Since when is the media so interested in keeping America abreast of the latest news coming out of Ireland? A commission in Ireland just released a report detailing awful abuse of children who attended Catholic schools "from the 1930's to the 1990's, when the last of the institutions closed." And what's ensued is practically an all-out media frenzy.
The AP, Reuters, the New York Times, the LA Times, Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and many others are all over the story. At Google news, the story returns "about 1,531" results.
Yes, the stories of abuse are quite troubling, but it sure seems that the media is singling out the Catholic Church's misdeeds - again.
Today - not decades ago - there is egregious abuse happening with far-greater occurrence in our nation's schools. Yet where's the coverage?
After the winner of "American Idol" is crowned, the appropriate action is to congratulate the newly crowned Idol on his success. Yet on May 21 media focus was clearly elsewhere. That day, reports on all three networks' morning broadcasts, marveled at how Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert and gave unusual attention to contestants who did not win, but are still successful, leaving little doubt that these hosts and reporters believe something wasn't right about Allen's victory.
Allen and Lambert are very different. Allen, a married twenty-three year old, is a college student from Arkansas. He grew throughout the season as a performer and was often labeled as humble. Lambert, on the hand, was an edgy performer who has become known for his "guyliner," or extensive use of black eyeliner. Although he was a frontrunner and often praised by the judges, his sexuality was often questioned, especially after photos hit the Web in which he appeared to be kissing another man.
Time magazine’s senior editor Amy Sullivan, who, like most of her peers in the mainstream media, is an amateur when it comes to religion, twice implied in May that the pro-life Catholics in the U.S. who are upset about President Obama’s recent commencement address at Notre Dame are more Catholic than Pope Benedict XVI. In a May 16, 2009 article on Time.com, Sullivan, the former aide to Democrat Tom Daschle, and the author of an entire book on how Democrats could appeal to Christians, snarked that the Pope “may find his next trip to the U.S. dogged by airplanes overhead trailing banners with images of aborted fetuses,” due to his purported silence on the matter.
Less than a week later on May 21, after outlining on Time’s “Swampland” blog that the semi-official Vatican news has been “calm” and “fairly positive” towards the Democratic president, “in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here,” the editor quipped, “Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper ‘doesn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.’” Sullivan, like the rest of the media, was also selective in the articles she chose to emphasize from the newspaper.
President Obama came to the campus of Notre Dame armed with all his usual arrogance. Despite his radical abortion record – which includes championing a policy in Illinois wherein aborted babies who manage to survive are tossed aside, to die – he posed as the national moderator of "common ground." And he did it by plugging a yellowed old tale from his campaign memoir "The Audacity of Hope." All he left out were the words "Order now on Amazon.com. Just $16.50 in hardcover."
Obama is loaded with nothing more than audacity. His speech no doubt pleased liberals, who love to pretend they’re for all the mushy inclusiveness Obama pretended to favor – "Open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words." This, from the politician who spent twenty years listening to the rantings and ravings of Jeremiah Wright? This, from the politician who unleashed more than 100,000 negative ads on John McCain?
Not unexpectedly, the networks embraced Obama’s pose as the pragmatic pacifier of the "culture wars."
Minutes after she praised President Obama for his “courageous” decision to accept the invitation to speak at Notre Dame, CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield played the role of liberal advocate for the president’s commencement address, grilling one Catholic guest who questioned the university’s decision, while going easy on her other guest who was happy to see Obama speak there. Just as MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell had done on May 14, Whitfield equivocated between the issues of abortion and the death penalty, along with war, in her question to Raymond Arroyo of the Catholic television network EWTN: “So does the death penalty fall into that and also wars...does that fall into that as well?”
Later, when Arroyo brought up how the Catholic teaching on abortion wouldn’t change, even if most of the Notre Dame graduates agreed with the decision to bring the president to campus, the CNN anchor replied, “Well, might it suggest something else, that perhaps the Catholic majority has evolved in its opinion of certain things....Perhaps, it means that there’s a greater understanding in some of the areas that you say...once upon a time there wasn’t.” [Due to the large amount of transcript, the entire text of both segments of the two segments can be read here. Audio clips from both segments are available here.]
