AOL News contributor Paul Wachter launched an inflammatory attack on Pope Benedict XVI in a Thursday post where he also defended recently-fired CNN editor Octavia Nasr for her eulogy of Hezbollah's spiritual leader. After hinting that the network "overreacted," Wachter suggested that CNN should also fire "anyone who speaks highly of the pope, who...has contributed to the deaths of millions from AIDS."
Wachter began his commentary, "Octavia Nasr Firing: Should CNN Also Ax Anyone Who Praises the Pope?," by recounting the former Middle Eastern affairs editor's Tweet where she expressed how she was "sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." He then echoed Nasr's own synopsis of the Hezbollah spiritual leader: "Fadlallah left a complex legacy. He was staunchly anti-Zionist, a defender of suicide bombings and approved of the suicide attacks on American barracks in Beirut during the United States' ill-fated intervention in Lebanon during the country's civil war. But he also championed women's rights under Islam and spoke out against honor killings."
The writer, who also contributes to left-leaning publication such as New York Time Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Nation, then launched his attack on the Pope, and lumped in Jerry Fallwell, for good measure, at the end:
An argument can be made that CNN has overreacted here, but if Nasr must go, is it too much to ask that the network at least be consistent going forward? Should it, for instance, also fire anyone who speaks highly of the pope, who covered up the clerical rape of young boys and whose anti-contraception proselytization has contributed to the deaths of millions from AIDS? Or anyone at the network who had a kind word for Jerry Fallwell, who said the United States was getting its just deserts with the 9/11 attacks and that the anti-Christ was among us, disguised as a Jewish man?
So Wachter believes it's a matter of established fact that the pontiff "covered up the clerical rape of young boys"? That's not surprising, given the secular anti-Catholic company he keeps.
As for the wild accusation that Benedict contributed to the deaths of millions from AIDS, it was CNN itself that came out on Wachter's side last year after the Pope stated that condoms "increases the problem" of AIDS during his first trip to Africa. Correspondent Zain Verjee couldn't seem to find any health "experts" who agreed with the Catholic leader during a March 17, 2009 report. CNN commentator Jack Cafferty condemned the pontiff's remarks a day later, concluding that "it is past time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century, or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th century." All of this came despite the fact that Dr. Edward Green of Harvard's AIDS Prevention Research Project cited how the "the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."
In any case, there's little risk of Wachter's hypothetical situation of a CNN employee praising the Pope happening any time soon, given the network's slanted coverage of the priest sex abuse scandal so far during 2010.