Tags: Media | Had | Agenda | Papal | Coverage

Media Had Agenda in Papal Coverage

Friday, 29 April 2005 12:00 AM

"The meeting, said one priest in Rome, is like the lion lying down with the lamb," reported Dan Rather, while covering a November of 1989 meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and John Paul. "But in this case, he said, it's hard to tell who's the lion and who's the lamb."

MRC analyst Tim Graham noted that Rather's "ridiculous metaphor" took "moral equivalence to absurd new heights."

Other examples include equating the "separation of church and state" with the enforced atheism of Cold War-era Poland, implying that even communism is better than a state-sponsored religion.

Bill Keller, a New York Times columnist, has echoed the same comparisons of Pope John Paul II's papacy to communism. "He has replicated something very like the old Communist Party in his church," wrote Bill Keller. "Karol Wojtyla has shaped a hierarchy that is intolerant of dissent, unaccountable to its members, secretive in the extreme and willfully clueless about how people live."

Because of the Pope's morally-based decisions on issues ranging from contraception to war, he was often not unconditionally aligned with one American political party. Therefore, the media often was selective in the praise and criticism of his positions. That means downplaying some issues, while raising others to national prominence, according to their clear political agenda.

"Though he mentioned the rights of the ‘unborn child' at Giants Stadium last night, his most striking statements...have been warnings against what he perceives as a rising movement to limit immigration, reduce subsidies for the poor and weak, and retreat to an isolationist position," New York Times reporter Celestine Bohlen wrote, after Pope John Paul II called abortion a "moral blight" on America.

So, he only "mentioned" abortion rights, but just happened to criticize, at great length, policies being sponsored by top Republicans? Unfortunately, Bohlen was one of many reporters who spun words of the Pope to make a political point.

As if the communist comparison was not bad enough, the Media Research Center also reported that Pope John Paul II has been compared none other than Hillary Clinton.

"(Hillary Clinton) is one of the great stories of our time," said Geraldo Rivera on CNBC in 1999, "the same way the pope was."

The final issue cited by the Media Research Center study was the supposed "Catholics" vs. Catholics battle, which played out on network news.

"The media glorified and enlarged the influence of dissenters, constantly identifying and quoting what they called the ‘many Catholics' who agreed with their world view," wrote Tim Graham. This includes everything from finding non-practicing Catholics to answer questions on the Vatican to employing extremely liberal priests and nuns as on-air correspondents for religious issues.

Though mostly suspended during the coverage of Pope John Paul II's funeral, the press is not wasting any time with newly elected Pope Benedict XVI. Reporters have already proclaimed that he is as conservative, if not more, than his predecessor, and they continue to invoke the "many Catholics" argument to criticize the cardinals' choice.

Maybe the disagreement on some issues between American Catholics and the Vatican is caused less by conservative church teachings, and more by the liberal press.

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"The meeting, said one priest in Rome, is like the lion lying down with the lamb," reported Dan Rather, while covering a November of 1989 meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and John Paul. "But in this case, he said, it's hard to tell who's the lion and who's the lamb." MRC...
Media,Had,Agenda,Papal,Coverage
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2005-00-29
Friday, 29 April 2005 12:00 AM
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