BRIT HUME SPEAKS, AGAIN…. I didn’t intend to return to the subject, but Fox News’ Brit Hume spoke to Bill O’Reilly last night about his calls for Tiger Woods to change his religion. At this point, Hume now wants to debate the meaning of the word “proselytize.”
To briefly review, on “Fox News Sunday,” Hume said the golfer’s Buddhism is inadequate to deal with Woods’ personal problems. The ostensible journalist said Woods can “make a total recovery and be a great example to the world” if he’d only “turn to the Christian faith.”
O’Reilly asked a reasonably good question: “Was that proselytizing?”
“I don’t think so,” Hume said, before reiterating his comments from Sunday that Woods should convert to Christianity.
Hume said that given Woods problems, he “needs something that Christianity, especially, provides, and gives and offers.” That includes, he said, the chance for “redemption and forgiveness.” Later in the segment, Hume said: “I think that Jesus Christ offers Tiger Woods something that Tiger Woods badly needs.”
I suspect for Fox News, dictionaries suffer from liberal biases, but “proselytize” isn’t a word burdened by nuance. It means “to induce someone to convert to one’s faith.” For Hume to deny that he was proselytizing on the air is absurd. That Fox News considers this incident consistent with its professional standards tells us all we need to know about the so-called “news” network.
I’ve been trying to think of a way to frame this in a way Hume’s far-right defenders would understand. How about this — imagine if, after David Vitter’s (R-La.), John Ensign’s (R-Nev.), and Mark Sanford’s (R-S.C.) humiliating sex scandals, a Buddhist media personality appeared on national television and said Christianity is clearly inadequate, and that the right-wing Republicans’ lives could get back on track if they’d give up their faith and embraced Buddhism. The Buddhist said this during a news program, and later insisted his/her comments did not constitute “proselytizing.”
Is there any doubt that Christians would expect that media figure to be promptly fired? Would conservatives defend the Buddhist’s remarks?