Comedian Ellen Degeneres appears backstage with the award she won for Favorite Talk Show Host at the 35th annual People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles on January 7, 2009. (UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen)The insipidity and stupidity of the Religious Right is — by now — legendary. There is nothing so idiotic that a Religious Rightist will not say or do it, in the name of his hyperreligiosity. As if anyone needed yet another example of this, the Web site Christian Newswire claims that the ratings decline of American Idol is because its newest judge, Ellen DeGeneres, is gay. The UPI relates these moronic and fact-deprived comments (WebCite cached article):

Christian Newswire is causing a stir with claims that freshman “American Idol” judge Ellen DeGeneres, who is gay, is responsible for the show’s ratings slump.

“At this moment in entertainment history, network television is on a pro-homosexuality bender,” Christian Newswire Director Gary McCullough wrote on the Web site.

As the UPI notes, however, American Idol‘s ratings declines predated DeGeneres’s arrival on the show — by a few years:

In fact, ratings for “Idol” have been declining steadily with each successive season, and the 9 percent decline for Season 9 matches the decline from the previous season, The Hollywood Reporter said.

OK, so they’re getting this from the Hollywood Reporter, and I’m sure all those dutiful Religious Rightists out there will dismiss that, claiming that the H.R. is part of the evil pro-homosexual cabal that’s trashed Hollywood and is trying to destroy the country. If that’s the case, then all one needs to do is use the Internet to roll back the clock and look at previous years’ reporting on American Idol and its ratings. I was able — very easily — to find many stories to this effect; just one of them is this Reuters story from just about one year ago (cached article), pointing out Idol‘s declines in its 2009 season:

Kris Allen’s upset victory over glam rocker Adam Lambert drew the smallest “American Idol” finale audience since 2004, slowing the television ratings juggernaut and raising questions about the future of some of its key players.

It’s not hard to use the same procedure to go back to 2008, or 2007, and so on.

The truth is that the fortunes of American Idol have been falling noticeably for several years. It is literally not possible that Ellen DeGeneres’s presence on the show, beginning this year, can explain its decline. What is more likely is that, in its first few years, Idol had been such an intense television fad, that it’s natural it will have ever-fewer viewers as the years go by, and that it may never regain the viewership it had, say, 7 or 8 years ago. Ms DeGeneres has nothing to do with this trend.

I get that McCullough doesn’t like Ms Degeneres, or gays in general, but that doesn’t entitle him to say things about them which are objectively and obviously untrue.

Photo credit: UPI / Jim Ruymen.

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