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Hannity

New York Times Fueling War on Religion?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 14, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The liberal media's war against religion is alive and well. A recent front-page story in The New York Times reported on the alleged rise of atheism in America. And, of course, a story like that didn't go unnoticed by Bill Maher.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER")

BILL MAHER, HOST: Now, what do you think of the fact that it seems to be a movement that's gaining credibility as of late?

Well, it was on the front page of The New York Times this week in a number of places around the country that you might not think it would be happening, when they put up a billboard that says, "Atheists, please call," you know, there was no complaints. It was just people saying, "Hey, I want to join."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: So, is The New York Times and other liberal outlets responsible for pushing an atheist agenda?

Video: Watch Sean's interview

Joining me now is the author of the New York Times best-selling "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True, Pathetic Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media."

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: I still laugh at the title.

Bernie Goldberg is with us.

Bernie, good to see you.

BERNARD GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Good to see you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right.

There is — and I have said this for years — a hostility in the media towards Christian conservatives. Do I overstate that case?

GOLDBERG: No, no.

Let's take this — this New York Times story as one example. It's a perfectly legitimate journalism story to talk about the rise of atheism in America, if, indeed, the facts are correct.

Now, The Times put it on page one. Now they're sending a message. The message is: We think this is important.

Well, here is what they didn't think was important. When a book came out by a Syracuse University professor saying that conservatives are more generous than liberals when it comes to giving money to charity, and the reason that they're more generous is because of their Christian faith, or their religious faith, that story didn't wind up on page one of The New York Times or page two or page five page 10. In fact, there was no news story about that.

There was no book review of the guy's book. There was an op-ed. But that was all.

HANNITY: Yes.

GOLDBERG: Now, why is that? Why is a story that says people of faith — by the way, even liberals of faith are generous when it comes to giving money to charity. So, religion was the key. That story didn't interest the editors at The New York Times, but the rise of atheism did.

I report. You decide.

HANNITY: Yes.

I don't know what — whether The New York Times has — has ever reviewed your books. I don't know what shows you have been invited on. Now, in fairness, my book was number one for five weeks in a row, my last book, on The New York Times list.

Mark Levin's book is now seven weeks in a row. He has not been invited on any of the mainstream media shows. You went through this same type of treatment as a conservative. Is this more broadly conservative and less about religion? Is this about political philosophy?

GOLDBERG: Yes, that's a good question.

The two seem to meld in the minds of many liberal elites. When it comes to religion, for instance, a lot of liberal elites, including liberal elites inside news rooms, think that people who believe in an invisible man who lives in the sky and, you know, can send fire down with his fingertips, people who believe that, the elites think, aren't too smart, because that's irrational, they think.

Well, what is the opposite of that? Atheism. Atheism is rational to them. It's smart to them. It's hip in places like Manhattan. So, that's why atheism is given this kind of prominence on page one, and a lot of things having to do with religion in a good sense just aren't.

But — but we can't separate the religious part from the conservative part, because they're very closely linked together.

HANNITY: Well, is that why Barack Obama, in spite of the overwhelming history about America being founded on Judeo-Christian principles, can say, this is not a Christian nation? Is that why he can say, we are not at war with Islam?

We have never been at war with Islam. We have been at war against radical Islam and we have been at war against — against terrorism. So, is that where maybe this is — look, because I agree with you. I think there is a certain — a fundamental belief that if — well, if you believe in God, or you believe in faith, that you have — well, you are not quite as smart as they are. There's a certain elitism.

GOLDBERG: Right.

HANNITY: But — but they...

GOLDBERG: That's right.

HANNITY: In my view, they believe something can come from nothing. Even if you believe in the Big Bang theory, well, where did all that energy and all those molecules come together to bang together and create universes within universes?

It's...

GOLDBERG: Right.

HANNITY: It seems like a far greater miracle to me.

GOLDBERG: I know. That — that's a tough one, isn't it?

Look, let me...

(LAUGHTER)

GOLDBERG: Let me tell you about a true story that happened — that I witnessed when I was at CBS News that may put some of this in perspective.

There was a conference call with producers from all around the country, New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami. And they were talking about the stories that were going to go on the air the next day. And it — I wasn't part of the call, but I heard it on the speakerphone.

And the producer in Washington said, well, there is a rally tomorrow with Gary Bauer. Gary Bauer was the head of a family values organization.

HANNITY: Family Research, yes.

GOLDBERG: And she said — she — yes, she said, there is a rally tomorrow with Gary Bauer — and this is a verbatim quote — "you know, that little nut from the Christian group," right?

HANNITY: Wow.

GOLDBERG: "That little nut from the Christian group."

And not one person on the conference call said anything, like, "You can't say that."

HANNITY: Yes.

GOLDBERG: Could you imagine if a CBS News producer said, "Jesse Jackson, the nut from the black group," or "some nut from the Hispanic group" or "some nut from the gay group"?

HANNITY: Good point.

GOLDBERG: That would never be tolerated, but — but saying somebody is a nut from a Christian group, no problem.

HANNITY: Did you notice, as I did — and maybe — maybe some will say I am being a bit picky here.

At the Correspondents Dinner, putting aside — we have — we have dealt with the "Wanda Sykes wishing Rush Limbaugh dead, the president laughing" aspect of this, which I think is unforgivable to me, because, if it was ever said about the president, we know the reaction would be.

Were you as surprised? The one thing that Barack Obama said, which was funny — and all good humor is rooted in truth — is when he goes, "And I know you all voted for me," meaning the press.

GOLDBERG: Oh, yes, that — thank you.

HANNITY: Yes.

GOLDBERG: Thank you for asking me about that. Thank you.

Listen, he said, "Most of you covered me." Pause. "All of you voted for me." They didn't just laugh. They applauded.

All good humor has a ring of truth to it. This had a lot more than a ring of truth to it. They all knew it was true. And the most important thing is, they didn't care and they weren't embarrassed.

HANNITY: Yes.

GOLDBERG: That's the important thing.

HANNITY: Wow. I have got to tell you something. Journalism is dead in America. And, by the way, that's why we say thank you to all of our viewers, because you know what? This is alternative media.

And, Bernie, we appreciate it. We always love hearing your voice. Thanks for being with us.

GOLDBERG: Thanks a lot, Sean.

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