Sky News anchor Adam Boulton is under fire for asking whether Vice President Mike Pence is “the right sort of person” to lead anti-coronavirus efforts in the United States because he is a Christian and the pandemic is a “scientific problem”.
Boulton, an infamously short-tempered journalist who has been with Britain’s biggest commercial news broadcaster for decades, posed the question in an interview with Jeremy Hunt, who served as Health Secretary for many years under David Cameron and Theresa May, on February 28th.
“When it comes to international co-operation, of course, in medical science, the United States [is] one of the leading countries,” Boulton observed.
“Vice President Mike Pence, is he the right sort of person for Donald Trump to put in charge of this?”
Hunt, a “centrist” who voted against Brexit, gave a characteristically non-committal response, recalling that he has had met the Vice President “many, many times” and remarking that “whatever you agree or disagree with Mike Pence’s views on particular issues , he is very close to the President, he has the President’s ear, and that’s probably the most important factor.”
Boulton was quick to follow up on exactly what he meant by “the right sort of person”, however, taking direct aim at the Vice President’s Christian faith.
“And, I mean, is he, he has strong religious beliefs, for example, is that the sort of person you need dealing with, with a scientific problem?” he asked.
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Hunt remained vague, simply noting that “the U.S. Center for Disease Control is world-renowned for the quality of its scientific advice” and that he was “absolutely certain the President and the Vice President will be following what CDC say” — in large part because failing to do so could have “political consequences”.
But some observers took issue with what they saw as anti-Christian bigotry implicit in Boulton’s question, and expressed doubt he would have dared to pose a similar question about a politician who practised any other faith.
“It is reprehensible that Sky reporter Adam Boulton has called into question Vice President Pence’s fitness to serve his nation because he is a Christian,” said David Kurten, a London Assembly member and candidate for Mayor — as well as a socially conservative Christian with Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Master of Research (MRes) degrees in Chemistry — in comments to Breitbart London.
“If would be unthinkable that a reporter would make a similar statement about a Jew, a Muslim or a Hindu, and suggest they were not fit to take charge a scientific or health issue because of their religious beliefs,” Kurten observed.
“This smearing and singling out of Christians and undermining Christian belief by a broadcaster is despicable, and should be investigated by Ofcom,” he added, referring to the British state regulator for broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal services.
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