The evolution of policy and practice regarding religion in the case of US broadcasting provides an opportunity to understand the treatment of religion as an objective matter. US print media treatment developed less self-consciously. In each of these cases, however, a fundamental question obtains: how it is that in a society where religiosity is so common, religion continues to be a problematic element of media content? This article investigates the policy history and finds a complex set of causes and consequences. As a matter of policy, and in defense against state control, the broadcast industries sought to claim control over all aspects of content, even that which would fall under the `public service' rubric. In the case of religion, this control was just as quickly handed over to private religious institutions with the understanding that what religion would appear would be of a general, non-controversial kind. This system did not survive historical circumstances which brought about increased political activism on the part of sectarian interests after the 1970s.