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:
ABC News reporter David Wright chose an odd metaphor to describe criticism of the possible timing of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI's successor.
Wright, speaking live from the Vatican on today's Good Morning America, reported that yesterday the Vatican spokesman had floated a trial balloon suggesting that the conclave to choose a new Pope could be moved up from its originally established date of March 15th. Continued Wright: "but in other quarters of the Church, that trial balloon is being shot down faster than an old-school nun might rap you on the knuckles." View the video after the jump.
Last Saturday I noted how the On Faith feature in the February 9 Washington Post celebrated Muslim modesty while trashing American Catholic bishops as being prudish on sex and stubborn in their opposition to the ObamaCare contraception mandate. Well this weekend, the Post continued its hypocritical attack on the Church by complaining that it doesn't listen to women while, well, squelching the op-ed piece of a conservative Catholic woman.
The February 16 On Faith section published two items related to Pope Benedict's announcement on Monday that he was abdicating the papacy at the end of February. Editors ran Lisa Miller's column headlined "Some nuns hope new pope will listen to women," in which the Post religion writer highlighted the calls of feminist nuns for, among other things, an openness by the Church to female priests. Also featured on the page B2 feature was a 7-paragraph item by one Annie Selak, headlined "The church young Catholics want," which included a call for the Church to "dialogue concerning the ordination of women and church teaching on homosexuality." Yet On Faith editors declined to feature in print an excellent piece by a conservative Catholic woman that was published online earlier in the week.
Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world on Monday morning by announcing he would resign at the end of February. For Catholics, there was sorrow and there was gratitude for a Holy Father who taught with such distinction and worked with such care to safeguard the church’s theological traditions.
But there are those people who hate the Catholic Church, and they are ecstatic. Take documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, a man who clearly thinks he is holier than the Pope. He told The Daily Beast that Benedict is a “criminal.” This helps explain why he’s made a documentary for HBO, the home of toxic God-haters like Bill Maher.
As stranded Carnival Cruise passengers began finally disembarking in Mobile, Alabama, late Thursday evening, MSNBC had NBC News correspondent Mark Potter on the scene to speak with them.
One young lady during her over three minute interview tried to cite a Bible verse that helped her get through the ordeal, but Potter pulled his microphone away and quickly ended the discussion (video follows with transcript and commentary):
It seems as though MSNBC’s liberal agenda doesn't concern itself simply with secular politics. They want the Catholic Church to "lean forward" into fundamentally changing themselves to reflect liberal values. In service of this pulpit-pounding, MSNBC's Jansing & Co. program brought on two liberal Catholic women over two days. At no point did she turn to a traditionalist, orthodox Catholic to defend the church's traditional teachings.
On February 14, fill-in host Richard Lui interviewed Sister Louise Akers, of the Sisters of Charity to rail against the Church, in what she views as, “the last bastion of sexism.” Lui began the segment with the liberal nun by noting:
New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow, a devout evangelical Christian, is slated to speak at the First Baptist Church of Dallas on April 28. It's hardly newsworthy that a celebrity of evangelical conviction might speak at a megachurch, but NBC Sports "Off the Bench" blogger Rick Chandler insists the visit is freighted with "a large helping of controversy" because the church's senior pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, is, according to Chandler, "virulently anti-gay and anti-Semitic."
But to back up his assertions, Chandler highlights claims Jeffress made that are either fundamentally doctrinal or political in nature. What's more, Chandler failed to point to any personal animus Jeffress has expressed toward either homosexuals or Jews, which should be incredibly easy to do if Jeffress really is "virulent" in his hatred of gays and Jews.
If your Valentine’s Day was a complete fail this year, it’s probably because you listen to Pope Benedict XVI’s advice, according to AlterNet’s Geri Silver. Because those Hallmark cards just don’t do the holiday justice, AlterNet’s Geri Silver felt obliged to wish her readers a Happy Valentine’s Day via “Pope Benedict XVI's Most Unromantic Quotes on Love, Sex and Marriage.”
Silver plucked short controversial Pope Benedict XVI quotes from their vital context to attack them one by one in her latest article. She wasted no time explaining her perspective – or rather her brimming hatred – of the Church: “Whenever you need a reminder that absolutely nothing about your love life is acceptable, you can always rely on the good old Catholic Church for a solid unreality check” or, in other words, Pope Benedict XVI’s “backward rhetoric.”
