Wolf Blitzer asks atheist Oklahoma tornado survivor “if she thanks the Lord”

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer walked into that one.  Blitzer is interviewing an Oklahoma tornado survivor when he asks her if she “thanks the Lord” for saving her and her family.

The woman responds, uncomfortably, well I’m an atheist.

Blitzer: You gotta thank the Lord, right? Do you thank the Lord for that split second decision?

Woman: I, I, I’m… I’m actually an atheist.

Blitzer: Oh you are, all right.

oklahoma-tornad-thank-the-lord

It made for fun TV.  And I don’t knock Blitzer.  It’s not easy trying to interview people, non-stop, on the spot and keep things flowing with no script.  Yes, it was a goofy question, but he probably assumed he was in conservative country.

Anyway it’s a funny video, enjoy:


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Duncan McNeil

    lol!

  • tom

    And, apparently, an apologist.

  • lea

    Actually according to Meetup.com, AOK (Oklahoma Atheists) is the 7th or 8th largest active atheist meetup group in the US. We are almost 1,500 strong. I love this group. I’ve been a member for years and I’m a native Oklahoman. We’re not all crazy.

  • melbach007

    Yes I thanked the Lord for killing the woman across the street and sparing me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436392995 Amber Lane

    LOL all of this was funny to read.

  • unrepentant_expat

    I’m an atheist and I find myself muttering, “Thank God” after I’ve had a close call. Often it just means you must be grateful to have survived.,

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No need to get nasty. John is our mole inside the beltway.

  • tom

    John: How nice to know he’s fun and interesting. To viewers, his personal attributes are irrelevant. This was nothing more than whorish pandering. I’m glad he got called on it.
    Are you becoming an inside-the-beltway whore also?

  • dcinsider

    You would if you were an atheist.

  • Mocas Dad

    Clarification: It was Clemons. Gag…Sally Quinn couldn’t have written something this execrable.

    http://washingtonnote.com/maureen_dowd_pa/

  • Mocas Dad

    For those of us who don’t get to hobnob @ book parties, all we have to judge Blitzer by is his on-air performance. If, based on that,some of us find him creepy or otherwise deficient, IMO that’s a much more relevant and valid perception than one formed at a social event precisely because it’s a result of his work, not his cocktail party bonhomie.

    One of the great values of sites such as yours is, at least most of the proprietors are not compromised by villager relationships. Reminds me of one of the supposedly liberal internet Steves (Benen? Clemons?) raving about uber-villager Mo Dowd because of the quality of her parties.

  • Mocas Dad

    Watch local evening news? I don’t think so.

  • me

    that’s exactly what I was thinking! how does it escape people that if you give credit to surviving to some “god” you gave to give responsibility for the tornado to god as well!

  • A-mom

    As an atheist mom this clip made my day. Blitzer was clearly just pandering to someone he assumed would want to thank god the way people had been in other interviews, and he ended up with an atheist. Surprise! It sounded forced they way he said it and he seemed pleasantly surprised by her reaction. To me this lady was super brave and she handled herself with class. I don’t know if I would have admitted to being an atheist on national tv. People make crazy assumptions about you when you say you’re an atheist. Hopefully as more “normal” people come out as atheists it will open some minds and show we are just normal people, even moms. :)

  • lynchie

    Bush, George W

  • lynchie

    Pat is instructing women to be more accommodating to their husbands.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    well, you sure wouldn’t want to piss him off, now would you?
    /snark

  • BillFromDover

    How egotistical must one be to think that Jesus H. Ch… God… Thor…Zeus personally intervened to save them while letting leasers mortals perish in His obviously generated disaster?

    And if some are saved by miracles, wadda call the non-miraculous deaths of innocent children… tough shit?

  • Guest

    Blessed be His Noodly Appendage.

  • PeteWa

    the creepiest people are those who trick the majority.
    think: Bundy, Ted.

  • PeteWa

    Wolf:

    “how did you survive?”

    Woman:

    “well, some little piggies built their houses out of straw,
    some with sticks, and others bricks,
    but me and mine? noodles! praise his name!
    we’re still here and doing fine!”

    rAmen!

  • UncleBucky

    Blitzer is an idiot to do this.

  • sophie

    No one is “getting worked up.” Blitzer did not NEED to invoke “the lord” or any other deity when asking this survivor how she felt.

    And, I don’t see any vitriol against Blitzer–although he is far from left–and, “harmless” he is not.

    His corporate “news” gig involves pandering to the wingnuts, not reporting anything “real.” This woman may be one of his first “for real” moments–in a long, long time.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That usually happens on the Charlie Rose show too.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    A deep and soba explanation.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Very good, very good.

  • NorthAlabama

    i have no issues being called progressive or gay, but the avatar actually is in reference to a rock album.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What I took away from this was as yet another object lesson in casual stereotyping and false generalization. I’ve a feeling Blitzer simply assumed that if it’s a white woman in Oklahoma, she must surely be a devout Baptist or Evangelical who habitually praises Jesus for giving her a rock-star parking spot at the Piggly-Wiggly.

