Monday, April 18, 2005

Media Bias on Election of New Pope

From the Media Research Center, a rather typical account of mainstream media bias on the issue of who will be the next Pope:
The night before the Catholic Cardinals were to begin their conclave to choose a new Pope, the U.S. broadcast network evening newscasts painted the role of women as the most important issue and gave a platform to left-wing church activist Joan Chittister. “The future of the church is now in the hands of 115 men. Some Catholic women find that offensive,” ABC’s David Wright asserted Sunday night in leading into a Chittister soundbite. Wright proceeded to showcase a woman upset that her unborn daughter cannot become a priest, before concluding: “Men and women may be equal in the eyes of God, but many Catholics say in the eyes of the church, there’s still a long way to go.” Wright gave a soundbite to a church defender, but not CBS’s John Roberts who sandwiched two denunciation from Chittister around touting how “a new CBS News poll finds the majority of Catholics think the next Pope should admit women into the priesthood, let priests marry, and allow birth control.” Plus, “52 percent of American Catholics think the church is out of touch.”
The mainstream media, of course, has a particular perspective on this issue. Its members, as Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman have shown, are liberal and highly secular. They don’t look at the Catholic Church through the eyes of faith, they look at it in terms of their secular ideology.

And their secular ideology is not only miles out of tune with the worldview of believers in the United States, it’s even more at odds with the way believers in Africa and Latin America see the world. Nothing would be more self-destructive than a Church intent on placating the latte sipping, Volvo driving folks who determine who gets on the evening news.

Likewise, polls showing “what American Catholics want” aggregate both devout believers and nominal Catholics who may show up at mass on Easter. If diluting or changing the doctrines of the Church would draw some of those nominal Catholics closer, the strategy might be tempting. But all the evidence shows that it doesn’t work that way.

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