When listing the qualifications for a papal successor, comedian David Letterman used the Catholic church's clerical abuse scandal as a parting blast at Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday night's Late Show.
Letterman quipped that the church is "looking for a guy who is good at transferring creepy priests." Earlier, he took another shot at Pope Benedict: "I guess you know by now, big news coming out of the Vatican. Pope Benedict was fired." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On her Current TV show Say Anything on Tuesday night, Joy Behar brought on two political consultants to discuss the Pope’s resignation. Behar insisted that the Roman Catholic church made a terrible, mystifying mistake by selecting a pope who “was in the Hitler Youth.”
Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman implied that the membership wasn’t entirely voluntary, but Behar wasn’t budging that his compulsory membership should have completely disqualified him from the papacy. (Rich Noyes video and transcript below.)
At CNN.com, correspondent Ben Wedeman touted "what some Catholics want in next pope," and by "some Catholics" he meant those who thought Pope Benedict's papacy was too conservative or inward-looking. He arrogantly prescribed that if the next pontiff focuses on social justice and has a global outreach, "Then perhaps the Catholic Church can be a light unto all nations."
Since when could CNN reporters tell the Catholic church what it should be doing? Wedeman hammered the church's problems, "a church in which the gap between the shepherd and his flock seems to be growing ever wider." He hyped the "Winds buffeting the church."
It's no secret that the liberal media are heavily sympathetic to liberal-leaning feminist nuns who have a habit of challenging or disregarding Church teaching. But the Daily Beast seems to think that said liberal nuns speak for all women religious (and lay Catholic women for that matter) in the church.
Tuesday's Entertainment Tonight ran quite the hit piece on Pope Benedict, promoting the distorted anti-Catholic documentary on the clerical abuse scandals and revisiting ABC reporter Brian Ross's 2002 confrontation with then-Cardinal Ratzinger.
"Then he slapped me like this on the wrist as if I were a schoolboy, asking an impertinent question," Ross recalled, when he rudely accosted Ratzinger on the streets of Rome about the abuse scandals. "When I got slapped, it actually stung. And I was surprised. I've been hit before by others. But generally crooks," he self-righteously gushed. Has Ross shown such scrutiny toward the embattled Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)? Nope. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
There clearly is no limit to Bill Maher’s depravity.
On TBS’s Conan Tuesday, the comedian beloved by the liberal media said that Catholic priests would use birth control if altar boys could get pregnant (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
At the top of Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie suggested ulterior motives behind Pope Benedict XIV's abdication: "Vatican intrigue. Is there more to Pope Benedict's sudden decision to step down?" In the report that followed, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel also insinuated something more: "Although there's no evidence to suggest a motive, other than old age, the Pope's unusual departure has left some wondering." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Engel then turned to a random man on the street wearing a fedora, who speculated: "It could be deeper, you know, than what we've been told at the moment." Moments later, Engel provided more anonymous rumors: "Italians say his age and the weight of scandals, especially revelations of sexual abuse by priests, may have gotten to the scholarly Pontiff."
Shocking news Monday morning -- the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI, the first time a pontiff has stepped down in almost 600 years. The banner headline over the front of Tuesday's New York Times read "Pope Resigns, With Church At Crossroads – Scandals and a Shift Away From Europe Pose Challenges." The story from Vatican City by Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo was also front-loaded with negatives and the problems the church faces, seen through the prism of what liberal Manhattanites (i.e. Times reporters) consider vital issues: Condoms and the ordination of women.
On Monday night, CNN's Erin Burnett badgered the Catholic church to change its doctrine and accept birth control, gay marriage, and women priests. All day long on Monday, CNN asked if the church was going to change with the times but Burnett was blatant in her push for liberalization of doctrine.
"Isn't it time for the church, which is supposed to be an inclusive, generous, giving organization, to move ahead on gay rights?" she asked her guest a loaded question. When he answered no, she hit back, "Even if they [gay people] love each other, isn't the Catholic Church supposed to be about love?" [Video below the break. Audio here.]
