When liberals and their media allies have an agenda to push, they’ll use any tool at hand. The left often rails against the presence of religion in civic life, mocking conservative Christians as “Taliban” agitating for theocracy. But other times, they find faith to be a handy weapon to bludgeon conservatives. And they’ll go so far as to reinterpret and rewrite the Bible to justify any liberal cause, no matter how outrageous.
In 2010, MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry summed up this strategy in her call for “re-imagining the Bible as a tool of progressive social change.” Huffington Post contributor Mike Lux embraced Harris-Perry’s advice, writing that the Bible embodies “all kinds” of “liberal, lefty, progressive values.”
Scott Pelley's liberal bias got the better of him on Monday's CBS Evening News as he interviewed three American seminarians studying in Rome. When one seminarian expressed his hope that next pope continues the "beautiful legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI," Pelley replied incredulously, "But you mentioned two popes who have a reputation for being doctrinally conservative. And this is something you'd like to see carried on?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Hours later, on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, the Big Three network again gave a platform to agitators who aim to radically alter the Catholic Church's traditions from the inside. Fill-in anchor Anthony Mason wondered if "the winds of change [are] wafting through the Catholic Church" as he hyped a CBS News/New York Times poll that found apparent support for the ordination of women among American Catholics.
With thick, black smoke pouring out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel indicating that the College of Cardinals had not elected a new pope on their first ballot, Fox News Channel's Shep Smith took to the air at 3:15 p.m. EDT to grill Catholic priest and Fox News contributor Fr. Jonathan Morris on the Catholic Church being out of touch with the modern world, particularly regarding how women cannot serve as priests.
While Morris defended Catholic orthodoxy and noted that there are some things -- such as the all-male priesthood -- which not even a pope could change, Smith objected that those notions grounded in 2,000-year-old Scripture were just, well, antiquated and irrelevant and that the Church should adapt to the ethos of the age (h/t @tomferrari on Twitter):
The History Channel'sThe Bible built upon its impressive debut last week to score big ratings in its second week, becoming the most viewed show in all of television. TVworld.com broke down the numbers:
Week two of HISTORY's The Bible series continues to deliver blockbuster ratings for the network. The Bible commanded HISTORY as #1 in all of television from 8-10pm, with 10.8 million total viewers and in Adults 25-54 with 3.8 million. In addition, The Bible garnered 3.2 million Adults 18-49. Over 50 million cumulative viewers have seen at least a portion of the series since it began on March 3
The high ratings show what kind of huge numbers entertainment outlets can enjoy if they treat religious material and viewers with respect.
CBS's Barry Petersen slanted in favor of dissenters agitating for the repeal of the Catholic Church's centuries-old practice of celibacy for priests on the March 10, 2013 edition of Sunday Morning. Petersen hyped how "many American Catholics wonder how long celibacy will be a part of today's Church, or perhaps, how soon it may become a fading tradition."
The correspondent also failed to mention that Bill Wisniewski, one of his talking heads, is a board member for a dissenting group headed by Sister Christine Schenk, who was also featured during his report.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer was clearly uncomfortable Sunday when two of his perilously liberal guestsclaimed there are many gay priests.
At the end of a Face the Nation discussion about the pending selection of a new Pope, Schieffer pushed back when the Washington Post’s Sally Quinn brought up homosexuality in the priesthood, and then he cut quickly to a commercial when Vanity Fair’s Carl Bernstein supported her contention (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Andrew Sullivan made a comment on Sunday's The Chris Matthews Show that's guaranteed to offend many people on both sides of the aisle.
