Completely Bizarre: NPR Speculates If Historic Cardinal Is Gay, Admitting There's No Evidence

Mollie Hemingway at the religion-news analysis blog Get Religion caught how the taxpayer-funded liberals at National Public Radio cover momentous events for the Roman Catholic Church: by speculating that a historic Cardinal might have been a homosexual, even though they admit there's no proof:

On the final day of his United Kingdom trip, Pope Benedict XVI formally beatified English theologian and apologist Cardinal John Henry Newman. Let’s look at some of the stories about Newman. NPR’s excellent religion reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty had a piece speculating that Newman was gay. I thought it a completely bizarre approach for the main story the news outlet chose to report on the man.

The piece itself acknowledges, eventually, that there’s no actual evidence for the claim. But that comes after the large point headline asks: "Was Cardinal John Henry Newman Gay?"

There’s lots of passive voice and two sources — one who has been accused of writing false things about historical figures before — saying that the close friendship Newman had with a man makes it not unreasonable to speculate about his homosexuality. He concedes there’s no evidence of a sexual relationship. This isn’t new. The fact is that there has been a great deal of speculation, in recent years, about the close friendship Newman shared with Ambrose St. John.

Now, my main question about this story is the simple angle. Why this angle over all the others? There are so many interesting things to explore about Newman, his writings, his life, his legacy. NPR chose, instead, to speculate about his sexual orientation.

Personally, I find it bizarre that so-called historians would read minds and guess that two Catholic priests who've taken a vow of celibacy living together -- and helping each other through all the mundane details of daily life -- adds up to great odds of a sexual relationship.

Isn't NPR here committing exactly what liberals hate if it was applied to Barack Obama, speculating that he could be secretly Muslim? Could Hagerty do that story, admitting she doesn't have any proof? Or would that be seen as more National Enquirer than NPR?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis