Vox's Max Fisher shamelessly invoked medieval history in a Monday post about Pope Francis. Fisher highlighted the pontiff's support for action against ISIS's "unjust aggression" in Iraq, and hyped that "there is good precedent for this...between 1096 and 1272 AD, popes also endorsed the use of Western military action to destroy Middle Eastern caliphates. Those were known as the crusades; there were nine, which means that this would be number 10."
The former Washington Post journalist immediately set the tone with the title of his post: "News from 1096 AD: Pope endorses military force to destroy Middle Eastern caliphate." Fisher continued in this vein in his lead paragraph:
Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out for zeroing in on the plight of Catholics in China, as it covered Pope Francis's trip to South Korea. Seth Doane noted the Pope's overflight of the communist country, and pointed out how "that's significant, because the last time a pope wanted to fly through Chinese airspace was in 1989, and Beijing refused the request." The Pope at that time, St. John Paul II, took a vocal stance against the communist regime in his native Poland.
Meanwhile, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today touted the Pope "making history" with his trip, as he is the first pontiff to visit South Korea in 25 years. Both newscasts also hyped the temporary Popemobile – something that CBS This Morning left out of its coverage: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Monday's Good Morning America, hosts Dan Harris and Amy Robach seized on Pope Francis advising against proselytization in a Sunday interview with Argentinian magazine Viva. Harris observed: "...he talks a lot about respecting other people's believes and not proselytizing." Robach gushed: "That's fantastic....there's a reason why he's the people's pope." George Stephanopoulos chimed in: "A lot of wisdom." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
The morning show anchors skipped the Pope's full quote, in which he commented on the best method by which to draw people to the Church but didn't abandon the effort to gain converts: "We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes. 'I am talking with you in order to persuade you.' No. The Church grows by attraction, not proselytizing."
On Friday, both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today ignored the news that Meriam Ibrahaim, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death in Sudan for converting from Islam to Christianity and marrying a Christian man, fled Sudan with an Italian diplomat on an Italian jet to Rome Thursday and received a blessing from Pope Francis in a private meeting at the Vatican.
Meanwhile, CBS This Morning did cover the story and provided a 29 second news brief at the conclusion of the 7:00 a.m. half hour. Co-host Norah O’Donnell reported that: “And an extraordinary turn of events for a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death in Sudan. Well, she is now free and this morning, she's on her way to the United States after meeting with the pope. Meriam Ibrahim flew to Rome Thursday after being allowed to leave Sudan. She and her family had a private moment with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Ibrahim faced execution in Sudan for marrying a Christian. The decision was overturned last month. Ibrahim has in-laws in New Hampshire.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]
On Friday's CNN Newsroom, Kyra Phillips boosted the latest musing of feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte, who deplored Pope Francis's recent advice to married couples to have children instead of going childless and owning pets instead. Phillips let the leftist writer assert that "the very notion that I'm anti-Catholic is completely ridiculous," but omitted the 2007 scandal where Marcotte had to leave John Edwards's campaign for a vulgar anti-Catholic screed.
The anchor also made it clear that she sympathized with her guest's pro-contraception, pro-population control column for The Daily Beast on Friday: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Carol Costello and her two clerical guests slammed "climate change deniers" on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom. Costello pointed out a recent sarcastic Tweet by Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak on the climate change issue that "sparked a firestorm," and spotlighted how "religious leaders are more than concerned about statements like that. They're now battling climate change deniers on moral grounds."
The anchor turned to Reverend Mitchell Hescox of the Evangelical Environmental Network and CNN religion commentator Father Edward Beck as her one-sided panel on the topic, and accused the "deniers" of not only eschewing science, but also being unfaithful to Scripture: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On his May 16 program, liberal comedian and avowed atheist Bill Maher insulted a holy sacrament of the faith of billions of people worldwide in a disturbingly crude joke involving, essentially, sexually predatory extraterrestrial alien priests [See video below. MP3 audio here].
