Fox news starts saying nice things about atheists is when I’ll start worrying (one of the seven signs of the apocalypse after all).

  • T’s Grammy

    Yes, they were wrong but the ads too are wrong. On public buses anyway. I think they have no more place there than do the keep Christ in Christmas ones. They should be removed because they’re a violation of church and state. Bus riders shouldn’t be subject to preaching of any sort.

  • JSug

    Meh. “Fox & Friends” isn’t a news show any more than “Today Show” is. It’s more entertainment, and since their key demographic is social conservatives, this is the sort of thing you get.

  • Richard Wade

    Lynn, you asked:

    Anyways, I have always felt it odd that atheists try to emulate religions. It’s just bizarre to me. If you don’t believe in a god or gods or higher power or spiritual aspect or whatever, then don’t. But to organize around what you don’t believe in? And to organize in a manner meant to compete on some level with organized religion? To run ads trying to talk people out of belief?

    Weird. Just…weird. And more than a little insecure. Just sayin’

    You are missing the point, perhaps because you have not been on the receiving end of such derision as in this broadcast of naked bigotry. Atheists don’t “organize around what we don’t beleve in,” we organize around what we do believe in, such as freedom of religion, (yes, imagine that) freedom of speech, (which was mentioned only as a begrudging afterthought at the very last of this shameful broadcast) the separation of church and state, (the erosion of which threatens the liberties of believers as much as non-believers) and we organize to protect our civil rights. We are a socially acceptable target of shunning, employment discrimination, slander, libel, abuse and violence. We’re sick of it and we’re not going to take it any more. Theists aren’t going to spontaneously realize that their treatment of us is outrageous, unacceptable and hypocritical. We are going to have to show them how ugly their behavior is and educate them toward being more tolerant, fair-minded and inclusive.

    We are not running ads “to talk people out of belief,” we’re running ads to express our own point of view, in this case about morality, which we should have the right to do without facing such a storm of hatred from those who simply have a different point of view.

    Think about the irony of their reaction: Are these three newscasters being “good for goodness sake or good for any other reason? No, they are being hateful and cruel, and they are smugly comfortable with that, thinking that their position is justified simply by being in the majority.

    Lynn, we are fighting for your liberty too. Until everyone enjoys basic civil rights, everyone is at risk for losing them. We will not shut up, we will not give up, and we will not go away. Maybe you could keep your beliefs and join us in our struggle.

  • Aj

    The only comments I have a problem with are Alisyn Camerota’s “misery loves company” and American Humanist Association’s “non-theists feel left out over the holidays”. The ridicule is deserved, how can AHA be so stupid, whose side are they on?

  • I really like the latest bus ad. I think it’s a very positive message. I really don’t get why people think this is a “bah, humbug” message. If people would just ask themselves the question, “Why be good?” and take a minute to think about the answer. Hint: the answer is not God.

    The subtitle on the screenshot just struck me. “Group’s Ad Questions Belief in God.” I can imagine a similar subtitle if the ancient Babylonians had TV: “Group’s Ad Questions Belief in Marduk.” Or the ancient Egyptians: “Group’s Ad Questions Belief in Atum-Ra.” I could see the members of these ancient religions joking about the stupid atheists who just need a hug. Silly, isn’t it?

  • Larry Huffman

    And Lynn…there is a large number of Atheists who are so because they were christian. Some their whole lives (me for 30-some years). When you leave that…there is a hole. I have to admit, I loved worshipping on Sunday. After I walked away, I tried to find organizations that could fulfill that void for a while. It subsided to the point that I do not know what I was thinking, but it was real at the time. (It is very difficult to give up traditions that we are taught to cherish by our families).

    I think many new atheists..meaning those who just stepped away from religion, will tend to try to organize. Sometimes those attempts or desires will look like religious organizing. Even like a ‘Church of Atheism” which is comical to think about. And it is then that they realize that being atheist is not about common belief at all…just about commonly rejecting something that is false.

    Look at the Tarot community…those who believe and those who do not. If you know more than one tarot card enthusiast (I do), I am betting you can see numerous commonalities (wow can I…lol). However, now look at all of the people who do not believe in tarot cards. Skeptics, christians, Dems, Reps…yikes…nothing common there at all.

    Just about every silly superstitious proposition has a group behind it that has found a significant amount of commonality. Those who disbelieve that silly proposition will find that the only thing they have in common is not believing the silly superstition, collectively.

    Here is another fact about atheism. Without religious belief…or more to the point, belief in deity…the term Atheist would be irrelevant or completely abstract. We exist as a group only because theists exist. However, theists could easily exist without atheists. If every single person was a theist, then there would be no atheists. While stating that you are theist in such a world would be redundant, it would not be incorrect. If no one at all believed in deity…then deity would not exist…since it only exists because of belief. So being an atheist, eaning someone who has no belief in deity (something that would not exist) in that circumstance would not have any meaning whatsoever.

