Dan Barker Pwns Fox News Anchor

Man, it feels good to watch this clip.

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, schools the FOX News Channel rookie anchor in why the National Day of Prayer in unconstitutional:

You almost feel bad for the kid… until you realize he’s just parroting the right-wing talking points on the matter.

Hope he learned his lesson — don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to — especially when your guest is an expert on the topic.

  • http://www.myspace.com/youreundoingmybeltwronghun Tim D.

    Best way to beat Fox News anchors at their own game: facts. Lots and lots of them.

    Seriously. That was refreshing :)

  • http://yetanotheratheist.net Yet Another Atheist

    Indeed, VERY refreshing! Somebody should show this clip to Sarah Palin, Billy O, and every other neocon moron who thinks this is a Christian nation.

    It’s very easy to own (in fact, PWN) somebody on this issue with pure facts. And that is a wonderful thing.

  • vivian

    Bejuzuz, look at the comment on the screen. Stupid Fox.

  • http://centerforinquiry.net/dc Simon

    Yeah, the host’s questions were typical FN talking points. However unlike most presenters on this channel (eg Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham) he at least accepted the correction on the constitution and let Dan answer the question uninterrupted.

  • Houndies

    Go boyeee! I love it when someone who is knowledgable in the founding documents of our country is allowed a chance to speak on national television and point out all the good stuff that D. Barker just mentioned!

  • Deiloh

    I object to dissing Mother Goose!

    Thanks for posting.

  • http://onestdv.blogspot.com OneSTDV

    I don’t think the Fox News host was horrible, but Barker assuredly PWNED him. The FN host brought up some viable opposition (e.g. what about Christmas?), but Barker had a better answer.

  • JulietEcho

    The FN talking points varied between useful (asking him to make a distinction between this and Christmas) and completely biased journalism tactics (asking him why people would want to “take away” comfort during hard times), but the main reason the Fox guy “lost” is because unlike so many others, he didn’t resort to constant interrupting, shouting, or outright refusal to accept correction.

    I hope he gets snapped up by a better network, because his attitude as an interviewer was pretty ideal, IMO, even though his talking points weren’t.

  • adam

    The only thing the FN anchor did wrong here was let Barker actually make his points. Well, that and the horribly embarrassing Declaration/Constitution mix-up. I’m sure he got an earful off camera.

  • Bob

    Face it, no matter how many times sensible, rational people ‘destroy’ talking points like this, they persist.

    Why?

    Because they’ve made a choice to be ignorant. Because they’ve wrapped themselves in a warm, fuzzy, God-blanky, and it’s the evil atheists who want to rip that blanket away and send them out into the cold and dark.

    There’s a reason FOX News has its audience. They cater to ignorance, and they know it. But it fills Rupert Murdoch’s pockets, so they don’t care.

  • Geoff

    That was awesome! That guy is my new hero. He didn’t attack… just firmly stated his position with passion and conviction. I hope he gets more air time as our country becomes more polarized, and the religious right starts pushing creationism in public schools.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    I heart Dan Barker. That was really nice to watch. I hope there are many more moments like that on National TV. :)

    I would have missed this as I don’t watch Fox News because it agitates me. Thank you for sharing!

  • http://nogodsallowed.wordpress.com Chad

    Wow, that kid needs to do his homework.

    Hemant, I did a double take at your last sentence:

    Hope he learned his lesson — don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to — especially when your guest is an expert on the topic.

    I’d ask whether such wording is ripe for quote miners, but I don’t know the answer…

  • JustSayin’

    Bob is right. That’s what we’re up against: willful ignorance. And therein lies the problem.

    I recently had an e-mail exchange with a co-worker’s husband in which I made the very same point. (I made the mistake of giving them my e-mail address and shortly thereafter they sent me–amongst less-infuriating articles–one of those chain e-mails bemoaning the state of the world and how it all comes down to “taking prayer out of schools” and blaming them-there godless heathen atheists.

  • http://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    I’m surprised that not only did the host call the organization Freedom FOR Religion at the beginning (fixed at the end), but the text on the screen said the same.

    Those guys just don’t get it.

  • trader

    guess we wont see him back on fox…lol….priceless!

  • Jasel

    Wow. I thoroughly enjoyed that lol. Nice.

  • Rhiannon

    Go Dan Barker! That totally rocked my socks. Facts trump willful stupidity every single time.

  • Matto the Hun

    Nicely done dan!

    What I liked best about Dan’s answers is that they were inclusive of all religions, it took away the straw man that this is nasty atheist agitating.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if that anchor gave what Dan said some thought and realized how he’s been completely used by the Christian-Right.

  • Brian C Posey

    That anchor broke the first Fox News rule:

    Never allow the guest to complete a thought unless you know they’re going to expound a right-wing talking point.

    That was his mistake.

  • Dan W

    Wow, that was awesome! Dan Barker owned that Fox “News” anchor with his knowledge of the Constitution and with his well-reasoned points while the anchor could only spout talking points. That was great to watch!

  • Nakor

    @Chad: FWIW, Hemant’s not the first person I’ve heard say, “Don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to,” or something similar. It’s a rule of thumb used quite a bit among lawyers when examining witnesses for example.

    In the case of a journalist, of course, it only really applies if you’re trying to push a false belief; otherwise, a journalist would want to find the truth.