In a discussion about whether the change in opinion concerning same-sex marriage among Catholic voters might impact who is selected as the next Pope, Sullivan said, "There are so many gays electing the next Pope that who knows whether that would happen" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
On Friday's NBC Today, fill-in co-host Lester Holt hyped unfounded speculation surrounding the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI: "More than a week after his resignation became official, there are still a lot of controversial theories about why Pope Benedict XVI stepped down. NBC's chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is looking into them at the Vatican." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Previewing a report for Rock Center, Engel proclaimed: "What we still don't know, not definitively anyway, is why Pope Benedict decided to retire....[Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi] exposed some of the Vatican's most guarded secrets. A scoop seen in Italy as big as Watergate. Italians call it 'Vatileaks.'"
As NewsBusters previously reported, Saturday Night Live last month aired a mock movie trailer depicting Jesus Christ returning to Rome to exact revenge in the gory fashion of Quentin Tarantino and Sam Peckinpah.
On Wednesday, the American Family Association announced that it had gotten Sears and JCPenney to stop advertising on the online SNL episodes featuring that trailer:
In a report from the Vatican on Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Keir Simmons fretted over Church officials limiting press access to cardinals as they prepare to elect the next Pope in Conclave: "The U.S. cardinals have been told to stop talking, to close ranks. Since Monday, they've been holding news conferences....The last, abruptly cancelled before it began, the Vatican imposing immediate clamp down in spite of hopes that the Church will modernize."
Introducing the segment, co-host Matt Lauer declared: "...secrecy has become a top priority for Vatican officials." A sound bite was featured in the report of Reuters Vatican senior correspondent Phil Pullella ranting: "I think it will backfire because it shows fear, it shows fear of the truth, it shows fear of dealing with the outside world."
Naomi O'Leary's Tuesday article for Reuters about a piece of "artwork" blasting Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI could have been mistaken for a press release, as the journalist merely gave a platform for the same-sex couple behind the display to voice their anti-Catholic views. Most of the quotes in O'Leary's write-up came from artists Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento, "the first Italian gay couple to be married when they wed in Holland in 2002."
The correspondent emulated a publicist as she spotlighted how the exhibition is supposedly a "life-size model of Benedict in a confessional box, his sumptuous red and cream-colored robes spread about him."
It’s probably not too much of a stretch to say the just-retired Pope Benedict XVI isn’t a terribly popular figure around the offices of The New Yorker, one of the flagship publications of East Coast liberalism. One subtle clue might be the Feb. 12 article, “The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI,” in which John Cassidy accused “Benedict’s Vatican” of “setting its face against the modern world in general … needlessly alienating countless people around the world who were brought up in its teachings.”
So when a question arises as to whether a cartoon depiction of the pope on the magazine’s cover is slyly malicious, it’s difficult to give the magazine the benefit of the doubt.
The way CNN sees the Vatican hierarchy, one would think it's a repressive male-dominated cabal that women are morally obligated to challenge. CNN's Ben Wedeman aired another broadside against the church from the streets of Rome on Tuesday.
Wedeman stretched one comparison between Vatican City and Saudi Arabia – neither allow women's suffrage: "Vatican City joined Saudi Arabia as one of the few states left on earth where women have no vote." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In the aftermath of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, CBS has made up its mind about Catholicism: the Church is in crisis and must be reformed! Whereas Martin Luther tacked his theses on the Wittenberg church door, however, CBS opted to ensure its stab at church reformation would go largely unnoticed by including the segment on Saturday's CBS This Morning. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
To discuss this topic, CBS anchor Anthony Mason brought in three liberals: Jim Frederick of Time Magazine, the Rev. Paul Raushenbush of the Huffington Post -- the great-grandson of Baptist minister and Social Gospel champion Walter Rauschenbusch -- and Sister Maureen Fiedler, who hosts her own public radio show. All three agreed with the premise that the Catholic Church needs to change. If the message wasn’t clear enough, a screen behind the guests read “Catholic Church in Crisis” (with no question mark) and the chyron read “Catholic Church in Crisis: Is the Vatican Capable of Reform?”
Pope Benedict XVI served his final day as pontiff on Thursday, and the New York Times' Rome bureau chief Rachel Donadio sent him on his way from Vatican City under a dark cloud: "As Pope Departs, Discord Remains at Vatican."
