CNN was late to the standoff between Catholic bishops and the White House over the HHS birth control mandate, and CNN.com's religion section has not exactly been the most balanced in its coverage of the fight. In addition to covering the mixed reactions of Catholics to the standoff, CNN's Belief Blog has now featured two pieces on liberal Catholics criticizing the bishops.
CNN.com's religion editor Dan Gilgoff penned a piece on Wednesday about liberal Catholics openly challenging the U.S. bishops. The article quoted liberals and a Democratic official, and included just a single quote by a spokesperson for the bishops right at the end.
The liberal Catholics from Gilgoff's article smeared the bishops as playing right-wing politics, despite their own support of contraception standing in direct contrast with Church teaching. For instance, the executive director of the liberal Catholics United slammed the bishops as supporting "the interests of a political agenda, not the needs of the American people."
A Democratic official blistered the staff of the bishops as being "far too cozy with right-wing politicians on the Hill to have any real negotiation."
Meanwhile, the Belief Blog's piece on the Catholic bishops' rejection of Obama's "compromise" started off quoting Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. But then the article quoted President Obama, followed in lock step by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards. Both sides were obviously featured in the article, not just "liberal" or "conservative" Catholics.
Perhaps it's telling, then, that CNN.com reports balanced stories on religion -- except when it chooses to feature liberal Catholics openly dissenting on their church's teaching. Then they deserve a podium all to themselves.