Since its announcement in March, the University of Notre Dame's decision to invite President Barack Obama to give this year's commencement address and receive an honorary doctorate in law has been a big story for American Catholics. Pro-life Catholics were outraged and more than 366,000 people signed a petition urging Notre Dame to rescind the invitation. Somehow, though, the controversy didn't merit notice by the broadcast networks. They refused to cover it.
Yet after the fact, Obama's commencement address led ABC and NBC's evening news programs on May 17. (CBS' "Evening News" was preempted by golf, but anchor Russ Mitchell did offer a newsbreak that included a brief mention of Obama's address.) The broadcast networks' morning news programs, including CBS, also discussed Obama's speech. In each case they praised his words and ignored what had stirred so much controversy: the president's history of supporting even the most extreme abortion rights measures. And they turned to mostly liberal Catholics to provide context and perspective on the debate.
After promoting the controversial, religion-baiting film "Angels & Demons" for a combined 19 minutes last week on "Good Morning America," ABC finally featured a Catholic priest to object to the movie. Unfortunately, the interview was relegated only to the network's website, not the ABC morning show. (Considering the four days of fawning coverage to the film's stars last week, this hardly seems fair.) Father Edward Beck appeared on the internet-based "Focus on Faith" to talk to Chris Cuomo and point out the inaccuracies.
Beck critiqued the filmmakers behind "Angels & Demons," which falsely features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society, asserting that they should be more responsible for "doing their homework, even with a work of fiction." Cuomo bizarrely responded by claiming Beck needed to consider "the atheistic [position], which is, 'It's all fiction.' So, the church doesn't have any right to hold its own truth when it is a fiction in and of itself." He reiterated the disbelievers take, stating, "Anything you say you believe in is based on a fiction, because God is a fiction. So, what's wrong with having a fiction about fiction?"
Beck quickly retorted, "No. Whether or not the church kills people is not fiction. Either they do or they don't." Beck went on to note other offensive elements of the movie, such as the fact that the deceased Pope in the movie turns out to have fathered a child through artificial insemination. The New York-based priest complained, "Now, I mean, how unrealistic do we really want to make this?" Appearing to miss the point, Cuomo replied, "You taking yourself too seriously in the organized church?" (It should be pointed out that some of the tone was light-hearted as Cuomo and Beck are apparently friends.)
President Obama delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame on Sunday, amid protests that the nation's preeminent Catholic college shouldn't be honoring a pro-choice president who even supports the gruesome procedure of partial-birth abortion.
President Obama directly confronted America's deep divide over abortion on Sunday as he appealed to partisans on each side to find ways to respect one another's basic decency and even work together to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
As anti-abortion demonstrators protested outside and a few hecklers shouted inside, Mr. Obama used a commencement address at the University of Notre Dame to call for more "open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words" in a debate that has polarized the country for decades. The audience at this Roman Catholic institution cheered his message and drowned out protesters, some of whom called him a "baby killer."
Monday's print version is toned down from the original filing Sunday afternoon at nytimes.com. That story, credited to Peter Baker alone, had a headline with a more defensive thrust -- "At Notre Dame, Obama Defends His Abortion Stance." That filing (no longer available at nytimes.com, but you can read it here for now) also included this paragraph:
Not only does Pope Benedict XVI have crappy PR, he has absolutely no excuse for it, Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller informs readers in a May 14 piece written for the May 25 dead-tree edition. Yet while insisting that her advice is submitted "with respect," Miller failed to remove the log from her own eye by considering the role that she and other reporters play in trumping up alleged papal PR blunders by virtual of their biased, shoddy reporting (emphasis mine):
Benedict makes international news only when he does something thoughtless (like "reconciling" with a Holocaust-denying bish-op) or when he fumbles in public, as he did on the plane to Cameroon in March when he awkwardly noted that AIDS "cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics; on the contrary, they increase it." This remark, though in keeping with his theology, reverberated in the media echo chamber for a week—overshadowing other stops that might have served him better, such as meeting with representatives of Cameroon's Muslim community and a mass for as many as a million people in Angola. Benedict will never be John Paul, but why don't he and his people do a better job—to be perfectly crass about it—marketing their message?
