2019-03-20 23:16:12 UTC
SCA Names The Daily Caller "Most Unethical News Publication"
Washington, DC The Secular Coalition for America today named
the Daily Caller the most unethical news publication." The
Daily Caller earned the "award" after numerous discriminatory
and unethical emails were sent by Christopher Bedford,
Associate Editor at the Daily Caller, to the Secular
Coalition. The most recent email read, Take a day off from
hating God, kids and babies. Bedford's actions were supported
by Daily Caller Editor in Chief, Tucker Carlson.
The Secular Coalition said the journalism code of ethicswhich
includes principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity,
impartiality and fairnessmust be extended to all groups
equally regardless of religious belief or nonbelief. The
Coalition decided to issue the award as a lighthearted way of
drawing attention to media bias against nontheists.
The issue of media bias impacts the nontheistic community, but
it is one area that is often ignored in discussions of
discrimination against nontheists. The Freethought Society
keeps a list of instances of media-related discrimination
against nontheists, including stereotyping by the media.
Edwina Rogers, executive director of the Secular Coalition for
America, said the Coalition routinely receives comments from
reporters that indicate bias against nontheists, but the
Daily Caller takes the cake.
The most recent example of poor journalistic ethics on the
part of the Daily Caller came on May 3, in response to a press
release the Secular Coalition sent on the so-called morning
after pill, or Plan B. After his initial email, Bedford
followed up with:
I'm not sure what y'all believe in beyond annoying America,
but if it's what most atheists believe, I hope it comes true:
I hope you live a long, happy life surrounded by friends and
family, and when, in many years time, it is your turn to
rejoin your earth mommy, you become one with her, growing into
a majestic and beautiful tree that some hardworking American
fells, turns into paper and prints a Bible on.
Bedford has responded to at least five SCA press releases with
escalating rhetoric over the course of the last year. The
majority of responses espoused negative sentiments toward the
nontheistic viewpoint, but one, sent to the Secular
Coalitions female communications manager, read Here's a Dick
pic. Only after scrolling to the bottom of the email was a
picture of Dick Cheney visible.
When Executive Director, Edwina Rogers contacted The Daily
Callers Editor in Chief, Tucker Carlson, to discuss
religiously-based media bias at the Daily Caller, Carlson
supported Bedfords actions and statements saying, That's not
hate. It's disagreement. I'm confused by what strikes me as
your disproportionate outrage.
The Daily Caller claims that it is a legitimate news
publication offering unbiased reporting. In an interview with
Politico, Carlson described the publication's work as
"hard-nosed reporting" on politics and government and said The
Daily Caller will not be tied to ideology but rather will be
"breaking stories of importance." In a Washington Post
article, Carlson said "We're not enforcing any kind of
ideological orthodoxy on anyone."
Rogers points out that impartiality is the foundation that
allows journalists to cover news without imposing any
ideological orthodoxy on the reader.
The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics urges
reporters to, Examine their own cultural values and avoid
imposing those values on others; Avoid stereotyping by race,
gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual
orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status;
Support the open exchange of views, even views they find
repugnant; Remain free of associations and activities that may
compromise integrity or damage credibility among other
The basic tenets of journalism ethics are clearare we to
understand that those basic ethics apply to other groups, but
not atheists? Rogers said. Weve seen overt discrimination
in areas of media such as advertising, and the amount of news
coverage given to religion vs. atheism, but discrimination
coming directly from reporterswho are supposed to be
impartialis an area that is rarely discussed.
Over the last year, the Secular Coalition has received nearly
20 biased responses from reporters who have received press
releases. Other responses include comments like, I feel sorry
for you I believe strongly in Jesus Christ and God the
Father," "You should be ashamed, and Move to Iraq. Then you
won't have to worry about it."
CONTACT: Lauren Anderson Youngblood, SCA Communications
Manager at ***@secular.org or (202)299-1091 ext. 205, cell