Zahn and CNN Demonstrate Discrimination Against Atheists

I’ve been a bit remiss in taking so long to mention this bit of bigotry (vid 1 and vid 2) that CNN aired last week. My blog is not really about this topic any more, so if you’re here for the javascript goodies, you may want to skip this one.

Behind the jump is the message that I sent to CNN. About.com author Austin Cline summed up the atheist community’s feelings on the matter quite well in this article. I’ll be recording the CNN’s attempt at recovering their dignity (or at least watching it on YouTube.)

I heard that they were going to air it the other day, but Anna Nicole Smith had to go and die. (I wonder how many more hits my blog will get, now that it contains the words Anna Nicole Smith and die, dying, dead, or death. Did she overdose or maybe it was because of trimspa? Maybe I should just go all out and mention valtrex and mortgages and cialis? I feel so dirty…)

This was my response to Paula Zahn and CNN via their feedback form. Thankfully, despite the fact that anti-atheist discrimination gets virtually no attention in the mainstream media, we’ve got a strong enough internet presence that CNN decided to do something.

I’m responding to your segment on Atheism, in particular the obscene spectacle of a panel “discussion” where no atheists were present.

Paula Zahn, you and CNN should be ashamed of yourselves. This was every bit as bad as a discussion about anti-semitism with three neo-nazis. If you couldn’t manage to find even a single atheist to be on the show, then at the very least you could have gotten one person with the vaguest understanding of the first amendment and separation of church and state. Freedom of religion DOES specifically mean freedom FROM religion.

If you want proof that atheists are discriminated against, just consider this. How much bad press would CNN have gotten if you asked three white people about racism, and one said that blacks “need to shut up,” because maybe he doesn’t want to stop saying nigger in the workplace? This is, in effect, what happened, but aimed at atheists. And how much bad publicity has this segment gotten in the mainstream media? None. Our society does not consider atheists to be worth their concern, and apparently neither do you.

Paula Zahn and CNN should be ashamed at what happened here. I am disgusted and horrified.

Shame on you, CNN. Shame on you for helping to perpetrate the most outrageous element of religious discrimination in our society. Shame on you for helping to push back the clock of equality and enlightenment. Shame on you for your thoughtless and cruel act of prejudice.

8-12% of Americans are nonreligious, and I’d bet that the percentage of nonreligious people among any given news network’s audience is even a bit higher. You’ve just offended them all. Congratulations.

We want an apology.

Isaac Z. Schlueter
Los Angeles, CA

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