CBS Insists New Pope's Liberal-Pleasing Tone Earned Him Time's 'Person of the Year' Honors

The first Christmas mass of Pope Francis drew positive attention from all three networks on Christmas Eve morning, but CBS took the cake in celebrating what it perceives as the liberal tilt of the new pontiff.

Allen Pizzey openly declared Time magazine gives out honors for liberalism: the pope’s exhortation against the “absolute autonomy of the marketplace” and “comments like who am I to judge in relationship to homosexuality contributed to making the Pope Time magazine's Man of the Year.” (Technically, it’s “Person of the Year” now.) Somehow, previous popes never cared about the poor like the new pope:

VINITA NAIR: On this Christmas Eve, Pope Francis is preparing for a full day of events to celebrate the birth of Jesus. On Monday he met with the retired Pope. Allen Pizzey is in Vatican City this morning. Hi Allen.

ALLEN PIZZEY: The highlight of Christmas in the Vatican is midnight mass. This one will be the first when two popes are in the Vatican together. Yesterday, Pope Francis visited his predecessor, Benedict XVI who lives just behind St. Peter’s Basilica. The simple meeting and modest car that took Francis there were hallmarks of his style.

In his first apostolic exhortation Francis slated what he termed "ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation." He's made significant strides towards reforming the church's government and focused on bringing the church closer to the poor. One recent tweet, for example, Christmas celebrations are often full of sound. It would be good for us to make room to hear the voice of love.

Such sentiments along with comments like who am I to judge in relationship to homosexuality contributed to making the Pope "Time" magazine's Man of the Year. A recent survey showed that church attendance has increased significantly in Europe, mainly lapsed Catholics coming back to the fold. Professor Candida Moss of Notre Dame University sees the so-called Francis effect as a growing phenomenon.

CANDIDA MOSS: I think Catholics who eight months ago were deeply concerned about the Catholic Church and its ability to move forward in the 21st century feel that there's hope. That things are different.  

PIZZEY: Francis recently noted that Jesus was born a homeless person. One observation that goes some way to explaining why his pope seems to relish taking on the high and the mighty in the name of the humble and poor. For CBS This Morning, Allen Pizzey, Vatican City.

Candida Moss, by the way, is one of those iconoclasts who's written a book attacking the "myth" that  the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire. Despite this poor grasp of history, earlier this year, CNN.com signed up Moss for a commentary lining up "five things" Bill O'Reilly flubbed in his best-seller "Killing Jesus.

Pizzey offered quite a different tone when Francis was elected in March, as Matthew Balan reported: 

Correspondent Allen Pizzey, who hyped the Church sex abuse scandal as a "plague of biblical proportions" back in 2010, outlined on Tuesday's CBS Evening News that the new Roman pontiff is a "conservative...[who] opposes abortion, supports celibacy, and called gay adoption discrimination against children. But he could not stop Argentina from becoming the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage or dissuade the government from promoting free contraception and artificial insemination."

ABC offered two anchor briefs on Pope Francis, and NBC offered a report from Martin Fletcher in the 7:30 half hour without any liberal experts, just two soundbites from papal spokesman Greg Burke, a former Fox News correspondent.

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