I do not, as a rule, watch Fox News. I cannot, for example, understand why that network -- which has such a strong foothold in red zip codes -- has never done a better job covering religion news. Still, I have to admit that I have always been a Brit Hume fan, since he is one of the last of the classic, old-school anchor guys. I like his dry wit, too. At the same time, I also have admired the way that he has continued his work in journalism after facing one of the greatest tragedies that one can face in this life -- the death of a child, by suicide. No, I will not provide links to the ugly remarks that "Air America" and other folks on the cultural left have made about that tragedy.
I was glad to see that the Los Angeles Times did a feature about Hume's upcoming retirement and did not leave out the element of his faith. You will rarely see this kind of blunt religion talk in the mainstream press. Here is the top of reporter Matea Gold's piece, which ran with the headline: "Hume tires of 'bitter' politics -- 'This stuff exhausts me,' the Fox newsman says of all the rancor as he prepares for semi-retirement."
With just a handful of days left in the 2008 presidential campaign, one would assume that Brit Hume, managing editor of Fox News' Washington bureau, would be preoccupied with voter turnout models and battleground state maps.
But Hume is already thinking about how he'll be spending his time after Nov. 4. Before the end of the year, the television news veteran will step down from the anchor desk and his long-running show, "Special Report."
"Family is a big piece of it," he said of his retirement plans recently. "And Christ is a big piece of it. And golf is a big piece of it."
The basic thrust of the piece, as shown in the headline, is how Hume has wrestled -- while covering his ninth White House race -- with the bitter, ugly edge of modern American politics. The implication is that this has attacked his soul, as well as his energy and enthusiasm. At one point, Hume stresses that he is a "journalist first and a conservative second or third."
The basic career details are here, of course. It is also clear that Hume is heading into semi-retirement -- he will work as an senior political analyst 100 days a year -- at the time of his game, when it comes to impact on the cable news industry:
At Fox News, Hume has long been the elder statesman, lending gravitas to an upstart network that has fought pugnaciously for respect. His daily ... program, which has bested its cable news competitors for the last seven years, drew its biggest audience ever in September, averaging 2.2 million viewers.
It is near the end of the piece that Gold let's Hume return to spiritual issues:
As he prepares to anchor his last presidential campaign, Hume said he's eager to immerse himself in a more spiritual life after dwelling for so long in the secular. The anchor described himself as a "nominal Christian" until 10 years ago, when his son Sandy committed suicide at age 28.
"I feel like I was really kind of saved when my son died by faith and by the grace of God, and that's very much on my consciousness," said Hume, who plans to get more involved in his wife's Bible study group.
That's an amazing quote, yet I fear that the Los Angeles Times has, through a tiny editing error, made it sound as if Hume is saying something far more unusual than what he actually said. I do not think that Hume actually said, "my son died by faith and by the grace of God."
Instead, I predict that what he actually said went more like this:
"I feel like I was really kind of saved -- when my son died -- by faith and by the grace of God, and that's very much on my consciousness."
In terms of Christian theology, that would make much more sense. Could the Times correct that somehow?
By the way, all comments adding to the insults made by the liberal blogosphere will be deleted. Feel free to talk about the content of the Los Angeles Times story -- period.
UPDATED: Want to take a different look? Contrast the Los Angeles Times profile of Hume with this one, from The Politico. The religion and person angles are almost totally missing.