ABC Hypes 'Angels & Demons' for 17 Minutes; Allows Spin That It's Not 'Anti-Christian'

"Good Morning America" continued its seemingly endless promotion of "Angels & Demons" on Wednesday, highlighting the film for a third day and almost 17 minutes thus far this week. Once again, co-host Diane Sawyer completely ignored the anti-Christian story elements in the film, including members of the Catholic Church brutally slaughtering a secret society, while talking to star Ewan McGregor.

Even when McGregor, quite unprovoked, brought the subject up, Sawyer avoided the issue. "However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all. I wouldn't have wanted to do it if there had been," he explained. (See Townhall for video.) However, an impending twist in the film makes that claim quite ridiculous. [Spoilers below the fold]

Considering that McGregor plays the chief villain in the film, a man who murdered the previous Pope and, it turns out, is the son (through artificial insemination) of the deceased leader, how, exactly, could any journalist take seriously McGregor's claim that the film is not anti-Catholic? Instead, Sawyer was cagey and asserted, "I'm not going to give anything away here." She later vaguely added, "And there's so much to learn about this father."

Over the last three days, for a grand total of 16 minutes and 47 seconds, Sawyer has interviewed McGregor, director Ron Howard on Tuesday and star Tom Hanks on Monday. With Hanks, she completely skipped the contentious, anti-religious elements of the film, instead calling the movie a "scary, spiritual scavenger hunt." On Tuesday, she prompted director Howard to say how much of a non-confrontational person he is.

A transcript of the May 13 segment, which aired at 8:34am EDT, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: He is now playing a priest in the upcoming "Angels & Demons" thriller, as it is. It is, of course, a sequel in a way to "The Da Vinci code." And it's great to have you here.

...

8:37

SAWYER: Okay, let's take a look at the results of what you did. As we've been saying all week long, it's a super thriller.

EWAN MCGREGOR: It's great fun, yeah.

SAWYER: Vatican- I'm not going to give anything away here. I have to think about your character. You're a priest very close to the former Pope, the late Pope. And you're trying to convince the Cardinal to tell everyone that an attack is imminent. Danger is at hand.

MCGREGOR: [clip from "Angels & Demons]: If the outside world could see this church as I do, looking beyond the ritual of these walls, they would see a modern miracle, a brotherhood of imperfect, simple souls, who want nothing more than to be voices of compassion in a world spinning out of control. Signora, I ask, I pray, that you break this conclave. Open the doors. Evacuate St. Peter's Square. And tell the world the truth.

SAWYER: And there's so much to learn about this father. This robe that we just saw you in. I don't know if this is true or not, is this true that the Pope's tailor himself made your robe?

MCGREGOR: It's the cassock. It was so very beautiful because it was made by the Pope's tailor, yeah. I mean, I don't know that the Pope knows that. Because, I don't know that he might be too pleased. The Vatican weren't very happy about "The Da Vinci Code." And as a kind of hangover from that, aren't too thrilled about "Angels & Demons." However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all. I wouldn't have wanted to do it if there had been. But, anyway, his tailor made me my cassock, yeah. And it's beautiful.

SAWYER: You look swell. A couple quick questions about your family. 'Cause last time I saw you, your brother, Collin, who is an Air Force pilot, with the RAF? Back home?

MCGREGOR: Uh-huh. Yeah. Back home, safe and sound. Yeah. Yeah. Yes, indeed.

SAWYER: Okay, that's good news. And your three daughters? Now seven to 13?

MCGREGOR: 13 and two sevens, yeah. They're all good.

SAWYER: And re they going to see "Angels & Demons"?

MCGREGOR: My eldest might. There's a little bit of gruesome- Within the story, some of the Cardinals are murdered. And so, some of it is a bit gruesome for the young ones. But, I think my 13-year-old will see it. Yeah. She's excited about it.

SAWYER: Right. And now, are they more and more aware of what it is you do for a living? I know they were saying why do people give you papers and pencils?

MCGREGOR: It's quite interesting. It's something I don't quite understand myself. Why does that man want you to sign that bit of paper? I'm like, "I don't know. I don't know what he's going to do with it, but lose it. Or show it to his friends." I don't know.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org