The spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, burns on April 15, 2019 (France24 video screenshot)

The spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, burns on April 15, 2019 (France24 video screenshot)

Many viewers were stunned when, as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned and its cause was undetermined, Fox News anchors twice shut down guests on their programs who tried to explain the larger context of regular attacks on churches in France.

It was Shepard Smith who talked over and shut down French media analyst Philippe Karsenty when he pointed out that the “politically correct” conclusion likely would be that it was an accident.

When Catholic League President Bill Donohue explained to Neil Cavuto there had been hundreds of attacks on French churches in the months before the Notre Dame fire, the Fox News anchor interrupted.

“We don’t know that,” he said, before hanging up on Donohue.

Now Donohue, in an interview with BizPacReview, is advising the network that if it doesn’t want to “go there” with reporting that explains context, “don’t even have any guests on the show then.”

“Just go ahead and tell everybody: ‘We don’t know anything.'”

French investigators believe a “computer glitch” triggered the fire, but no details have been released.

“I never mentioned the word Muslim or Islam or any religion or any secular group,” Donohue told BizPacReview. “I didn’t mention anything. I simply stated the obvious. I’m a sociologist, so I tend to put things in social context. And I described what happened, just last month … to a 17th century church and smashing statues and what not. And then I get cut off. And then Neil tries to go on to some inane kind of topic about how much money it’s going to cost to rebuild. How do I know? So I went right back to my point.”

He said he’d been asked to call the live show to talk about the still-burning cathedral.

“Wait a minute, Bill. I love you dearly, but we cannot make conjectures about this so thank you, Bill. I’m sorry, thank you very very much,” Cavuto said.

Donohue pointed out the Democrats have said they’re not going to use Fox News for their presidential primary debates for 2020.

“Is it because Fox feels that they’ve been marginalized?” Donohue asked, BPR reported. “Because a Democrat says, ‘You’re not going to anchor a debate.’ Are they trying to make sure that they’re in good stead with the mainstream media so we’re going to make a few genuflections that way? I think it goes beyond that, quite frankly. Whatever it is, they need to rethink their policy on having guests on. You have a guest on so you allow him to speak his mind. Now if I said something bigoted, racially, religious, or whatever, that might be different. … I’m just explaining the social context, and I’m not allowed to do that? That’s insane.”

He said he has heard afrom many people upset at Fox News.

His advice to Fox News, “Don’t ask people to come on there and tell them, ‘Well, we think you might mention something therefore we have to cut you off.’ It was bad TV. Bad journalism.”

WND reported at the time of the fire that Smith was interviewing French official Philippe Karsenty, who said the cathedral had been there for 850 years and “even the Nazis didn’t dare to destroy it.”

“You need to know for the last year we’ve had churches desecrated,” Karsenty said. “Of course you will hear the story of the politically correct which will tell you it is probably an accident.”

Smith cut him off with, “Not on my watch.”

However, police reported that in just one week in March, a dozen Catholic churches in France were vandalized, including by fire.


Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh noticed the censorship, calling it a “fascinating case study.”

“It is simply unacceptable. It is not tolerable. You must not even breathe the possibility of arson because if it’s arson then fingers will point in one direction, and we’re not gonna point in that direction. We’re not gonna permit fingers to point. We’re not gonna even allow thoughts in that direction,” he said.

“But let’s play the game just to start for just a second here. Even if the Notre Dame fire was not arson, there is no denying that attacks on churches, churches throughout France, throughout Europe, are on the upswing. I’m gonna tell you something, folks. This is just me. But watching those pictures yesterday as that cathedral was burning throughout the afternoon into the evening, watching all that I thought I was looking at what may well be a symbolism for all of Europe going up in flames.

“This is simply head-in-the-sand denial, to refuse to openly accept what is happening throughout France and throughout Europe. And the very idea that there is this concerted effort coupled with a demand to ignore all of this in my nature is all I need to believe that maybe there’s some things going on that everybody knows and some just will not admit and will not permit discussion of. Because there is no denying that attacks on churches in France and all over Europe are on the upswing. It’s undeniable. It’s not all arson. Not random arson. And everybody knows this.

“So it makes all this sanctimonious concern about Notre Dame from the people on Drive-By Media cable news channels, kind of rings a little hollow to me since these same news outlets can’t be bothered to even report on the attacks on churches, the attacks on Christianity that have been taking place throughout Europe and Africa, not to mention the War on Christianity in the United States, which they are helping to wage. These are undeniable things that are happening,” he said.

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