WashPost Highlights (Sexist?) Sebelius Protesters by Gender: 'Nearly All of Them Men'

A small group of conservative protesters greeted HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius – a woman whose own bishop excommunicated her – to speak at the Catholic Georgetown University. The group made the front page of Saturday’s Washington Post – and the caption highlighted “A small group of abortion foes, nearly all of them men” protested.

This is not the way the Post covered Occupy DC: “A group of free enterprise foes, nearly all of them white...” Post reporter Jenna Johnson set the scene as Sebelius was heckled:

As Kathleen Sebelius addressed Georgetown University graduates Friday morning, the secretary of health and human services felt the wrath of antiabortion activists when someone shouted “murderer!” in an otherwise quiet ballroom....

On Friday morning, a small cluster of antiabortion activists traveled to Georgetown’s front gates from West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Nearly all were men, many wearing red sashes. They stood under a banner that read, “Sebelius persecutes the Church, yet Georgetown welcomes her.”

During her speech, a 27-year-old protester screamed: “I have a message for you, Kathleen Sebelius. You are a murderer!” Sebelius paused, the crowd booed, and police escorted the man out. Then the ceremony continued.

The red-sash group is Tradition Family Property (TFP) a traditional-Catholic group. The Post always seems to cast social conservatives as "antiabortion" and when they yell, it is "wrath." These, again, were not your typical Occupy terms. 

Johnson’s overarching theme was that commencement speakers can be controversial – as was President Obama’s commencement speech to Notre Dame in 2009. Johnson covered very little of what Sebelius said:

Although Sebelius did not directly mention the health-care law or contraception, she told the graduates that a “process of conversation and compromise” is required when religious issues intersect with policy decisions. Debates about such decisions, she said, require “the ability to weigh different views, to see issues from other points of view and, in the end, to be true to your own moral compass.”

Edwin Mora at our news service CNSNews.com noted Sebelius quoted John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech to Protestant ministers about electing a Catholic president. She said JFK “believed in an America, and I quote, ‘where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all.’”

Doesn’t that “indivisibility” right now sound a lot like the religious institutions of America uniting around the Catholic Church as the Obama administration cracks down on it, demanding it pay for contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients?

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