By Cliff Kincaid
“Haters are going to hate” is how Shepard Smith of Fox News referred to supporters of Christian clerk Kim Davis on his Tuesday afternoon show. It was another example of the anti-Christian bias that has been rearing its ugly head on a channel that many conservatives had looked to for “fair and balanced” coverage of the issues they care about.
But calls to several Fox News officials, asking for reaction to Smith’s anti-Christian comments, were not returned.
In other controversial comments about a pro-Davis rally being broadcast during his show, Smith ripped conservative Christians for “a religious play again,” saying, “This is the same crowd that says, ‘We don’t want Sharia law, don’t let them tell us what to do, keep their religion out of our lives and out of our government.’ Well, here we go again.”
Smith seems not to understand the difference between Christianity, a foundation of the American system that protects religious rights and liberty, and Islam, an authoritarian religion which wants to impose its values on others.
It was expected that the liberals in the media complaining about “mass incarceration” would make an exception for Davis to go to jail. That’s just the way the liberals are. But it was somewhat unexpected that Fox News would break its promise to air “fair and balanced” coverage of the issue by permitting Smith to take such a crude stand against Davis on the “Shepard Smith Reporting” 3:00 p.m. ET show.
All that Davis had asked for from the beginning was the right to have her religious views respected by the government, and for her name as county clerk to not be put on marriage licenses for homosexuals. She was let out of jail on Tuesday despite the federal judge in the case, David L. Bunning, having failed to resolve the issues in the case. As a result, she could return to her job and decide again not to authorize gay marriage licenses.
With his reckless comments, Smith, regularly featured by Out magazine as a powerful homosexual media personality, has embarrassed his channel and turned himself into a liability with the channel’s conservative viewers. He has completely dropped any pretense of objectivity on his show, by apparently taking it personally that many people find the gay lifestyle to be morally repugnant.
His coverage of the pro-Davis rally on Tuesday was openly hostile to the clerk, as he denounced her and her supporters as the equivalent of racists who objected to interracial marriage. The idea of comparing blacks to homosexuals is a frequent claim made by the gay lobby and its adherents. However, skin color is a fact of life, and sexual orientation can be learned, chosen, and even rejected.
It was during her legal counsel Mat Staver’s defense of Davis at the rally that Smith said “haters are going to hate.”
But rather than being a “hater,” Staver is a well-respected attorney and legal scholar who “holds Bachelor, Master, and Juris Doctorate degrees and an honorary Doctorate of Laws and a Doctorate of Divinity,” his bio states. “He has argued two landmark cases before the United States Supreme Court as lead counsel and written numerous briefs before the High Court. Mat has argued in numerous state and federal courts across the country and has over 230 published legal opinions.”
Despite his liberal and pro-homosexual views, Fox News says that Smith “has played a major role in the network’s innovation of the way news is presented.”
If so, this can only continue to hurt the image and reputation of Fox News, which still promotes the slogan of being “fair and balanced” in order to maintain its conservative viewers.
A recent edition of Out said about Smith that his “sexual orientation and centrist ideology are some of Fox News’ worst kept secrets.” The magazine went on, “Despite 2014 reports that his desire to come out led to his demotion, Smith continues to provide nuanced, grounded, and logical reporting as managing editor of Fox’s breaking news division, and host of Shepard Smith Reporting.”
But with his bashing of Kim Davis for her Christian actions and views, the idea that Smith provides “grounded” reporting will be increasingly difficult to believe. The venom which came from him is something Fox viewers would expect from MSNBC.
While it cannot be confirmed that Smith was demoted “for his desire to come out” publicly as a homosexual, he might as well come out since he has really left no doubt in the minds of viewers how he feels on this very personal matter. He has confirmed with his wild and opinionated statements that he is not an objective news anchor who can be counted on to fairly report the news.
In addition to attacking Christians as “haters,” Smith complained on the air that those turning out in support of Davis were being “divisive,” and that Davis was surrounded by “grandstanders,” such as the “ridiculous” Mike Huckabee, a presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas who served as a host of a talk show on the Fox News Channel. He is a Southern Baptist pastor who helped lead the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” for the restaurant when its CEO was criticized for supporting traditional marriage.
On his show last week Smith had mocked Davis for having been married several times and having kids out of wedlock, not mentioning her religious conversion to Christianity four years ago that turned her life around and led to her take a stand against signing the gay marriage licenses.
Smith said, “Ms. Davis apparently believes in the sanctity of marriage to the degree that she’s been married a total of four times. In fact, she got pregnant with her third husband’s children while married to her first husband. But fear not: her second husband adopted them.”
Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth called the comments a “cheap shot” that ignored her born-again experience in becoming a Christian four years ago. “She knows that that’s her past. She’s probably ashamed of it,” he noted. “But she now has a strong allegiance to the Bible and to her God and wants to follow her God.”
Despite her religious conversion, Greg Gutfeld repeated the smear of Davis, based on her previous marriages, on the Fox News show “The Five” on Tuesday afternoon. Not one member of the panel took Davis’s side during the discussion or mentioned how Christianity had changed her life.
The basic facts of the case, given short shrift by Fox and other media, are simple: Davis had objected on religious liberty grounds to putting her name and government title on licenses for homosexual marriages. Legal experts also noted that a Supreme Court decision “legalizing” same-sex marriage was not sufficient to alter Kentucky law and the Kentucky constitution, which forbid legal recognition of same-sex marriages.
Nevertheless, Davis was found in contempt by Judge Bunning, who claims to be a Christian, and was put in jail without bail, only to be freed after five days.
Despite what the Supreme Court said in its ruling, dissenters called it a threat to democracy and predicted resistance from the people, who are supposed to have the power in our Constitutional system through elected representatives to make the law. That resistance, as far as the media are concerned, has started with the Davis case. It is shocking that religious conservatives cannot count on Fox to respect their side of the argument.
However, this isn’t the first time that Shepard Smith has been able to spout pro-homosexual views on the air. He denounced Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day as the “National Day of Intolerance” because supporters of the restaurant chain turned out in support of the CEO’s pro-traditional marriage views.
Fox actually pours money into the homosexual lobby. As reported by AIM, Smith and other Fox News personalities, including Megyn Kelly, have raised money for the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), a special interest lobby which has guided pro-homosexual coverage in virtually all major media organizations. In April, the Fox News Channel joined CBS News and CNN as “silver” sponsors of the NLGJA 20th annual New York “Headlines & Headliners” fundraising event. A male stripper performed at the event.
This columnist, who tried to cover the affair, was told that if he recorded the event he would be thrown out.
- When I tried to reach Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News at the switchboard number of 212-301-3000, I was told he was unavailable for comment and that his office would not even accept my inquiry.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected]