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.]
Christopher Hitchens has been brought back from the dead by Slate, but it won’t do them any good. Yesterday, they republished a hit piece by the atheist from 2010 that was vintage Hitchens: the man was a great polemicist but a third-class scholar. Facts never mattered to him. ("The Pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it.")
Hitchens said the scandal “has only just begun.” Wrong. It began in the mid-60s and ended in the mid-80s. Current reports are almost all about old cases.
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."
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.
Talk about a media machine. Pope Benedict XVI announces his retirement and the press devour the information only to toss out stories dripping with Nazis connotations, sex abuse scandals, female hatred, and gay marriage. Oh wait, scratch that last one, because, according to Buzzfeed’s Matt Stopera, the pope is gay.
Stopera quoted “the great” Honey Boo Boo, the 6-year-old reality TV star turned modern day philosopher, to prove the pope’s “gayness:” ‘Ain't nothin' wrong with being a little gay!’
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.
Radical talk show host Bill Press couldn't resist bashing Pope Benedict XVI one last time on Monday as the news broke that the pontiff would be abdicating at the end of February. Press, along with sidekick Peter Ogburn and regular guest John Fugelsang, forwarded common misconceptions from the left about Benedict's reign as pope and his previous work as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, especially his handling of the priest sex abuse scandal.
Fugelsang cracked, "It's my understanding that he wants to...devote more time to running the Catholic Church into the ground in the private sector." The left-wing radio host, who mocked the Pope for joining Twitter in December 2012, agreed wholeheartedly: "He's done a good job of running it into the ground from the Vatican – that's for sure." [audio available here; video below the jump] Press, a former seminarian, also half-jokingly fantasized about becoming pope himself:
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:
Only an hour after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy, and not ten minutes into Monday's Starting Point, CNN's Soledad O'Brien hosted the director of an anti-Catholic documentary who has called Pope Benedict a "criminal" and a "deeply flawed human being."
Director Alex Gibney was O'Brien's first guest on her show. His new film on the clerical sex abuse scandal has been criticized as distorted and misleading and "an anti-Catholic broadside masquerading as a documentary." O'Brien praised it as "riveting, absolutely riveting," however, and let him criticize Pope Benedict. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
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:
Does anyone in the media ever attempt to read and understand the speeches of Pope Benedict? The New York Daily News account of his December 21 speech to the curia (the “Vatican bureaucracy”) is being mangled by the Daily Kos into “Pope gives special holiday hate speech against gays because it's Christmas.” The Mediaite headline (off London’s Daily Mail) is “Merry Christmas? Pope Benedict XVI Denounces Gay Marriage As A ‘Manipulation Of Nature’.”
Someone who reads the original would find the term “gay marriage” is missing, although there is a defense of traditional marriage. He denounced the idea that one's gender is not a fact, but a social construct. The pope was also taking on the notion that in the broader culture, men and women are afraid of making lifelong commitments:
[Update, Saturday, 9 pm Eastern: Ranger Up also promoted the vulgar image on their Twitter account.]
On Friday, Ranger Up, an apparel company that sells "shirts for the military and the patriotic Americans who love the men and women of the Armed Forces", inexplicably posted a crude rendition of Pope Benedict XVI on their Facebook page, which has over 82,000 fans. The graphic invokes a famous Marilyn Monroe scene in the movie The Seven Year Itch. Instead of standing on the streets of New York City, the Pope is in the middle of a park in the tropics, and a little girl appears to be running away in horror of the sight of the pontiff's bare legs. [image below the jump]
So far, over 350 people have "liked" the image on Facebook, it's been shared 122 times, and several anti-Catholic posts have been left on its comment thread, with no reply or comment from the anyone at the company.
Reuters reports the Pope is entering the world of Twitter at "Pontifex." On Monday morning's Bill Press show, the former seminarian mocked the 85-year-old pontiff: "What do you think the chances are that the Pope has any idea how to access Twitter?" By the way, hip Bill Press is 72.
Press producer Peter Ogburn mocked the plan for the Pope to answer tweeted questions at #askpontifex. He read some favorites, which ranged from Jesus-and-microwaved-burrito questions to the assertion that the Catholic Church is causing "millions to die in the Third World" by opposing condoms: [ relevant video follows the article ]
The Washington Post’s fact checkers must be too busy chasing down emotionally scarred seventh grade classmates of Mitt Romney to look at ads the company accepts.
The Washington Express, a free daily publication of The Washington Post, put a four page ad on its cover by Catholic dissident group Catholics for Choice, which took remarks about Pope’s stance on condoms completely out of context and claimed that “abstinence has a high failure rate.”
While the networks largely ignored 43 Catholic institutions suing the Obama administration over the ObamaCare contraception mandate, since news broke on May 25 of the Pope's butler leaking classified Vatican documents, those same networks saw fit to provide 13 stories in 5 days proclaiming"another black eye for the Vatican" and supposed "corruption at some of the highest levels." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
ABC News lead the charge, with a total of six reports from May 26 through 28. NBC followed close behind with five reports, one of which was a news brief, from May 25 through 29. CBS had the lightest coverage of the controversy, with only two reports on May 28. CBS was also the only one of the three networks to provide any coverage of the Catholic lawsuit, offering a 19-second news brief on the May 21 Evening News and an interview with Cardinal Timothy Dolan on the May 23 This Morning.
On Monday's Good Morning America, as ABC's Jeffrey Kofman recounted the news that Pope Benedict XVI's butler has been arrested, implicated in leaking Vatican documents to the media, the ABC correspondent asserted that the Pope's "seven-year papacy has been consumed by very public scandals," and then recounted a group of demonstrators who recently accused the Pope of "covering up evidence" in the case of a 15-year-old girl who went missing in 1983. Kofman:
On Friday, far-left actress Roseanne Barr went on an anti-Catholic rant on Twitter, as she seemingly gave her take on the controversy over ObamaCare's abortifacient/contraception mandate. Barr reused some of her previous bigoted attacks: painting Catholic priests as child molesters, and calling for the registration of the Church as a PAC. She even called for the taxation of the Catholic Church.
In her first Tweet, the washed-up comedian spewed, "Catholic employers need to include psychiatric coverage for their women employees's [sic] children who might get molested by catholic priests!" This echoes an April 2010 post Barr made on her personal blog, where she blasted church-going Catholics: "I am starting to think that any parent who takes their kids to catholic churches from now on should lose custody. Taking your kid where you know sex offenders hang out is inexcusable!!!"
So, uh, have you heard that the Catholic Church is working up a "crackdown" on nuns? Of course you have, as time and again the media have been repeating the charge. Well, today Sally Quinn, the agnostic editor of the Washington Post's On Faith feature, joined in the fun with her April 24 screed about "A Catholic 'war on women.'"
From start to finish, Sister Sally poured forth bilious attacks on the Catholic Church. Here's how she opened her screed:
Liberal radio hosts were furious with the Catholic League for mocking Hillary Rosen after she attacked Ann Romney for not working. Their tweet said “Unlike Rosen, who had to adopt kids, Ann raised 5 of her own.” This was seen by liberals as signaling Rosen’s children adopted with former partner Elizabeth Birch were “less valid, less worthy of respect” and homophobic.
On Friday, Bill Press confused the Catholic League with the nation’s bishops (they are not connected), but on Thursday, rabid atheist Mike Malloy was nudged into erupting about "child-raping" Catholics and their scummy "Nazi pope":
As the broadcast network evening newscasts recounted Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Cuba, ABC's Christiane Amanpour on World News and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the NBC Nightly News both noted reports that dissidents had been detained and prevented from meeting the Catholic leader, while the CBS Evening News failed to mention their plight.
The New York Times coverage of the Pope's trip to the dictatorship of Cuba has a strange, cheap-shot emphasis on how the Cuban people are coerced to attend such rallies, an authoritarian power play, but one the paper rarely if ever bothers to address during Cuban May Day rallies held in celebration of communism. A nytimes.com search suggests the Times has never previously used the words "orchestrated" or "intimidation" to describe the Cuban government coercing people to attend May Day parades.
So why use that explanation for the crowds surrounding the Pope, but leave that obvious explanation off when talking about crowds listening to dictator Fidel Castro's latest multi-hour-drone-a-thon of a speech?