Another Cheap Slap at Catholics by the Los Angeles Times

Today's Los Angeles Times (Sunday, June 25, 2006) features coverage of Erotica LA (warning: adult content), an adult X-rated retail expo, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. In a page B1 article entitled "More Couples, Women Turn On to Erotica Expo," Times staffer Robin Abcarian begins by relaying a lesson in "spanking" being taught by a "dominatrix" by the name of Georgia Payne. (The subject matter itself is questionable for a "family" newspaper, but that's a separate issue entirely.) In the process, Abcarian used Payne's words to take a swipe at Catholics.

Payne, who earns $250 an hour, was about to demonstrate the fine art of spanking, which — contrary to what you might think — is not as simple as it looks. The hand should be cupped, not flat, she explained, and positioned on the lower part of the buttocks, never at the top, never on the leg and never ever near the tailbone.

"If your husband went to Catholic school," the 32-year-old Payne said with a sly smile, "he's probably secretly dying for it."

An unnecessary cheap shot? Definitely. With what other religious group could the Times, or any other "reputable" newspaper, get away with in dealing such a gratuitous slam?

This cheap shot could easily be dismissed if it weren't for recent episodes in which the Times has freely plastered the Church. Less than a month ago, the Times published an op-ed from one of the most notorious anti-Catholic writers in the world. Last month, the Times' Tim Rutten dismissed The Da Vinci Code as "only a movie,"; yet a couple of years earlier, he hyperventilated over the "combustible" The Passion of the Christ. In the past, the Times has also harped over "conservative" Catholics, while giving "liberal" Catholics no such label.

In addition, recent coverage by the Times of the clergy sex abuse scandal has been roundly criticized as "misleading" ... "wrong as it is clueless" ... "the same old ways of inaccuracy, shrillness and incorrect context."

Also, the Catholic League has certainly noticed the Times' two-faced approach when reporting on the Church.

Is Jamie Gold, the Times' Readers Representative, listening? Check out "Catholic-Bashing: America's Last Acceptable Prejudice," by Philip Jenkins.

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.