Pondering Hollywood’s selective slandering
On Dec. 4, the second Sunday of Advent on the Christian calendar, Fox’s “Family Guy” mocked two-thirds of the Holy Trinity as only Fox can.
In atheist Seth MacFarlane’s gag, Jesus Christ had a human son who he mocked for being bullied at school, comparing that to the horror of the Crucifixion. When his son called him a “dick,” he suggested that God the Father was a bigger “dick” for sending him to his death.
On that same day, The New York Times ran an enormous article that sprawled over three pages of the Arts & Leisure section with the headline “Can TV Be Fair to Muslims?”
Just try to imagine Muslims being mocked on American television as Christians are on “Family Guy” or “South Park.” ABC’s “The Real O’Neals” is organized entirely around bigotry against the Catholic Church, as is HBO’s forthcoming “The Young Pope.”
But Hollywood’s treatment of the Christian majority never bothers The New York Times, which only obsesses over religious minorities, like the 0.9 percent of Americans who identify as Muslim and have never suffered a fraction of the insults aimed at Christians on television.
Times correspondent Melena Ryzik began by complaining about the absence of Muslim characters on shows other than those focused on terrorism or “terrorist-adjacent” storylines. She said: “Could that change now, after a divisive presidential campaign that included vows by Donald J. Trump to stop Islamic immigration? Or will it be more difficult than ever?”
Did we mention that Muslims comprise less than 1 percent of the American population? Exactly what is the market for a Muslim show? And while we’re at it, where is there a market for an anti-Catholic comedy series (other than the staff at ABC, of course).
To The New York Times, radical Islamic terrorism is a smaller problem than Islamic representation on entertainment TV. Ryzik assembled a gaggle of exquisitely Islamosensitive TV writers and showrunners to ponder how to create better pro-Muslim TV shows in the Trump era.
Ryzik asked: “The FBI has said that attacks against Muslims were up 67 percent last year. Do you have any anxiety about your shows being fodder for that?” Howard Gordon, who’s running a reboot of “24” for Fox, said, “Absolutely, yes.”
He reported that Muslim Americans trashed his show the first time around. They said, “Hey, I like your show, but you have to understand that you’re contributing to this xenophobia by trafficking in this worst fear, this sort of basest fears.” Gordon says he wants to create an atmosphere of — get this — “vigilant empathy.”
Joshua Safran, the creator of ABC’s “Quantico,” told of crying for hours in the writing room over Trump getting elected. He added: “For me, it was important to not ever put a Muslim terrorist on our show. There hasn’t been one. This year we have the appearance of one — which is a spoiler. But it’s not true.”
But slander Catholics? ABC does that regularly.
What the Hollywood left wants to make is propaganda that apologizes for America. Aasif Mandvi, a former “Daily Show” correspondent and Muslim activist, explained at one point that “As an artist, you want to stay true to the narrative, and sometimes that goes against your activist agenda, which is to promote this positive image of Muslims.”
The entire panel assembled by the Times agrees that the Trump presidency means the stakes are “higher than ever” to make pro-Muslim shows to fight the new administration’s alleged Islamophobia.
They don’t find any cognitive dissonance in seeing it go side by side with shows that stereotype Christians as psychotic power-crazed hypocrites or mock the Christian God as a trinity of dicks.
Bozell is the president of the Media Research Center. Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.