As the sun set on Rome and on his turbulent eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI, a shy theologian who never seemed entirely at home in the limelight, was whisked by helicopter into retirement on Thursday.
But while Benedict, 85, retires to a life of prayer, study, walks in the garden and piano practice, he leaves in his wake a Vatican hierarchy facing scandals and intrigue that are casting a shadow over the cardinals entrusted with electing his successor in a conclave this month.
I don't know about you, but when I think about a person who has the moral standing to call out the Catholic Church for a lack of moral conviction, I think of abortion-on-demand advocate Karen Finney. Okay, not really, but apparently MSNBC does.
On the February 28 edition of The Cycle, the former DNC communications director and current NARAL Pro-Choice America board member explained her thoughts as a "Berkeley Catholic" who wants to see the Church do more for the poor and downtrodden, while piping down when it comes to teaching biblical sexual ethics and opposing abortion (emphasis mine):
In what NPR thought was a fitting tribute to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the February 28 edition of Morning Edition sought to diminish the legacy of the pontiff emeritus by sharply criticizing his time in the chair of St. Peter.
Correspondent Sylvia Poggioli claimed that “while the cardinals publicly praise Benedict for his courageous act, privately many are reassessing his legacy.”
Keeping up NBC's barrage of attacks against the Catholic Church in the days leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's abdication, on Wednesday's Today, correspondent Anne Thompson made this nasty declaration: "...as one observer said, the stiletto knives came out as the battle for control of this institution begins, that some say is a holy mess....reports of infighting, back stabbing, and political jockeying that could make corporate America or Capitol Hill blush." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Thompson never bothered to identify the "observer" she mentioned nor the origin of the "reports" she cited. Wrapping up the piece, Thompson asked Italian novelist Alessandra Borghese: "Could you make up the drama that's going on inside the Vatican?...You couldn't make this stuff up?"
Washington Post staff writer Jason Horowitz marred an otherwise decent Style section feature item on Pope Benedict's resignation in his lead paragraph, which made a crack about the pontiff's retirement by hoping it goes off better than that of Pope Celestine V, whom Dante supposedly envisioned in Hell:
VATICAN CITY — On an April 2009 visit to the Italian mountain town of Sulmona, Pope Benedict XVI solemnly placed his pallium, the vestment symbolizing his papal authority, on the tomb of Celestine V. The medieval pontiff’s abdication in 1294 had resulted in imprisonment by his successor and banishment to hell by Dante for “the great refusal.” Benedict is no doubt hoping for a better retirement plan.
After CNN's initial report on Pope Benedict's final papal audience, the first guest to appear on CNN Newsroom on Wednesday was a radical leftist nun who believes the upcoming papal election is "invalid" because no women are involved.
Sister Donna Quinn lashed out: "We women are calling this papal election invalid. It has to be declared fraudulent because it has no women included in the process. By that I mean there are no women on the ballot in the conclave, there are no women voters, there are no women in the whole process, so we're very distressed." No church representative appeared to challenge Quinn's views; only CNN's Vatican analyst John Allen was on the air with Quinn. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
At the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams made this hyperbolic declaration: "A moment of crisis for the Catholic Church hit by a wave of scandals, just as the leaders must gather to select a new pope." Introducing the lead story moments later, Williams further hyped: "The problem for the Catholic Church is the drumbeat of scandal is now growing so loud and so vast, it's taking a lot of attention from this process." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, correspondent Anne Thompson ominously declared: "... the world is seeing the darker side of the Church, the in-fighting and scandals....It's all revealing the sometimes nasty politics behind the pageantry."
In a 41-paragraph front-pager today, the Washington Post's William Wan looks at how the "New pope will be challenged by strained ties with China." "A reset is possible as both sides introduce new leadership," added a subheadline. The website version had a wildly different headline, "For China's Catholics, new pope brings hope."
