Secularized networks keep making mountains out of Christian-symbol molehills on the campaign trail. At CNN.com  on Monday, reporter Rebecca Sinderbrand highlighted how a new Mike Huckabee ad has a Christian ichthys  or fish symbol in it, on a banner for the Iowa Christian Alliance: "For the second time in two weeks, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has aired a commercial in which a Christian symbol appears in the background." The ad script itself  talks about defending "our values" and the worth of the unborn, but mentioned religion (rights endowed by "our creator") only in passing.
On Tuesday's edition of The Situation Room, CNN reporter Mary Snow implied incorrectly that the Iowa Christian Alliance was "backing" Huckabee when it's made no endorsement. An
SNOW: And the Republican candidates are also taking to the airwaves, launching new ads, including one that Mike Huckabee does want supporters to see. He came out with an ad showing his backing by the
IowaChristian . It's a very influential social conservative group here in the state, certainly a group that Mike Huckabee is hoping will come out and support him on caucus night. And in this ad, he's talking to the group about his opposition to abortion. Alliance
Huckabee's campaign ad team probably hoped that showing the ICA logo behind him would make it appear subliminally like an ICA endorsement (and for others, it could be just another sly Christian symbol), But it's become quite clear that Team Huckabee can count on liberal reporters to leap with alarm on any notion that any Republican would campaign with religious themes. That's a guarantee that your paid ads will get a free-media boost.
Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center