The occasion for the so-called joke was news that Pope Francis said that in the hypothetical situation that life existed on other planets and an extraterrestrial asked him to be baptized, he would perform the baptismal rite for the alien. “New rule: Don't scare off the aliens before they even get here,” cracked Maher on his Real Time program, adding:
On Sunday, the Washington Post's Anthony Faiola spotlighted how Pope Francis is supposedly "the most old school of any pope since at least Paul VI" with regard to his consistent teaching on the Devil. Faiola underlined that "Francis has not only dwelled far more on Satan in sermons and speeches than his recent predecessors have, but also sought to rekindle the Devil's image as a supernatural entity with the forces of evil at his beck and call."
The liberal newspaper's London bureau chief also pointed out how the pontiff "praised a group long viewed by some as the crazy uncles of the Roman Catholic Church — the International Association of Exorcists," much to the dismay of dissenting Catholics inside the Church who want to downplay or deny the existence of Satan:
"The Vatican canonized two new saints last week. And President Obama was disappointed to learn he wasn't one of them."
Other liberals who didn't have a prayer of avoiding Jodi Miller's acerbic wit this week include Jon Stewart, Bill Clinton, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). To watch the May 2 edition of NewsBusted, click play on the embed below the page break. To get NewsBusted delivered to your email inbox, click here. To subscribe to NewsBusted on YouTube visit here.
MSNBC seized on Pope Francis’s tweet yesterday that “Inequality is the root of social evil” to once again flog conservatives for their economic views. On Monday’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, fill-in host Ari Melber began a segment on the pontiff by gloating, “[S]ome Republicans are caught between a rock and a hard place. Specifically, between the pope's teachings and Rush Limbaugh's orders.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
First off, it’s a little dramatic to talk about Rush Limbaugh’s “orders.” He’s just one man who gives his opinions on the radio. And second, MSNBC wants to pretend Pope Francis is completely aligned with American liberals and against conservatives, but that’s not true. The pope may emphasize social justice, but he is thoroughly conservative and traditional on key cultural and theological issues.
Rheana Murray's Saturday article on ABCNews.com omitted key details about how the Catholic Church determines which saints' feast days are observed by Catholic parishes all over the world. Murray noted that the Church "removed 93 saints from the universal calendar and revoked their feast days in 1969," but two out of the four examples she gave still have "optional" feast days on the calendar.
The journalist's write-up, which was also posted on Good Morning America's page on Yahoo!, cited Kean University's Christopher Bellito, who pointed out that these saints "weren't actually de-sainted, just downgraded." Professor Bellito explained that the Church "decided to remove particular feast days of those saints whose origins were shrouded in more mystery than manuscripts."
Earlier today, Pope Francis tweeted from his English-language account, "Inequality is the root of social evil." Not long afterwards, the Daily Beast shouted out its Amen by placing the development at the top of its Tip Sheet digest, complete with the cheeky caption "Occupy Vatican." [see screen captures below page break]
Naturally, however, the Beast completely ignored statements the pontiff made on Friday lamenting the emotional and spiritual effects that abortion has on women who have obtained them. As TheWire.com reported yesterday:
Conan O'Brien apparently couldn't resist making a pedophile priest joke on his TBS program on Wednesday, after Pope Francis took two school boys on a ride around St. Peter's Square during his weekly audience: "The Pope let two 11-year-old boys ride in the Popemobile with him...Afterwards, the Vatican told the Pope, that's not the kind of publicity we're looking for today. What the hell is that all about? Kids, get in – come on!" [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Friday's CBS Evening News featured a previously unaired portion of Scott Pelley's softball interview of President Obama on his recent meeting with Pope Francis. The Vatican noted on Thursday that "there was a discussion on questions of particular relevance for the Church...such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection" – a reference to the Catholic Church's objection to ObamaCare's abortifacient/contraception mandate.
But instead of asking about this discussion, Pelley gave the President the kid glove treatment, and wondered how the encounter affected the liberal politician: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Politico reported something interesting before President Obama met with Pope Francis: “The visit is a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own.”
It’s rare for pundits to admit that someone else might top their revered Barack in the coolness category. They’re equating coolness and popularity, and the Pope certainly polls much better than the president, which is no surprise these days.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley scored an exclusive interview with Barack Obama on Friday. Much of the conversation centered around the President's meeting with Pope Francis. But rather than highlight the Pope's strong disagreements on issues like abortion, gay marriage and the contraception mandate in the health care law, Pelley appeared on CBS This Morning to wonder if the President, like Francis, wishes he could escape the "trappings" of power. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Pelley explained, "It's well known here in Rome that sometimes the Pope slips those trappings, even gets in car, drives himself to another part of the city to help minister to the poor." The anchor added, "I asked the President about that and the fact that the President of the United States can't do the same thing. The President said that he was sure that the Pope had a lot more freedom but that he, the President, had only two and a half to go and he was sure that the Pope would be at this much, much longer."
All the networks gave positive coverage on Wednesday evening to President Obama's meeting with Pope Francis, but ABC left out the elephant in the room, the massive conflict between the Obama administration and the U.S. Catholic Bishops over the birth control mandate.
Each network reported a happy meeting; both ABC and NBC called it "historic." All the networks highlighted the consensus between the two men on fighting poverty, as ABC noted a "bond" between the two men.
Earlier today, the Facebook page for BBC World News posted a captionfest item featuring a photo of President Obama and Pope Francis shaking hands. Curiously, the photo caption begins, "Pope Francis (R) and US President Barack Obama shake hands after exchanging gifts during a private audience on March 27, 2014 at the Vatican." [see screen capture -- taken around 10 p.m. Eastern -- below page break]
To be fair, Pope Francis is on the right in the photo, but it's still incredibly odd as the only subjects in focus in the photo are the president and the pontiff, and it's not like the average reader would be confused as to which is which.
During coverage of President's Obama meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday, both NBC's Today and CBS This Morning hoped the papal visit would boost the commander-in-chief's sinking poll numbers. Today co-host Matt Lauer wondered: "The Pope, enormously popular....Is there something in just rubbing elbows with the Pope for President Obama?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd observed: "I think that the President, particularly right now where his own approval ratings are not so hot, just being seen with the Pope, particularly in some places where there are a lot of Catholic voters in the United States, it's not gonna hurt. So, yes, I think the White House sees this as a potential political up side."
Thursday's network morning shows tripped over themselves in their rush to fawn over President Obama meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican. At the top of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts touted how the President "feels a special bond with the Pontiff." On NBC's Today, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd spoke of an "ideological comfort level" between the two leaders, while on CBS This Morning, White House correspondent Major Garrett described their "genuine connection." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
While ABC, NBC, and CBS provided a combined 14 minutes 30 seconds of coverage to the papal meeting on Thursday, only 2 minutes 21 seconds of that air time referred to the fundamental disagreements between Obama and the Pope on a host of issues. Instead, the morning broadcasts chose to play up the "common ground" between the two men on issues of "income inequality" and "social justice."
As the media boosted President Obama's meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday morning, none have noticed how the reportedly weekly-Mass-attending Vice President Joe Biden made remarks in Los Angeles at a "Human Rights Campaign" event last Saturday night. Biden expressed disbelief and outrage that anyone's still taking Catholic teaching on sexuality seriously in this modern age.
The gay newspaper The Washington Blade reported Biden used words like "close to barbaric" to describe the present system of religious liberty -- the notion that a religious employer doesn't have to hire (and can fire) gay activists. Biden even said "the world -- God willing -- is beginning to change." He then cited Pope Francis (out of context) saying "who are we to judge?" (video below)
Someone needs to tell the Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown that it isn't 2008 any more. While they're at it, that person also needs to inform her that the Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, could give a rip about whether or not he is perceived as "cool," and certainly isn't Obama's "replacement."
Budoff Brown wrote tonight that President Barack Obama's meeting tomorrow with the Pope "is a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own." Gag me. Obama's ability to move merchandise, one of the supposed indicators of "cool" tanked in the fall of 2009 and has never come back. Excerpts for readers who can stand more such drivel follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Stephen Colbert boosted Jimmy Carter's new book on Tuesday's Colbert Report – a mere day after the former president blamed Catholicism, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention, for the abuse of women across the globe. Carter offered a toned-down version of this eyebrow-raising argument: "If you're a male religious leader, and you want to stay in unchallenged power and not have women challengers, then you can pick some of those things that...St. Paul said."