Throughout his article, Wan used language that suggested that the Vatican and the Communist Chinese dictatorship were on the same moral plane (emphases mine):
In an effort to hype controversy days before Pope Benedict XVI steps down as the leader of the Catholic Church, on Monday's NBC Today, correspondent Anne Thompson proclaimed: "Even in his final days as pope, scandal continues to dog Benedict's papacy and the Church." The chyron on screen throughout the segment declared: "Vatican Intrigue." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Beyond reporting on an actual controversy surrounding the resignation of Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Thompson decided to also promote completely unfounded claims from the Italian press that "headline rumors of blackmail and conspiracy that the Vatican vehemently denies." NBC went through the effort of displaying and translating one such salacious headline on screen: "Sex and ambition, the blackmailing behind the resignation of Benedict XVI."
According to Good Morning America's David Wright on Monday, the upcoming "papal election campaign is getting ugly." The ABC correspondent then declared that Pope Benedict an "absolute monarch."
In a report live from Rome, Wright explained, "Pope Benedict is expected to issue new rules about the timing and procedures of the conclave [the meeting of cardinals to elect a new pope.]" He added, "[Benedict] can do that by degree. The Pope is an absolute monarch." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Of course, Wright's experience in judging any kind of election is questionable. Back in 2002, he reported from Iraq and insisted, "Seven years ago, when the last referendum took place, Saddam Hussein won 99.96 percent of the vote. Of course, it is impossible to say whether that’s a true measure of the Iraqi people’s feelings."
Not wanting to leave conservative Protestants out of the fun, today's On Faith page in the Washington Post featured not only the requisite Sally Quinn pontification against the Catholic Church but a Methodist minister's essay on how he hopes that one day all Christians will view as irrelevant and unbinding the Bible's teachings on homosexuality.
Change it must "or else the Catholic Church may end up like Colonial Williamsburg, with the pageantry, the regalia, red shoes and all, a relic of what was once a vibrant, living institution," Quinn scolded in the concluding paragraph of "Will the Catholic Church become its own relic?" Below the fold on the same page, editors published Methodist minister Adam Hamilton's 9-paragraph item "Citing the Bible for the wrong side of history." The digital version's headline reads "On homosexuality, many Christians get the Bible wrong."
On Friday, the now all-digital Newsweek marked Benedict XVI's impending departure from the papacy by turning to British writer Tim Parks, who took the opportunity to air his grievances against the current pontiff's predecessor, John Paul II. Parks bemoaned "how reactionary and old-fashioned" the Polish-born bishop of Rome was for daring to believe in Catholic devotions and in divine providence.
The Cambridge and Harvard-educated novelist later indicted John Paul for daring to speak out against a whole host of left-wing causes:
"[W]hat do you get for the serial human rights abuser who has everything?" the folks at Twitchy snarked today reacting to this tweet by CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour: "Happy Birthday, President Mugabe: http://on.cnn.com/VQ4kTK #Zimbabwe"
But wait, it gets better. The link in the tweet takes viewers to a short video [embedded below the page break] narrated by the CNN anchor, which opens with a strange comparison to Pope Benedict XVI:
Robin Pomeroy did her best impression of a publicist in a nearly one-sided article for Reuters on Tuesday that spotlighted homosexuals in Rome "toasting the departure of the worst Church leader they can imagine" – Pope Benedict XVI. Pomeroy quoted extensively from LGBT activist Franco Grillini, but failed to mention his radical left wing politics, which included a run as a Communist Party candidate in Italy in the 1980s.
Grillini decried the outgoing pontiff as "the most reactionary pope ever, who made homophobia one of his battle cries." The far left politician must not have heard of the past four bishops of Rome who took the name Pius. In particular, Pius XI prophetically foresaw the current push to redefine marriage in a 1930 encyclical and issued the strongest condemnation of this course: