Tags: Pope-Bashing | Outrage | the | New | York | Press

Pope-Bashing Outrage at the New York Press

Tuesday, 08 March 2005 12:00 AM

Rohland tells the New York Post that he instructed Koyan not to do a parody cover of the Post, which Koyan wanted to run next to his editor's column. He did it anyway. Not too smart if you want to keep your job.

But maybe Koyan felt that it was worth the risk. After all, the paper was going after the pope with a vengeance, so what harm would a little Page One parody of the Post do? Well, he found out.

The parody was headlined "Pon-Stiff ... His Holiness Heads Home ... Pope finally dies; 'He's in Heaven now,' says everybody." Then a notice of "Exclusive Ascension photos: Page 10."

The sad part of all this is that it was this parody that got the guy in trouble, not the publication of "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." The list was written by a guy named Matt Taibbi. I'm told he's currently covering the Michael Jackson trial for Rolling Stone magazine.

The list is so vulgar, obscene and downright disrespectful that I refuse to reproduce more than I need to in order to get the message across to you.

Number 47 on Taibbi's list reads "Upon death, Pope's face frozen in sickening smile, eyes wide open and teeth exposed, like a baboon." Number 35, "Doctor applies fingers to neck to check expiring Pope's pulse. Pope's ear falls off." Number 1, "Throw a marble at the dead Pope's head. Bonk." Do you get the idea?

The day after this issue hit the stands (it's a free paper supported by ads for sex chat lines, she-males, escorts and Larry Flynt's Hustler Club) I had Jeff Koyan on my show on WWRL Radio in New York City. (www.wwrl1600.com) Needless to say, I expressed my outrage at the list and asked him how he can justify printing such trash?

"It's pointing out the fact that the pope is a mortal man. A lot of people in this world want to point out that he's a Devine Emissary," said Koyan. And while he claimed that he's a Catholic and there was nothing in the way of political motivation going on here, he soon compared the pope to Al Sharpton and Yasser Arafat.

"Did you scream bloody murder when the New York Post put on their cover 'Ara-Fat Lady Sings' and called his widow a gold digger?"

I told him that I had no idea if his Post headline was accurate. I then thanked him for making my point that his whole purpose was to tear down the pope for his religious and political views, but I still needed to know what kind of brain would tie together the mother of modern-day terrorism and the pope. "Because I am unafraid to consider the pope as a political figure and the head of the Roman Catholic Church, which has been the most powerful political force on this planet for 2,000 years."

Then the Al Sharpton analogy: "I put Al Sharpton on the cover and called him 'the head Negro in charge.' I'll touch anybody who deserves to be knocked down. Now, I'm not saying the pope deserves it in this case, but it deserves examination."

I, however, wasn't finished examining Koyan. I read him Number 23 from the list: "Doctors examining the body discover that the Pope was not only a woman but also Hitler." His reaction was to laugh and laugh hard at this one. I asked him why. He told me that they were all funny, since he himself edited them to make them funnier.

I pressed him on why he found Number 23 particularly amusing, and he responded by asking me if I'm Catholic. I told him that I'm Jewish but am horribly offended by his idea of fun. Finally, the man who unknowingly had just over 48 hours remaining in his tenure as editor of the New York Press, said: "The pope is untouchable. Somebody has to touch the untouchable."

Then I analyzed Koyan.

I told him that I think he enjoys the prospect of the pope being a woman in the end because for Catholic bashers like him it would add a touch of delicious irony to the pope's position on "denying a woman the right to choose" abortion. I apparently hit it on the head. He thanked me for my analysis: "I didn't have to put it into words. You actually did it for me."

I'd like to be able to finish this column with a feeling of satisfaction that the man responsible for printing this anti-Catholic trash got what he deserved. But that's not how it happened. Had Jeff Koyan just settled for the abhorrent front page and list of 52, he'd still be running the show at the paper.

His sales staff would be on the phone, looking for the next she-male or foot-fetish party that wanted to keep paying the bills for the New York Press. He'd be on the lookout for the most offensive, disgusting, despicable piece of trash he could find to print, and life at the paper would be going on as usual.

But he wasn't satisfied with the list and Page One. He had to push his Catholic-bashing to the limit, and he found it.

You can e-mail Steve and keep up with his appearances at www.malzbergtalk.com. Please sign up for Steve's e-mail alerts at www.newsmax.com/malzberg

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Rohland tells the New York Post that he instructed Koyan not to do a parody cover of the Post, which Koyan wanted to run next to his editor's column. He did it anyway. Not too smart if you want to keep your job. But maybe Koyan felt that it was worth the risk. After...
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Tuesday, 08 March 2005 12:00 AM
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