The Democrat also claimed that he would consider joining the Catholic Church if they would ordain women: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Barack Obama, Catholic in spirit? That was the tone of "The Catholic Roots of Obama's Activism," Jason Horowitz's fawning front-page Sunday New York Times profile of Obama's brief mid-1980s spell as a Catholic-affiliated political activist in Chicago. According to Horowitz, the young Obama was "steeped in the social justice wing of the church" before becoming an allegedly "pragmatic" politician. The president meets with Pope Francis at the Vatican next week.
Obama's incendiary race-baiting preacher Jeremiah Wright, whose church he attended for decades, is mentioned only in passing, and Wright's controversies, including spouting that the 9-11 attacks were "America’s chickens are coming home to roost," and his "God damn America!" rant, were totally absent.
The meeting next week between President Obama and Pope Francis is a meeting of a moderate and a leftist, reports The Washington Post. Obama’s the moderate. But it has “huge potential” for “two world figures” to forge a mind-meld on “social justice.”
Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein’s article is transparently, thoroughly a press release on Obama’s behalf. All of its sources, on the record and off, are liberal Obama aides and sympathizers. “Some said the trip would be only positive for Obama for several reasons,” and then Boorstein lists them. No tough words on abortion, marriage, or Obama mandating that Catholics pay for contraception? “Most Vatican-watchers” guess it will never come up:
NBC, ABC, and CBS marked the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis being elected leader of the Catholic Church with positive stories about the Pontiff's personal style while impatiently pleading for him to reject the moral values he swore to uphold. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday's NBC Today, correspondent Anne Thompson summed up a discussion she had with a group of students at Loyola University by proclaiming: "Now, these young Catholics don't expect change on the divisive issues of contraception, gay marriage, or abortion. But they are thrilled that that's not all the Pope talks about." She added that they were happy avoiding such social issues and "getting back to the original message of Jesus Christ."
MSNBC's Ronan Farrow marked the one-year anniversary of the election of Pope Francis on Thursday by browbeating the Catholic Church for supposedly thwarting the fight against AIDS in the developing world, and for the Church's apparent lack of action in stopping genocide. Farrow played up how "Church social policies often fly in the face of skyrocketing HIV rates," and bemoaned how "the Church does still ban contraception in those places. Is that costing lives?"
The neophyte TV host asked one of his priest guests, "You don't think that it's irresponsible, given the emphasis on mercy and the preservation of life, that there's not more leeway on that doctrine?" He also played up how "brutal conflicts in countries with significant Catholic populations demand attention that some say the Church is failing to provide," and faulted the Church for its apparent inaction during the genocide in Rwanda almost 20 years ago: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Well, today Time magazine religion reporter Elisabeth Dias sought to set the record straight for her fellow journalists and those gullible enough to believe their hype about the import of the bishop of Rome's recent comments on civil unions (emphasis mine):
On Wednesday, CNN's Daniel Burke gave liberal-tinged spin/extrapolation about Pope Francis's answer to an Italian newspaper's question about secular civil unions. Burke asserted in a CNN.com article that the pontiff "reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage...but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions."
However, the journalist left out that despite the Bishop of Rome's generalized answer, he concretely opposed a proposed civil unions bill in Malta near the end of 2013. More recently, the Pope's spokesman lashed out at the Italian media in January 2014 for spinning a separate remark from the native of Argentina as "an opening to legal provision for civil unions for gay couples, a subject of debate in Italy."
On Thursday's New Day, CNN's Chris Cuomo hammered the Catholic League's Bill Donohue for his opposition to same-sex "marriage" and his support of the now-vetoed SB 1062 in Arizona. Cuomo mouthed the talking points of the social left on LGBT issues: "Why do you want to discriminate against gays? You say, we don't...only the marriages bother us. But that's the same thing, because their right as an individual is to marry."
The anchor even questioned Donohue's Catholicism, for supposedly standing with "these Christians who are more of the extreme...[who] have their own rigid beliefs," and against Pope Francis (or, more specifically, the liberal media's spin about him): [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]