According to an analysis by the Media Research Center, the three broadcast networks are using the abdication of Pope Benedict XVI to advance their left-wing social agenda and attack the Catholic Church’s centuries-old doctrine on the priesthood, abortion, and gay marriage. While NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News predictably dwelled on scandals and the Pope’s "conservatism," their anti-Catholic coverage paled in comparison to the disgraceful onslaught on ABC World News.
"Instead of reporting the historic news of Pope Benedict’s resignation, Diane Sawyer... used the opportunity to bludgeon the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict with every left-wing grievance imaginable. It was a disgusting and deeply offensive assault on the Church," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell complained in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.
As if more proof were needed that the broadcast networks don’t get religion, and really don’t get Catholicism, analysis of the evening news programs from Feb. 11 showed a how inadequate the assumptions of liberal secular journalists were in explaining the Church, its mission and its role in the lives of the faithful.
On the day of the surprise resignation of 85-yr-old Pope Benedict XVI, ABC, CBS and NBC all danced the “The Papal Reporting Two-Step”: dwell on the negatives of the recent past before wondering hopefully if the Church will now finally step out of the dark ages of orthodoxy. Of the three, however, ABC was far and away the worst. Video after the Break.
Discussing the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI on the February 11 edition of MSNBC's "The Cycle," co-host Krystal Ball praised the retiring pontiff for being a "real advocate for addressing climate change" and for joining Twitter, but lamented that he was "outspoken in keeping women from being ordained" and "went after the largest group of nuns in America for basically spending too much time focused on the poor and not enough on abortion and gay marriage."
But as we at NewsBusters have noted time and again, the nuns who were corrected by the Vatican were NOT attacked for their good social work and most certainly were not denounced for being too busy caring for the poor to deal with the politics of abortion or gay marriage. No, the Vatican's rebuke -- which was tenderly-worded and pastoral in nature, by the way -- was largely centered on questions of Catholic doctrine and ecclesiology, as my colleague Paul Wilson explained in an April 2012 post addressing a similar gripe by the Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger (emphases mine):
Early this morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he’d abdicate the papal throne at the end of the month, which is the first time a pontiff will have stepped down in seven centuries. Such breaking news was bound to set off rampant media speculation about next month's meeting of the College of Cardinals --which will decide Benedict's successor -- and talk in the media about the outgoing bishop of Rome's legacy.
All that is well and good, but on MSNBC, it was the perfect excuse for the liberal network to feature liberal Catholics Chris Matthews and E.J. Dionne scolding the Church as out of touch with modernity on issues of sexuality and women as priests. And that was on top of laughingly treating the election of a new pope as though it were some presidential primary where candidates work feverishly to line up enough delegates to win nomination. Read the relevant transcript below the page break:
It will be interesting to see if the media soften their almost uniform hostility to Pope Benedict XVI in the few remaining weeks of his papacy. It’s doubtful, since resigning his office won’t make Joseph Ratzinger any less Catholic. And his real sin, in liberal eyes, is just being too Catholic.
When the long, vigorously orthodox pontificate of John Paul II came to an end in 2005, liberals in and out of the Church hoped the next Pope would roll over on their most cherished issues: women priests, married priests, homosexuality and abortion. To say that Ratzinger’s selection was a disappointment is an understatement.
On the day Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be stepping down from the Papacy, NBC's Monday Today featured a report by correspondent Michelle Kosinski, who offered these highlights of the Pontiff's tenure: "As a Cardinal, some criticized him for being strict and conservative, calling him, 'God's Rottweiler.' Becoming Pope meant he had to take on the Church's sexual abuse scandal that reverberated throughout America and Europe, and for which he apologized." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
As Kosinski mentioned the Pope's response to the sex abuse scandal, footage appeared on screen of protesters holding signs with pictures of Benedict and the words: "Catholic Paedophile Cover Up."
A daily feature of MSNBC host Chris Jansing's 10 a.m. Eastern program Jansing & Co. is the "Tweet of the Day." Given the astonishing breaking news about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to abdicate the papacy at the end of the month, it was almost certain the tweet highlighted would have to do with this development.
But given that this is the "Lean Forward" network, Jansing highlighted the call of a liberal columnist for a pope who would accept contraception and women priests: