Tornado Coverage: God's Wrath And God's Benevolence
Whoever thought that the coverage of the Oklahoma tornado would ignite a religious clash? But that it has. First there was the MTV News tweet: BeyoncÃ©, Rihanna & Katy Perry send prayers to #PrayForOklahoma. As #PrayForOklahoma trended heavily on Twitter, comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted: I feel like an idiot now. I only sent money. He then urged his 4.6 million followers to check out #ActuallyDoSomethingForOklahoma and send $10 to the Red Cross. Then there was Wolf Blitzer, suddenly seized by religious ardor as he interviewed a tornado survivor named Rebecca Vitsmun who seemingly lost everything in the disaster but survived with her 19-month-old son virtually unscratched. I guess, you got to thank that Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord? he asked her. She paused a beat, then replied, I'm, I'm actually an atheist. The interview drew thousands of comments on b.ogs and websites. A typical one on MSN: Great! Thank god? Please? thank you god for allowing children to be killed and destroy our town...why would ANYONE thank god? Ignorance and brainwashing that is why. Unbelievable people are praying after this tornado.....where was your god when he killed your kids and your town? And the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church also attracted TV coverage by attributing the disaster to divine intervention. Fred Phelps Jr., the son of Westboro Baptist Church minister Fred Phelps, tweeted on Tuesday, God's wonderful wrath in Oklahoma reminds me: #GodCursesUForFagMarriage. Fox News's coverage of the hurricane was the most watched, attracting 1,487,000 viewers. CNN drew fewer than half that total, 762,000, while MSNBC averaged 441,000.