While Miller tries to insist that the Pope would be more loved and respected if only he had a better PR shop, she betrays the fact that she really finds fault with his steadfast adherence to traditional Catholic teachings, particularly on sexual morality. Far from constituting a "fumble," back in March a top AIDS researcher -- no conservative Catholic he -- defended as accurate the Pope's remarks on condoms and AIDS infection rates in Africa. It seems that Miller is either ignorant of or willingly disregards this fact two months later. As I noted in NewsBusters back then:
On Monday’s CBS Early Show White House correspondent Chip Reid reported on President Obama’s controversial commencement address at Notre Dame University over the weekend, but dismissed pro-life protesters as interlopers from outside groups: "The President did come under fire, but mostly from university outsiders, anti-abortion activists. But inside that graduation ceremony, his reception was much warmer than some had expected...But the vast majority here welcomed the President with open arms."
Reid briefly described some of the protest efforts: "There were hundreds of protesters waiting for the President when he arrived at Notre Dame. Hecklers who interrupted his commencement speech several times." Reid then declared: "And some who saw an opportunity to re-ignite the national debate on abortion." A clip was then played of Obama’s former Senate race opponent, Republican Alan Keyes: "Barack Obama's deeply committed to what [Pope] John Paul [II] called the culture of death and the murder of innocent children."
Reid’s report did not feature any members of the Notre Dame faculty or student body opposed to Obama speaking or mention a separate commencement ceremony that several pro-life students attended on campus. In addition, Reid failed to acknowledge a recent Gallup poll that showed a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life.
Just under an hour before President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on Sunday afternoon, CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield applauded Obama's anticipated comments, addressing the controversy of the Catholic institution awarding an honorary degree to a politician who does not uphold pro-life policies, as “very courageous.” She then fretted over if Obama had “a lot of angst” before the speech given the controversy, specifically “whether there was angst on his part about whether he wanted to make his commencement speech one that would use the words abortion, that would use the words embryonic stem cell research?”
Whitfield's assessment and worry came after Suzanne Malveaux, from Sound Bend, previewed Obama's embargoed speech by reporting the prepared text revealed “he will address this controversy, that he is not going to shy away from it. That he will talk about the need for people to be open minded, to be fair minded in the way that they approach the debate over abortion and stem cell research.” To which, an impressed Whitfield, at the anchor desk in Atlanta, enthused:
"Good Morning America" on Thursday capped off four days and nearly 20 minutes of fawning coverage of "Angels & Demons," the just-released film that features the Catholic Church participating in a brutal massacre. On Thursday, co-star Ayelet Zurer appeared to promote the movie, whose main villain turns out to be a priest who murdered the previous Pope and is also his son. And just like with the interviews of director Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor, the film's controversial, anti-Christian elements were completely ignored.
Instead, Sawyer focused on the number of languages the Israeli Zurer could speak and how she prepared for the role. The GMA host never mentioned how the film's storyline, involving the Catholic Church wiping out a secret society called the Illuminati, is false. And, just as with fellow co-star McGregor, she ignored the fact that the movie's big surprise turns out to be that the priest (McGregor's character) is a murderer and the son of the late Pope. On Wednesday, McGregor absurdly claimed, "However, I would stress there is, really, no controversy. There's no anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity in the movie at all." Sawyer didn't challenge the point.
Newsweek hasn’t favored the movie Angels & Demons with a cover story like it did for The DaVinci Code, but it is allowing the cast to make the usual denials of anti-Catholicism on the Newsweek website. In an interview for their Pop Vox blog with Newsweek’s Nicki Gostin, actor Ewan McGregor repeats his mantra that "There’s nothing anti-Catholic or anti-church or anything that challenges people’s beliefs in the film."
