CNN's Bash Highlights Ted Kennedy's Scripture Quote: He Mangled Citation

On Friday’s Newsroom, CNN correspondent Dana Bash reported on Senator Ted Kennedy’s alleged “deep Catholic faith,” and zeroed-in on how he “used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination,” but chose a clip of his bungling a biblical citation. “My favorite parts of the Bible are always Matthew 25 through 35 [sic]- I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty, you gave me to drink” [audio clip available here].

Anchor Heidi Collins introduced Bash’s report, which shared a similar theme to AP’s report from Friday morning: “Senator Kennedy had spoken of his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.” The CNN correspondent then highlighted how “Ted Kennedy’s family chose this church for his funeral Mass because he prayed here every day when daughter Kara was diagnosed with cancer, an example of his quiet, but deep Catholic faith.”

Bash featured several clips from her interview of Father Gerry Creedon of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia.  She first asked Father Creedon, who, in her words, “counseled Kennedy for more than 30 years,” about the senator’s faith: “Did you consider him a religious man?”

After noting the long relationship the Catholic priest had with the politician (displaying an old picture of the two as well), the CNN correspondent cited his Mass attendance and his apparent love of the Gospel: “Kennedy often said it was his mother’s Catholic faith that guided his famous family’s political agenda. He used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination.” Bash then played the clip of the senator noting his favorite part of the Bible, which was “Matthew 25 through 35.” The Gospel of Matthew actually only has 28 chapters. He likely meant Matthew, chapter 25, verse 35, as that was verse that he subsequently quoted.

Despite her playing up of the Democrat’s Catholicism, the correspondent added after the sound bite that “Kennedy’s support for abortion rights flew in the face of [the] Catholic credo....Senator Kennedy once told me that he had a complicated relationship with the Catholic Church because he was for abortion rights.”

Dana Bash, CNN Correspondent | NewsBusters.orgNear the end of the report, Bash continued with her earlier theme of how the long-term senator practiced his faith: “Father Creedon says Kennedy often came to him for spiritual guidance during well-publicized low points in his life, and in the last year, too ill to go to church, Kennedy asked him to come give Communion at home, and never asked others to pray for him.”

The full transcript of Bash’s report, which aired just after the bottom of the 9 am Eastern hour of Friday’s Newsroom:

 

HEIDI COLLINS: Senator Kennedy had spoken of his complicated relationship with the Catholic Church. CNN’s Dana Bash now with more on his faith.

DANA BASH (voice-over): Ted Kennedy’s family chose this church for his funeral Mass because he prayed here every day when daughter Kara was diagnosed with cancer, an example of his quiet, but deep Catholic faith.

BASH (on-camera): Did you consider him a religious man?

REV. GERRY CREEDON, ST. CHARLES BORROMEO CATHOLIC CHURCH: Very much so.

BASH (voice-over): Father Gerry Creedon counseled Kennedy for more than 30 years.

CREEDON: This is an old picture- probably goes back to 1980.

BASH: He says Kennedy not only attended Sunday Mass, but sought him out to discuss the tenets of Catholicism.

CREEDON: Most people sat there either disagreeing with me or sleeping. I’d walk out of church and Ted Kennedy would come up to me and continue the theme I was preaching on.

BASH: Kennedy often said it was his mother’s Catholic faith that guided his famous family’s political agenda. He used scripture in his push to end poverty and discrimination.

SENATOR TED KENNEDY: My favorite parts of the Bible are always Matthew 25 through 35 [sic]- I was hungry and you gave me to eat, and thirsty, you gave me to drink.

BASH: But Kennedy’s support for abortion rights flew in the face of [the] Catholic credo.

KENNEDY (from May 8, 1996 Larry King Live): Roe v. Wade made a very clear declaration. That is the law of the land- I support that the law of the land.

BASH (on-camera): Senator Kennedy once told me that he had a complicated relationship with the Catholic Church because he was for abortion rights.

CREEDON: I think he would wish that he could find- have found a middle ground, a common ground with our Church institution. I prayed for him at Mass yesterday morning, and I got an e-mail saying you scandalized the faithful by praying for Ted Kennedy.

BASH (voice-over): Father Creedon says Kennedy often came to him for spiritual guidance during well-publicized low points in his life, and in the last year, too ill to go to church, Kennedy asked him to come give Communion at home, and never asked others to pray for him.

CREEDON: When it came to the prayers of the faithful, as the time normally people make petitions, and often times his wife would make a petition for his health and so forth, he never made a petition, but he always had two or three prayers of thanksgiving, gratitude.

BASH (on-camera): One of the last letters Ted Kennedy wrote in July was a letter to the pope, which he asked President Obama to personally deliver when he visited the Vatican last month. Neither the senators’ aides nor the Vatican would disclose what the letter said. Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center