Skip to comments.Media Had Agenda in Papal Coverage
Posted on 04/29/2005 5:22:58 PM PDT by wagglebee
As the church's period of mourning for Pope John Paul II comes to a close and the election of a successor is complete, media analysts can begin to get a full picture of how this historic and influential papacy was covered.
The late Pope John Paul II received positive, praise-filled media coverage after his death, according to the Media Research Center. While he led the church, however, the slant of news coverage varied depending on the issue in question.
While one of the most widely reported of Pope John Paul II's accomplishments for the past three weeks has been his influence in the defeat of communism, the Media Research study found that the press made comparisons between his papacy and the Communist Party on more than one occasion beginning in the late 1980s.
"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.
In other news, ABCNNBCBS has learned that Ursoids defacate in forested regions.
I think I've got a new tagline: "Do Ursoids defacate in proximity to coniferous vegetation?"
Media agenda? Oh never never....
Don't even bother with these small insignificant nitpickers. The passage of time always weeds out the great from the rest. The numbers attending his viewing and funeral are testamount to his greatness. Because John Paul II was loved, he will endure and outshine every single leader of this era.
I believe that a century from now history books will say that John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were the only world leaders with the courage and vision to stand up to communist tyranny and show the resolve to be victorious.
I found it hilarious listening to the braindead pinheads in the MSM when they were whining about the cardinals electing "another Catholic" as Pope. Who did they think was going to be selected? A Liberal journalist?
I was hugely amused by a pinhead ABC News reporter on the occasion of Pope Benedict XVI's first Mass. He (the reporter) mentioned that the music playing in the background was Bach's Toccata and Fugue (he left out the D minor part) and then stated that as a German, "Cardinal Ratzinger" (uuuhhh...he's not a cardinal any more) favored Mozart. This reporter then went on to state that he did not know if Bach was German. Wish I could remember this dude's name.
I think he went to the Katie Couric Skule of Broadcasting.
That's pretty much being said right now. However, Gorbachev must also be given much credit too. If one of the old-guard communists had been in power, the fall of communism may not have been bloodless. Reagan wrongly has the reputation of a warmonger. Nothing could be farther than the truth. The victory of the West in the Cold War was a true conservative victory, proving that patience, peace, and the strength of our ideas will eventually win out. The contrast with today couldn't be more stark.