Fox News blew up a minor incident in which a comment mentioning God was auto-blocked on the Disney website and turned it into a Christian cause celebre.
December 2, 2014

Yesterday, Fox's Todd Starnes attacked Disney as anti-God because its website blocked a user comment thanking God. Starnes had no proof that the blockage was anything more than a glitch in some moderating software. But professional Christian grievance-stoker Starnes turned the minor incident into an entire column. This morning Fox & Friends turned the column into an interview with the “heroic victim” and her mother.

Fox's Elisabeth Hasselbeck opened the discussion by saying, “Well, it looks like Disney’s frozen out God.”

As anyone who is familiar with commenting on a large website should suspect, the blockage was due to the configuration of Disney’s comments moderating software. In fact, Starnes posted an update to his column in which Disney explained exactly that:

Update: After the following column appeared on, Disney issued the following statement on Tuesday, December 2: “Disney employs word filtering technology to prevent profanity from appearing on our websites. Unfortunately, because so many people attempt to abuse the system and use the word “God” in conjunction with profanity, in an abundance of caution our system is forced to catch and prevent any use of the word on our websites. The company would have been happy to explain our filtering technology to the inquiring family had they contacted us.”

That’s right, it appears that Mama Julie Anderson went right to Starnes instead of Disney with her gripe and Starnes was more than happy to make young Lilly Anderson a Christian martyr before he even got an explanation.

And Fox was so proud of Julie and Lilly for ratting out Disney (never mind the validity), that the “fair and balanced” network trotted them out on television to rat them out on the air. Even though Hasselbeck revealed she was aware of Disney’s explanation because she read it to the viewers during the interview.

But before that, Hasselbeck wrinkled her nose accusingly as she said, “So until you removed 'God,' the word 'God,' the website would continue to tell you to be nice?"

Also before revealing she knew what had happened, Hasselbeck asked, "Lilly, how did that make you feel, when you just said simply what you were thankful for – and that was a really nice note your wrote. How did that make you feel to get that message back?”

Mama Julie Anderson acknowledged she had “reached out” to Starnes but not Disney. Anderson claimed her goal was to get “you know, some sort of answer, ‘cause I just don’t want children to feel like there’s something wrong or something that they should be ashamed of in sharing their faith with their peers.”

As she closed the segment, Hasselbeck asked "sweet Lilly" to "go ahead and tell America right now exactly what you’re thankful for, the way you wanted to the first time.” Hasselbeck promised, "We will not censor you."

After Lilly thanked God on the air, Hasselbeck praised her “great work” in sharing “loud and proud” and called Julie “a great Mom.”

But while Hasselbeck was promoting this non-existent slight, she failed to mention that Disney is a target of the right wing for being too pro-gay.

Hasselbeck and Fox are the ones who should be ashamed.

A slightly different version of this post appeared previously on NewsHounds.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.