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Fox News Accused of Bigotry Towards Wiccans and Pagans

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Fox News is receiving quick backlash for statements made during the PC Police segment on their weekend edition of “Fox and Friends” Sunday night, February 17th.  The show’s hosts were discussing changes to the University of Missouri’s “Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations,” a guide for faculty to help them plan exams accordingly around recognized religious holidays.  According to the school’s guide via Fox News,

“The holidays and accommodations section of this guide is provided to faculty, staff and student leaders as an educational resource for the myriad of religious holy days celebrated at Mizzou.  Not only does this section offer crucial information about dates and practices, we also hope that the information about recommended academic and food accommodations will be valuable to those planning classroom activities and other academic and co-curricular events.”

From the beginning of the video it seems that the hosts are taking neither the story nor Wicca and Paganism seriously.  After playing a clip from an earlier guest, Clayton Morris incorrectly states that Pagans get 20 holidays, though he earlier correctly identified it as 20% of the schools recognized holidays, and suggests that some students would falsely identify themselves as Pagan/Wiccan to take advantage of the recognized school holidays, followed up by Tucker Carlson’s statement that “any religion whose most sacred holiday is Halloween, I just can’t take seriously.”  Morris then takes a chance to somewhat defend Pagans and Wiccans, citing previous journalism work he’s done where he interviewed Wiccans, but then Carlson adds that “Every Wiccan I’ve ever known is either a compulsive Dungeons and Dragons player or is a middle-aged, twice-divorced older woman living in a rural area who works as a midwife.”

Almost immediately after the broadcast, an online petition was posted on the website Causes.com titled, “Demand Fox News Apologize to Pagans and Wiccans”, with the intention of getting Fox News to apologize, admit to their false information, and present their story again with correct facts.  According to the petition,

‘Fox and Friends on February 17, 2013 decided to belittle women, make fun of a Federally recognized religion, present inaccurate information as “facts” concerning the religion of Wicca, and decide that religious freedom and respect is ONLY for the mainstream or “traditional” religions rather than for EVERY American Citizen regardless of their spirituality. Obviously they need to re-read our Constitution. They also need to reflect on the fact that this is -not- a “majority rules” based Country, a commonly held misunderstanding. If it were, we would not have an electoral college but would operate strictly on a one-person-one-vote system (which we do not). So while the majority of citizens may follow a more traditionally recognized religion in this Country, that in no way invalidates the rights of citizens of other “minority” religions to have the exact same rights and respect given to those of a traditional religion or a majority group.

They are also doing a lot of damage control by removing this video from the public record due to the backlash it is receiving but I, and many others in the Pagan community will not allow them to hide their bigotry and pretend it didn’t happen.’

The petition’s goal is 20,000 signatures and as of 7:45 pm CST on February 18th, the petition has surpassed its goal.

Though all major news networks are guilty of some level of biased reporting, Fox News is repeated accused of being one of the worst offenders.  This segment seemed to primarily be just the incorrect opinions of the hosts and not true factual reporting.  In the name of journalistic integrity, something many people feel is dead in today’s society, should Fox News apologize, admit to the incorrect reporting, and correct their mistake?

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