NBC Hypes Poll Showing Liberal Catholics Say Abortion ‘Not a Sin’

September 2nd, 2015 10:57 AM

Ahead of Pope Francis’s upcoming visit to the United States, Wednesday’s NBC Today touted a new Pew Research Center poll finding that a minority of Catholics do not believe abortion to be a sin. Fill-in co-host Willie Geist used the Pope adjusting the process of forgiving abortion as a segue: “...the Vatican announced priests may now forgive women who’ve had abortions....The Pope isn't alone when it comes to a bit of a change of heart.”

Geist proclaimed: “Take a look at this new and unprecedented poll of Catholics released just overnight....a third of Catholics say terminating a pregnancy is not a sin. And among Church-going Catholics, nearly a fourth don't even see abortion as sinful.” The headline on screen declared: “Catholicism in America; New Poll Shows Major Changes Ahead of Pope’s Visit.”

He added: “That's not all. The Catholic Church teaches that premarital sex, gay marriage, and divorce are wrong, but American Catholics do not agree that these are sins.”

Fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie chimed in:

More to this poll. When it came to living together without walking down the aisle, 65% polled said it is not a sin. And for gay Catholics, this poll shows they are increasingly gaining acceptance. 50% of all Catholics said being gay is not a sin. The number did drop to 27% among those who attend mass regularly. And while traditional family values were still ideal according to those polled, 87% said they were accepting of single parents and 7 of 10 said that divorce is not a sin.

On Tuesday, all three network evening newscasts seized on the Pontiff allowing priests – not just higher Church officials – to forgive the sin of abortion for repentant Catholics (something already in practice in many dioceses).

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt sensationalized: “A surprising announcement today from Pope Francis, who continues to make waves with his stances on hot-button issues ahead of his historic visit to the U.S. He's now issuing a message to women who've had an abortion, which is considered a grave sin by the Catholic Church. That is not changing, but how the Church responds is about to change.”

In the report that followed, Anne Thompson observed that the “change in tone” was “welcomed by many of the faithful.” A soundbite followed of one of those “faithful” ranting: “I think whatever can propel the Catholic Church into contemporary times is worth applause.”

On ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor David Muir announced: “We turn overseas tonight and to Rome and global headlines at this hour over what Pope Francis declared today....His new message to America before his visit here, but tonight he's tackling a highly charged, highly personal issue, abortion, saying women who have had abortions can be forgiven...”

Only CBS Evening News actually described the less dramatic nature of the papal move, as correspondent Elaine Quijano explained: “The Pope's announcement is not a radical shift in doctrine. Some priests have had the ability to absolve women from what the Church says is the sin of abortion, but the letter issues today is the first time the Vatican has publicly sanctioned the practice.”

With all the focus on abortion, none of the networks made a single mention of the Planned Parenthood scandal involving the alleged sale of body parts from aborted babies. In fact, NBC, ABC, and CBS haven’t covered any of the videos exposing the nation’s largest abortion provider for the last month.