Notre Dame Trustee Resigns; Chicago Trib Relays Claim She 'Didn't Realize' Emily's List's Proabort Mission

There must be something in Chicagoland's drinking water which causes either acute memory loss or a persistent inability to pay attention.

First, we had presidential candidate Barack Obama, who sat in Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ for nearly two decades, but who supposedly had no idea Pastor Wright was so hostile towards America ("US KKK of A"), its history (we deserved the 9/11 attacks because of Hirsohima and Nagasaki), and its white citizens (the "white supremacy Rhetorical Ethic").

Now we have Roxanne Martino, a Chicago-area member of the University of Notre Dame's Board of Trustees, who resigned Wednesday after serving less than two months. The Cardinal Newman Society noted that Martino had made $27,150 in political contributions to Emily's List over a 12-year period. Her claim, relayed through the board's chairman and the university's president, is that she "didn't realize any of the organizations she supported also promoted abortion rights." Uh, Roxanne -- Emily's List has only one mission: "electing pro-choice Democratic women to office."

Here's some of the Chicago Tribune's skepticism-free take:

A Chicago business executive resigned Wednesday from the University of Notre Dame's board of trustees after a conservative Roman Catholic watchdog group reported that she donated thousands of dollars to an organization that says it is "dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women."

 

Roxanne Martino, a 1977 Notre Dame graduate and president and chief executive officer of Aurora Investment Management, a Chicago firm with more than $8 billion in investments, said she stepped down less than two months after her appointment in "the best interest of the university."

 

"I dearly love my alma mater and remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame," Martino said in a statement released by the university. "I had looked forward to contributing in this new role, but the current controversy just doesn't allow me to be effective."

 

The controversy erupted last month when the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization that monitors the Catholic identity of the nation's Catholic colleges and universities, reported that Martino had given more than $25,000 to Emily's List, a campaign committed to electing women who support abortion rights.

 

... Richard C. Notebaert, chairman of the university's board of trustees, said Martino didn't realize any of the organizations she supported also promoted abortion rights. The Rev. John Jenkins, university president, reportedly said the same to concerned alumni. Martino could not be reached to confirm whether she knew of the organization's missions.

 

"On the basis of a recommendation from others, she made contributions to two organizations, and she regrets that she did not personally review their activities," Notebaert said. "That she erred in not knowing completely about two of the many organizations to which she makes contributions does not in any way diminish the exemplary way in which she has lived her life and faith."

Note how the Trib:

  • Flagged the Newman Society as "conservative." No, the group advocates adherence to Catholic doctrine, an important element of which is the acknowledgment of the scientific reality that life begins at conception. Said adherence is not appropriately characterizable as "liberal" or "conservative."
  • Failed to note, as seen here, that Martino's contributions to Emily's List spanned the time period from June of 1998 to December of 2010.
  • Knocked the contributions number down from $27,150 to $25,000. Is there a new rule in journalism that you round to the nearest five grand?
  • Failed to specify that, as the Newman Society found, "Martino gave somewhere between $3,250 and $5,996 to the pro-abortion Chicago Foundation for Women from 2004 to 2011" (though it did mention the existence of the CFW contributions).

More about Emily's List:

  • In 2002 Thomas Edsall at the Washington Post fully described its mission: "A candidate must meet three qualifications to be considered for an EMILY's List endorsement: back abortion rights, including the right to late-term (or "partial birth") abortions; be a Democrat; and, in primary elections, be a woman." Clearly, Emily's List isn't about merely preserving the abortion status quo; it wants to radically expand it.
  • The group's pre-home page splash asking for contributions reads: "Help Us Elect Pro-Choice Democratic Women."
  • Also on the splash page -- "Welcome to EMILY's List, a community of progressive Americans dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to every level of office. EMILY's List members believe that the power of women as candidates, as contributors, as campaign professionals, and as voters can bring about great change in our country. Working together, we can make a difference."

What Emily's List is all about could hardly be clearer. As is the case with Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright, it's virtually inconceivable that Ms. Martino "didn't realize" that the group promotes abortion rights.

The Tribune should have cited a couple of "even thoughs" about Ms. Martino's claim to create a balanced report, as it almost certainly would have with a conservative or Republican in a similarly troublesome situation.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.