CNN Presented Edwards Bloggers' Religious Bigotry As An Unproven Allegation

John Edwards is retaining his attack-dog leftist bloggers. His campaign has a statement on the Edwards blog, and the candidate claimed "they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked."

As anyone who's read the Kathryn Lopez smackdown on their blazing blog guns at Catholics (and Pope Benedict, the alleged dictator) knows, it's quite clear they intended to malign a faith. The subject emerged on CNN's The Situation Room Wednesday night, but the most disturbing part of the story appeared on screen. The graphic emphasized unproven allegations:

"Anti-Catholic" Accusation

What? Kathryn's beginning made the vicious anti-Catholic flavor of Amanda Marcotte's blogging very clear:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?
A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

This update on the Baltimore Catechism comes via Amanda Marcotte of the Pandagon blog in her "FAQ ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S ‘CRAZY’ TEACHINGS ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL." In it she explains that "the intent" of "mainstream Catholic teaching" on artificial contraception "is to make women suspect their gynecologists* are out to get them and possibly kill some babies for fun."

But CNN reporter Mary Snow's story only used a mild anti-Catholic joke, and a vicious anti-Duke-lacrosse-team blog to outline the case, omitting comments like those:

Well, Wolf, everybody believes the bloggers are provocative, as many political bloggers are. But one Catholic group says they go too far. And it's calling on John Edwards to fire them, not for what they said during the campaign, but in their past jobs.

(Video begins) On John Edwards' own Web site, it's called the first big test of the campaign. A conservative Catholic group took aim at two bloggers who work for Edwards, calling them anti- Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots.

The blogs in question were written before the two joined Edwards' campaign. One of the postings that angered Catholic League president William Donahue said the church's opposition to birth control forces women to -- quote -- "bear more tithing Catholics."

WILLIAM DONAHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Don't use insulting language like this. This is incendiary. It's inflammatory. It's scurrilous. It has no place being a part of any kind of someone's resume who's going to work for a -- a potential presidential contender.

SNOW: Donahue points to blogger Melissa McEwan, who makes reference to President Bush's "wing-nut Christofascist base," and blogger Amanda Marcotte's entry on the pope and fascists.

Also gaining notice, Marcotte's writing that sarcastically chides the news media's coverage of the Duke lacrosse players who were accused of sexual assault. Her entry read -- quote -- "Can't a few white boys sexually assault a black woman any more without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair."

DONAHUE: It should be a message to everybody, in -- Republicans and Democrat alike. You had better carefully go through these kinds of things. Otherwise, you are going to get burnt in the end.

But when CNN is pooh-poohing the hatred in these blogs, they ought to be more explicit. Here's some more material CNN and Snow omitted.

I suspect Pope Ratz will give into the urge eventually to come out and say there’s no limbo and unbaptized babies go straight to hell. He can’t help it; he’s just a dictator like that. Hey, fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, the Pope’s gotta tell women who give birth to stillborns that their babies are cast into Satan’s maw....

Which all brings me to recommending this great post by Austin Cline at Jesus’ General about why authoritarian types are so damn interested in cobbling people’s sex lives and meddling around in people’s private sexual decisions, like in this case why the Catholic church is so interested in making sure that people can’t make the perfectly sound decision to limit their family size while enjoying a healthy sex life—either you’re going to have to forgo birth control or you’re going to have to feel guilty to the point where you fear you’re casting babies into hellfire, by their standards. It’s a way to disrupt people’s lives so the church can get more control.

If CNN can't recognize greet these passages as authentically hostile to Catholics, then they don't have the analytical skills of a high school freshman.

For her part, Marcotte identifies herself as not just anti-Catholic, anti-religious:

Because the fundies have gotten more aggressive, in other words, they’ve created an opportunity for anti-religious thinkers to flood the media with our point of view and also to get more aggressively anti-religious, not just arguing that fundies are wrong but that faith itself is fundamentally flawed and damaging.

PS: Austin Cline, the "general," is a "Draft Gore" guy himself, but he argues that "Authoritarian control over our sexual behavior inevitably leads to authoritarian control over our physical bodies, our emotional connections to fellow citizens, our psychological health, and thus also our lives overall."

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