That’s an interesting thing to say when your character is supposedly an idealistic Catholic priest who ends up being the film’s supervillain, poisoning the Pope and murdering Cardinals, until he finds out he was the Pope’s son (by artificial insemination). Learning that he poisoned his own father, he commits suicide. He’s a perfect portrait in Catholic corruption. But McGregor wants us to buy the notion that none of this "challenges people’s beliefs" about the Church:
Instead of performing as an anchor, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell became a liberal sparring partner to the Cardinal Newman Society’s Patrick Reilly on the network’s Thursday afternoon programming over President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. Invoking her Catholic upbringing, she used the common left-wing tactic to equate the Church’s unequivocal teaching against abortion with its skepticism of the death penalty, and asked if former presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan shouldn’t have addressed prior commencements for their support of capital punishment. O’Donnell also inquired as to why Reilly was “advocating a Catholic Church that advocates division” [audio clips from the segment available here].
Before introducing Reilly, the MSNBC anchor began the segment, which started 20 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, by reading recent poll numbers from Quinnipiac University which found that 60% of Catholic voters answered negatively when asked if Notre Dame should disinvite President Obama. She then turned to her guest and asked, “What’s your point? Why are you organizing this protest?” Reilly answered, “The protest has nothing to do with the president in particular. This is a concern that Catholics have had for decades now, that many of our Catholic institutions have lost a sense of Catholic identity, and Catholics are drawing a line in the sand, saying that the Catholic University of Notre Dame ought to be choosing those who it honors based on its Catholic principles and values.”
In addition to the anti-Catholicism present in the forthcoming release of "Angels & Demons", there's another politically correct element to the movie adaptation of the Dan Brown novel that's worth noting: Hollywood's aversion to portraying radical Muslims as the bad guys.
Anchor Andrew Mitchell presented radical homosexual activist Dan Savage, most famous for licking doorknobs in the campaign office of Republican Gary Bauer in an attempt to infect him with the flu, as an expert on the Catholic Church and Catholic issues during her MSNBC program on Wednesday afternoon. She introduced Savage, who writes a graphic sex-advice column called “Savage Love,” as the “editorial director for Seattle’s weekly newspaper, The Stranger...political commentator and social critic.” Mitchell lead into her question about President Obama’s commencement address at the University of Notre Dame by stating that the editor was also “sensitive and very well aware of the cultural fault lines within the Catholic community.” She did not mention the Bauer incident during the segment, nor the fact that Savage is an atheist who thinks the Catholic Church is a “criminal organization.”
Mitchell had Savage on as a guest just before the bottom half of the 1 pm Eastern hour of her Andrea Mitchell Live program. She brought up President Obama’s upcoming commencement addresses at Arizona State University and Notre Dame as a topic, and how in the case of his speech at the Catholic school, “critics are taking issue with the president’s positions on gay rights, abortion rights, and stem cell research.” After giving her introduction of the “editorial director...political commentator and social critic,” Mitchell asked, “Why is Notre Dame, which has long, you know, had this tradition from Theodore Hesburgh on -- especially, you know, during the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, of being a broad tent -- why is the Notre Dame commencement so controversial this time?”
While appearing on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show comedian Joan Rivers shared her thoughts on the Miss California controversy: "It's all so stupid and she's taking it so seriously and so well coached...My advice is oh, relax. God wants you to shut up...You know, you've done enough already." Co-hosts Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez, and Julie Chen all laughed in response and shared in mocking Carrie Prejean.
Just prior to Rivers’ comment, Chen asked about the comedian’s recent appearance on NBC’s ‘Celebrity Apprentice’: "Joan, I have a quick question. You know, now that you won 'Celebrity Apprentice,' the public holds you to a certain standard...But for the record, Joan, do semi-nude or nude photos exist of you? I mean, state it right now so, you know, Donald Trump knows if he has to think about firing you or not." Rivers replied: "If Donald had seen the cover of my latest book, I wouldn't have made it. And that was taken during a storm. It blew that way."
At that point, Rivers held up a copy of book, entitled: "Men Are Stupid...And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman's Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery." The book’s cover featured a picture of Rivers with photo-shopped Dolly Parton-sized breasts. Rodriguez referred to her earlier interview with Prejean: "So, Miss California won't talk about her implants. Can you talk about yours?" Smith pointed to the book and added: "Maybe if Miss California had implants like that she would've won."
In a letter dated today and a press teleconference held at 9:30 EDT this morning, Media Research Center president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell joined other conservatives in calling on President Obama to withdraw Harry Knox from the presidential Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.:
Harry Knox is the hate-filled antithesis of this noble objective. Knox is a virulent anti-Catholic bigot, and has made numerous vile and dishonest attacks against the Church and the Holy Father. He has no business on any Council having to do with faith or religion.
Co-signers to the letter include lay Catholic and conservative leaders such as Judie Brown of the American Life League, Kate O'Beirne of the National Review Institute, American Spectator publisher Al Regnery, Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council, and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.
A list of some instances of Harry Knox's anti-Catholic bigotry is available at MRC.org here. Knox's virulent hatred of Catholics extends from the top down, from Pope Benedict XVI to the rank-and-file member of the Knights of Columbus:
According to Newsweek's Ramin Setoodeh, "American Idol's" Adam Lambert could "be heading home" due to those homophobic Christians that watch every week.
Lambert, Setoodeh wrote in a May 12 blog post, "has been called the best ‘Idol' singer in the history of the show, thanks to his Celine Dion-like pipes. But he's also one of the most controversial, thanks to his Marilyn Manson-like wardrobe and his (not-so) ambiguous sexuality."
Despite the fact that Randy, Simon and Paula all like Lambert, and he's garnered enough votes to compete in the semi-finals of "Idol," Setoodeh warned of a "possible roadblock" to a Lambert victory:
Once upon a time, the press was virtually obsessed with the “with us or against us” foreign policy stance of the Bush presidency. Pundits swung from rhetorical chandeliers, screaming that such a dichotomous approach would alienate the rest of the world - that our “arrogance,” as they called it, would thin our list of allies dramatically.
But that doesn’t seem to apply to the media when the matter is domestic policy and the viewpoint is socially conservative.
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer posted on her Twitter feed this morning:
Leo Penn, the father of famous actor Sean Penn, was hauled before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during the 1950s and harassed, spied upon and ultimately blacklisted for his political views (he attended a pro-union meeting called to support other black- listees.)
He refused to accuse others, and lost his livelihood for a period of time, but went on to direct many TV shows including Star Trek, The Law and Mr. Jones, and I Spy.
So where are the free-speech warriors? How about Sean Penn and the rest of the Hollywood elitists who think the First Amendment was written solely for their benefit? Penn has made millions playing everything from a stoner in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” to gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain in a horrific attack in San Francisco that also resulted in the death of San Francisco mayor George Moscone.
"Good Morning America" continued its hyping of "Angels & Demons" on Tuesday, a film that accuses the Catholic Church of participating in a brutal massacre of a secret society. While talking to director Ron Howard, GMA co-host Diane Sawyer mostly glossed over the film's controversial elements and again referred to the movie as a "great, spiritual scavenger hunt."
She prompted the director to spin himself as not wanting a fight, saying, "And you're relieved. 'Cause I read somewhere you said, 'I don't like controversy.'" At no point did she mention Catholic League President William Donohue and his organization's opposition to the film or the nasty column Howard wrote on the Huffington Post where he attacked, "I guess Mr. Donohue and I do have one thing in common: we both like to create fictional tales, as he has done with his silly and mean-spirited work of propaganda" (referring to the group's criticism of the film).