    All of this means…we as atheists…if we wish to effectively organize, have to do as Richard points out, and organize around what we do beleive. And I hope you see, this could easily put athiests on different sides of the issue. But there are some causes…such as freedom from religion…where most (not all) atheists can find common organizing grounds. Most atheists who have been so for a while, understand this, which is why the more credible organization for atheists are politicaly oriented ones…where we can all get behind getting religion out of our lives. Without trying to make it a social or ‘religious-like’ organization.

    (And on those political organizations websites, there will be forums where the atheists will gather and beat each other up over all of their other non-common views…lol)

  • noodleguy

    It’s just bizarre to me. If you believe in a god or gods or higher power or spiritual aspect or whatever, then do. But to organize around what you believe in? And to organize in a manner meant to compete on some level with atheism? To run ads trying to talk people into belief?

    Weird. Just…weird. And more than a little insecure. Just sayin’

  • noodleguy

    Anyway, this segment is terrible. FOX News at its absolute and most disgusting worst.

  • I think maybe the message they’re trying to convey is a little too complicated to contain in a bus ad.

    It’s all well and good to blame the misunderstanding on Fox News, but do you imagine that the reaction of the typical Christian would be a whole lot better? I’m not even sure that the reaction of the typical atheist would be positive. Take Lynn’s comment:

    Weird. Just…weird. And more than a little insecure. Just sayin’

    Whether we agree with this or not, that’s the reaction that a lot of people will get.

    I’m not sure I can really expect Fox News to understand the purpose of the ad, when I, having much more experience with atheists, have difficulty understanding the purpose myself. Oh, I understand the purpose alright, but it wasn’t easy.

  • Slightly off-topic: How comes the word “humanist” now implies nontheism? At least, that’s what the American Humanist Association seems to tell me. What about religious humanists? I guess they’re not important anymore?

  • sam

    Is 92% of population = theists inflated?

    I thought like 12-20% were atheists..

  • Here’s some much more positive coverage on Fox:

    Positive, because they have a good interview with an AHA representative. Sure, it also has Bill Donahue in it, but he’s so ridiculously over the top that the ad’s target audience couldn’t possibly take him seriously. (via Pharyngula)

  • I think it’s a great idea to have atheists advertise on buses. A Muslim group recently put up a billboard in Chicago inviting people to Islam. This is what democracy is all about- an open marketplace of ideas.

    The number of theists he gave, 92%, seems doubtful to me. He cited no source and even if he had, how do you objectively count that? Do you ask how many believe in God, in a goddess, in some divine power, in something supernatural? Some people might believe in God in the morning and not believe at night.

  • “Anyways, I have always felt it odd that atheists try to emulate religions.”

    If nontheists believed in supernatural beings, performed rituals, and talked about ancient storybooks as if they were anything more than fictional curiosities, then maybe you’d have a point about religious emulation. But as far as I can tell, the only thing atheists have in common with religion is that they *gasp* FORM COMMUNITIES AROUND COMMON VALUES!

    That’s not religious, that’s just plain human.

  • Being worried that FauxNews is mocking Atheists is like being worried that a crazy schizophrenic old crackhead with dementia who smells like pickles said he didn’t like your shirt.


    Nah, I hate Fox News, they must be stopped. And I’m not a HUGE fan of that campaign … I think I would have worded it differently. But hopefully since they DID mention god in it, esp at the holidays it should get lots of press. Come ye all skeptics and non-believers, come out come out where ever you are!!


  • They can’t even conceive of someone not believing in god.

    I wonder if any of them have thought to ask Rupert Murdoch if he does… I guess the possibility wouldn’t have entered their tiny little brains.

  • Mark Browne

    I came to say what hoverfrog has already pointed out – there was no “outcry” in the UK about the bus campaign in London. The reporting that I saw was unbiased, just like similar stories of a religious nature.

  • PrimeNumbers

    Donahue is such a moron. And that as a Catholic, he won’t stand up for fellow Catholic Hitler. As a Catholic, he won’t stand up for all those of his “religion that makes you good” that bugger little boys.

  • Lynn

    Richard Wade and Larry Huffman:

    You’re only proving my point. The truth is that the only thing differentiating atheists from anyone else is their lack of belief in a deity.

    Everything you can say about (some) atheists is true about (some) religious folks.

    Christians, however, share an entire creed of beliefs which informs their positions on a wide array of sociopolitical issues.

    Atheists don’t.

    So when they try to promote themselves as an organized body you end up with silliness like these ads. It’s not a bad ad. We should all be good for goodness’ sake, atheist or Christian. Even the Bible tells people not to be good so they can score points with God. The Bible tells people that the desire to be good for it’s own sake is a natural extension of one’s belief.

    So…where does that really leave the ad as an effort to promote atheism?

    As for fighting for my beliefs, too — I’m an atheist. Duh. But I’m not going to join some High Holy Church of Atheism any time soon.

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