    I loved how he was both wrong and this woman had the courage to speak her mind.

    But that’s the amazing thing. We’re not all the same. I’d have been even more thrilled if she’d said something like, “No, but I did thank Hecate, Isis, Astarte, and all the holy goddesses. By the way, I’d like to give a shout-out to all my circle sisters and brothers from the a-MAY-zing Beltane celebration early this month, and special thanks to Herne Starchaser, who offered me and my kids a place to stay until we get back on our feet. Wicca rules!”

    Blessed Be, Wolfie.

  • Zorba

    Would have been funnier if she had said “I’m a Pastafarian, and I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for saving me by the Power of His Noodly Appendage. RAmen.”

  • Timothy Sipples

    Here’s a case where the interviewee is at least 1,000 times more impressive than the interviewer.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielReasor Daniel Reasor

    That would explain why Blitzer asked the next set of survivors whether they felt that the Thug Life had chosen them.

  • lynchie

    I guess if you thank the lord for being saved you gotta thank him for arranging the tornado in the first place.

  • http://twitter.com/smokemifugotm Jesse Cale

    I don’t really understand a lot of the vitriol directed at Wolf Blitzer. He seems like a fairly middle of the road, mostly competent news guy to me. He has made some blunders, as will anyone who is on TV 24/7. And this seems like a harmless video. Yes, ideally, he shouldn’t ask a question like that, but they both took it in stride. People get worked up too easily…

  • Jimmy

    It’s always strange to me when reporters feel the need to invoke God and prayer because it almost always sounds fake. Up until the point I went to college and became a heathen liberal, I attended church every Sunday and grew around religious people of all stripes. You can tell when people are just saying the words because it’s the right thing to do in the moment or because they somehow feel compelled to do so, but it rarely sounds sincere. Just because you’re in dark red Conservative Oklahoma doesn’t you need to invoke the Lord.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That’s good news, if only he would display some of that on CNN. I might watch it again. Thanks for the straighten out! :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sean-Richardson/1350431319 Sean Richardson

    I’m a progressive in central Texas…. and I assume from your avatar that you are the aforementioned “gay in Alabama” ;)

  • SailorGal

    Thank the lord that he sent the destruction and killed the other people – he obviously likes you best. And your football team. And rap singers.

  • NorthAlabama

    an atheist in oklahoma? next, you’ll be telling me there are progressives and gays in alabama!

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Because I don’t get too uptight about the god thing. It struck me as more uncomfortably funny than anything.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    He’s not. I actually met him once at a book party for someone (either David Brock or Arianna). He was actually quite fun and interesting and engaging. Not arrogant or distant or any of that you might expect from someone on TV. I really liked him. I’m not commenting on his journalism, we can debate that separately, just responding to the creepy comment, he’s not.

  • pappyvet

    snort !…guffaw !

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    That could get seriously repellant!

  • A_nonymoose

    Journalists (and I use the term loosely) are always putting words in the mouths of the people they’re interviewing; watch your evening news and you’ll see what I mean. I guess they don’t think the poor slobs they’re talking to are glib enough for television. So in that regard, Wolf is no different from the talking head on NewsChannel 6 in Podunk, Mississippi.

  • Naja pallida

    Besides the mangy opossum stuck to his face?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Wolf is preposterous. There is something seriously creepy about the man.

  • nicho

    I would have said, “I sure did. I thanked him that he killed those little kids and not me.” I still can’t understand people who invent a deity who is pretty much a murderous monster — and then “worship” him.

  • AnitaMann

    “Oh you’re an atheist. So you must have caused this tornado.”

  • dcinsider

    Give them a chance to regroup. No doubt they meet this weekend to kick her kid out of cub scouts.

  • AdmNaismith

    By the power of Pat Robertson and James Inhofe, doesn’t this tornado mean God hates these people and/or this part of OK?
    I don’t understand Wolf’s question. His presumptions are truly preposterous.

    Also- as a free person who does not live in the Middle Ages- I do not have a lord.

  • dcinsider

    Why give Wolf a pass? Would it be alright if he said, “hey, bet your husband is happy you’re alive.” And she responded “Well, I’m a lesbian.”

    The presumption of heterosexuality and the presumption of Christianity need to stop. It is not acceptable. How dare he presume that she wasn’t Hindu, or Jewish? I realize its Oklahoma but why is this nitwit permitted to draw conclusions about people based on geography?

    “Hey black guy, bet you agree with Obama on everything.”

    “Irish guy, bet you plan on heading to a bar after that tornado.”

    Isn’t Wolf just engaged in stereotyping here?

  • cole3244

    i’m an atheist, do you thank the lord or get angry for sending the tornado, by the way wolf is not a journalist and he’s out of his element in the real world.

  • Sweetie

    Because “the lord” (feudalism anyone?) would be sure to cause these storms as well as stop them.

  • S1AMER

    Poor woman — if her Oklahoma neighbors hadn’t been blown away, they’d probably be attacking her as an infidel.

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