An explosive, front-page investigation on Sunday (5/10/09) in the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) "repeatedly" returned teachers and aides credibly accused of child molestation back to classrooms, and these individuals then molested children again. The jaw-dropping story, by Times staffer Jason Song, is incredibly angering, and the tales of abuse are stomach-turning. (An accompanying audio slideshow at the Times web site is quite disturbing.)
In the last several years, media outlets have endlessly ripped and tarred the Catholic Church for mishandling episodes from decades ago. Meanwhile, these episodes in LAUSD are all quite recent. One documented case dates back to just last year!
While introducing an interview with disgraced Miami Priest Alberto Cutie, who was recently found to be in a romantic relationship with a woman, co-host Maggie Rodriguez again used the scandal to argue that the Catholic Church should overturn its celibacy requirement for priests: "We go right to a story that has single-handedly revived the debate over whether Catholic priests should be allowed to marry." On Thursday, Rodriguez began reporting on the story by wondering if the vow was "outdated," "rigid," and "a nearly impossible standard" for priests.
Following Rodriguez’s introduction, correspondent Kelly Cobiella reported: "What started as a local scandal has turned into an emotional debate over the Catholic Church's 900-year-old celibacy rule. In an Associated Press poll taken in 2005, 69% of Catholics said the Church should allow priests to marry. Many of Father Cutie's parishioners agree."
Near the end of interview with Cutie, Rodriguez asked: "You don't believe that the celibacy promise should be lifted?...If they don't change this policy, do you think that they will continue to lose people, or fail to recruit people who feel the Church is too rigid?" Earlier in the interview, Cutie explained: "I don't want to be the anti-celibacy priest. I think that's unfortunate. I think it's a debate that's going on in our society, and now I've become kind of a poster boy for it. But I don't want to be that. I believe that celibacy is good, and that it's a good commitment to God."
"Angels & Demons" star Tom Hanks received zero critical questions or challenges when he appeared on Monday's "Good Morning America" to promote a movie that features the Catholic Church ordering a brutal massacre in order to silence a secret society. Instead, Sawyer referred to the film, a prequel to "The Da Vinci Code," as a "scary, spiritual scavenger hunt." After playing a clip of Hanks' character in the film asserting that he has no religious beliefs, she moved on to talking about how the movie star still gets nervous when he acts.
It's not as though Hanks didn't open himself up to questions about the film's validity. He admitted to Sawyer that in a few years, this movie, like every one he's made, will be subject to wondering "if moments are proper or authentic. Or if it actually, really, has some purpose in its reflection of, like, the human zeitgeist and that's where you find out whether or not you were telling the truth or not." Wouldn't this have been a good point to jump in and debate some of the assertions made in the book and movie? Sadly, Sawyer remained silent.
Contrast the gentle way that the ABC host treated Hanks with the grilling of Mel Gibson in a 2003 "Primetime" special on "The Passion of the Christ." Regarding accuracy and his film about Jesus Christ, Sawyer pressed for specifics: "What about the historians who say that the Gospels were written long after Jesus died, and are not merely fact, but political points of views and metaphors? Historians, you know, have argued that in fact it was not written at the time [of Christ]. These [gospel writers] were not eyewitnesses."
Two Catholic priests who appeared as guests during back-to-back segments on Thursday’s No Bias, No Bull program were treated noticeably differently by CNN’s on-air personalities. Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who is best known for his racially-charged rhetoric against Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential race, as well as his defense of former Obama pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, faced only a couple of pointed questions, most notably about his recent decision to fly an American flag upside-down. In the following segment, Father Mitch Pacwa of the orthodox Catholic TV network EWTN faced a more skeptical and sustained line of questioning from the CNN panel about the practice of priestly celibacy.
