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Religion is Virtually Invisible on T.V.

National & International Religion Report, March, 1992

Religion is virtually invisible on network television, a recent study concludes. Scholars from three universities who monitored 100 prime-time TV shows aired by ABC, NBC, CBS, and the Fox Network determined that references to religion rarely appear on the screen, and when they do, religious beliefs or practices are seldom presented in a positive light. The survey found that 95% of all speaking characters on TV programs have no identifiable religious affiliation. Thomas Skill, a University of Dayton researcher who helped compile the report commissioned by the American Family Association, said television's treatment of religion "tends to be best characterized as abuse through neglect." Skill said ABC showed the greatest respect toward religious behavior, while Fox most often ridiculed religion or linked it to humor.