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    I wonder if that news man will get punished for his failure to interrupt.

  • d’Armond

    That was a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing!

  • Valhar2000

    Hope he learned his lesson — don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to — especially when your guest is an expert on the topic.

    I’d much rather he learned to ask questions he doesn’t know the answer and pay attention to what the experts tell him; he doesn’t have to accept the answers wholesale if he doesn’t want to, but dammit! Pay attention!

  • http://frans.lowter.us Frans

    Hope he learned his lesson — don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to — especially when your guest is an expert on the topic.

    I disagree. I thought he did a wonderful job, albeit I didn’t really like his talking points. This is quite probably the first Fox News clip I’ve ever seen that didn’t make me want to slap someone because they were continually interrupting the speaker. Also, as a journalist, shouldn’t you ask precisely the questions you don’t know the answer to?

    Never mind all that if you meant “don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to if you’re trying to push your own agenda,” but in that case I suggest you alter that phrasing somewhat.

  • inmyhead9

    One word- Bazinga. I love Dan Barker could listen to him talk all day. That was a great interview and I am sure they will talk about this one on free thought radio.

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  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    @alise:

    I’m surprised that not only did the host call the organization Freedom FOR Religion at the beginning (fixed at the end), but the text on the screen said the same.

    Well, technically isn’t it kind of the same thing? I know, the FFRF is trying to advocate no government sponsorship of any particular religion, but at the same time, doesn’t that also guarantee that religion freedoms are maintained?

    It’s not so bad a mistake, and I’m glad he fixed it at the end, but I could see a talking point coming from that same mistake.

  • http://www.unfriendlyatheist.com UnfriendlyAtheist

    “don’t ask questions you don’t know the answer to — especially when your guest is an expert on the topic.”

    On the contrary, one should ask questions to items one doesn’t know the answer(s) to, especially when the guest is an expert on the topic in question! His pursuit and passion for knowing the truth should outweigh his fear of looking like an idiot for not having done any non-biased research on the subject.

  • edwords

    Fox made the mistake of not having a second

    wingnut on to split up the interview.

    When their “Little Bo Priest” is there

    it’s 2 against 1. (Fox’s favorite odds)

  • Hybrid

    Dan is always a pleasure to watch. His Bible knowledge is absolutely invaluable for dealing with fundamentalists, it’s always a pleasure to watch him use their own scriptures against them. (A good example is the Kyle Butt debate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7kSU1SpVYc)

    He’s one of the most effective debaters I’ve heard. I’m guessing he won’t be asked back on FOX for a while.

  • Neon Genesis

    “Well, technically isn’t it kind of the same thing? I know, the FFRF is trying to advocate no government sponsorship of any particular religion, but at the same time, doesn’t that also guarantee that religion freedoms are maintained?”

    Changing the name to For implies that they’re a religious organization and it’s like they’re trying to cover up that the FFRF is an atheist organization.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    @Neon Genesis:

    Ahh, that’s true. But at least the host made sure that the mistake was rectified.

  • http://struckbyenlightning.wordpress.com LinzeeBinzee

    I haven’t been able to watch the clip yet, but man I love Dan Barker in debates…he’s great at tearing apart their points. I’m reading his book “Godless” right now, and I’m learning so many great responses to those silly talking points people like to use. He must have an amazing memory because he’s got a stock answer to pretty much anything.

    It’s funny because I listen to the FFRF’s podcast, and him and Annie Laurie Gaylor seem so cuddly and unintimidating on there, but they’re both really strong and unrelenting in debates.

  • Joffan

    It was a good interview and in contrast to most of you guys, I think the interviewer did a pretty good job of setting up the common questions that are out there for Dan to respond to.

    Only if you believe that the only goal of having an atheist on TV is to humiliate him or her would you count this as a failure for the channel.

    Which might be true for Fox News – but perhaps they are sensing a change in the demographic and dropping that piece of pettiness. I’m a optimist.

  • Greg

    As an irrelevant aside:

    Am I the only one who refuses to use ‘pwned’?

    Just because some snot nosed geek somewhere made a typo by hitting the ‘p’ instead of the ‘o’ when chatting to someone online, and was too much of a wuss to admit they (gasp) made a mistake, doesn’t mean I’m going to use their made up word! :p

  • Sandra

    Very refreshing, Dan Barker ran the show.

  • http://seantheblogonaut.com Sean the Blogonaut

    I listened to Dan at the Global Atheist Convention, wonderful speaker, genuine.

  • Atom Jack

    Greg, “pwned” is the “geeks” way of taking “owned” one step further. But then, you aren’t one of them. Deal with it.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Barker’s repartee. The more this gets out there, the better. But those religiously programmed people are legion. The citation of the Treaty of Tripoli was priceless in context.

    The rethuglican party is hanging, nay, crucifying itself in public.

  • muggle

    Go, Dan, go! Terrific! I would not want to go up against Dan in any kind of debate. It’d be an uneven match. I’m largely glad he speaks my views so much better than I would.

    Atom Jack, thanks. I too was wondering what the hell pwned was.

  • Greg

    Atom Jack – I think you missed completely what I said.

    I have no need to ‘deal with it’.

    P.S. I am a ‘geek’. :p

  • Lover of God

    Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.


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