Anchor Roland Martin brought on Father Pfleger 43 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program to talk about his continuing push against street violence in Chicago, especially when it involves minors, as 36 school-aged children so far this year have been violently killed . He only introduced the priest as the “pastor of the faith community of Saint Sabina from the South Side of Chicago.” Neither he nor any of the other journalists participating in the panel mentioned any of Father Pfleger’s past controversies during the segment.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez continued to report on a scandal involving Miami priest Alberto Cutie despite admitting that he was "...a family friend whom I've known for many, many years" on Thursday. Rodriguez introduced a Friday report by describing Cutie’s popularity: "The scandal involving celebrity priest Alberto Cutie in Miami is heating up as parishioners at his church rally in support of their popular leader. But not everyone is behind him." Correspondent Kelly Cobiella reported: "There's no doubt the parishioners' passion for the man they call ‘Father Oprah.’ Such passion that when this man dared to speak out against Father Alberto Cutie at a rally in Miami Beach Thursday -- he was swarmed."
On Thursday, Rodriguez vigorously defended her friend by asking CBS religion analyst, Father Thomas Williams, about the Catholic Church’s "rigid" and "outdated" requirement that priests take a vow of celibacy. Following the Thursday story, NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock questioned Rodriguez on Twitter about violating journalistic ethics by her reporting on someone she knows personally. Rodriguez replied to the tweet and argued: "I respectfully disagree. If I hadn't disclosed that I know him, then it would have been a violation...but there are no secrets." Having brushed aside any concerns of bias, at the end of the Friday report, Rodriguez announced that she would be interviewing Cutie exclusively on Monday.
The NewsBusters publisher appeared on the May 8 "Fox & Friends" to address how the media consider Hasselbeck "controversial" for teaching her kids to believe the Bible's creation account rather than labeling liberal co-host Behar "controversial" for suggesting that teaching children creationism is "child abuse."
STEVE DOOCY, "Fox & Friends" co-host: So they label Elisabeth as controversial or as the conservative but Joy Behar is always labeled the comedian!
While reporting on a popular Miami priest, Father Alberto Cutie, getting caught on a beach with a woman, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez spoke with CBS religion analyst Father Thomas Williams and criticized the Catholic Church for requiring a vow of celibacy for priests: "The Catholic Church, as you know, has been criticized, and you and I have talked about this, for being outdated and losing both parishioners and people who may want to serve, because it is so rigid. Do you think it's time for the Catholic Church to reconsider the vow of celibacy that it requires of its priests?" Williams replied: "Well, I'm not really sure. I think you can't attribute an act of unfaithfulness to the institution itself. It would be kind of like saying that adultery is caused by marriage. It doesn't really make sense."
Just before talking to Williams, Rodriguez admitted: "I should, in the interest of full disclosure, say that Father Albert is a family friend whom I've known for many, many years." At the end of the segment, Rodriguez added: "Yeah, just a couple of weeks ago he [Father Cutie] officiated my niece's wedding. I haven't talked to her about how she feels about this. But yeah, we've known him for many, many years. And he wants to continue serving God." Instead of taking Rodriguez off the story because of this personal connection, its appears CBS kept her on it because they thought it added an interesting angle, even if it made objectivity impossible.
In a clear attempt to smear Miss California Carrie Prejean for promoting traditional marriage, a photo hardly as suggestive as many lingerie ads was released on the Internet on May 4. The caption for the picture that appeared on The Dirty.com clearly showed that the intent was to embarrass and discredit Prejean for her view on the issue of same-sex marriage:
"Exclusive: Self-proclaimed bible thumper Miss California, Carrie Prejean, should start pointing the finger at herself for her own indiscretions. TheDirty.com has received exclusive images of the homophobic debutante that would clearly strip her of her Miss California crown. So much for being a good role model for the state of California Carrie. Looks like your Dirty photo shoot makes you a sinner too. I decided."
Celebrity blogger and gay activist Perez Hilton, who precipitated the controversy by questioning Prejean about gay marriage while he was judging last month's Miss USA pageant, also posted the photo on his blog and taunting: "The Lord works in mysterious ways! Opposite marriage advocate Miss California, Carrie Prejean, topless and in some cute pink panties. Is that biblically correct????"
Prejean responded in a statement released to the media on May 4:
"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid Web site that openly mocks me for my Christian faith. I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be."