Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.
Dave Pierre is one of the country's leading observers of the media's coverage of the Catholic Church abuse narrative. Dave is the author of two critically acclaimed books, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church and Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories.
Readers have cited Dave's work as "essential reading" and "a must-read."
Dave is the creator and author of TheMediaReport.com (www.TheMediaReport.com) and is a longtime contributing writer to NewsBusters.org (www.NewsBusters.org), the popular media-bias blog of the Media Research Center.
Dave has been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) as well as by other radio outlets and newspapers for his work. He has also contributed to print publications.
Dave is a graduate of Boston College and lives with his wife and family in Massachusetts.
Latest from Dave Pierre
Media outlets have uncritically trumpeted a story that claims a 1997 letter is a "smoking gun" that proves that Vatican officials warned Irish bishops not to report child abuse to civil authorities.
In fact, as a cursory look at the letter reveals, it shows no such thing. This "smoking gun" story exhibits all the hallmarks of just another hit job by the media, so-called victims advocates, and dishonest lawyers seeking to portray the Catholic Church in the worst light possible.
In a stunning ten-page declaration recently submitted to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, veteran attorney Donald H. Steier stated that his investigations into claims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests have uncovered vast fraud and that his probes have revealed that many accusations are completely false.
Counselor Steier has played a role in over one hundred investigations involving Catholic clergy in Los Angeles.
Here are two stories from this past week:
1. "A [newly released] General Accountability Office (GAO) investigation has found that people with histories of sexual misconduct are still getting hired by school systems across the [United States] ... The biggest problem may be 'passing the trash.' These were cases GAO found in which school systems just let suspected sexual offenders resign, and even wrote them glowing letters of recommendation, so they could find teaching jobs elsewhere."
2. "The Dublin (Ireland) Archdiocese should have taken action years earlier against Tony Walsh, probably the most notorious child sexual abuser among its priests, according to [a] commission investigating clerical child sex allegations in the archdiocese." The Church laicized Walsh (removed him as a priest) in 1995.
[HT: Thomas Peters, American Papist at CatholicVote.org] Following a debate the other night with Maggie Gallagher on the topic of gay "marriage," pundit Andrew Sullivan has been cited for airing a number of falsehoods and lies about the Catholic Church and Pope Benedict.
1. The most egregious and malicious falsehood in the debate from the openly gay Sullivan was his claim that Pope Benedict, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, opined in 1986 that homosexuals "deserve violence" given their "desire to change society."
In fact, in his 1986 letter "On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons," then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the complete opposite of what Sullivan claims:
The media is practically falling over themselves with a report, propagated in part by the flimsy Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press, that Pope Benedict XVI has "justified" the use of condoms. (See this enormous (and misleading) headline at HuffPo, for example.) But is it true? In a word, no. Nowhere in his remarks does the Pope talk about "justifying" anything.
Rev. Joseph Fessio is the editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press, which is publishing the interview book Light of the World, from which the Pope's notable remarks are gleaned. Fr. Fessio is quoted in the New York Times, "It would be wrong to say, 'Pope Approves Condoms.' He's saying it's immoral, but in an individual case the use of a condom could be an awakening to someone that he's got to be more conscious of his actions."
Dr. Janet E. Smith at Catholic World Report has an excellent explanation of the Pope's remarks. She also provides the actual interview exchange from the upcoming book.
- "Pope orders sex abuse summit" (Boston Globe)
- "Pope to Hold Sex-Abuse Summit" (Wall Street Journal)
- "Italy: Cardinals to Ponder Response by Church to Sexual Abuse Cases" (New York Times)
- "Pope summons cardinals over abuse: Vatican" (AFP)
- "Cardinals to address sex abuse" (UPI)
- "Pope calls meeting of cardinals on sex abuse" (Washington Post)
From what is presented, one would guess that Pope Benedict XVI called Cardinals and said, "Hey, let's get together and discuss the sex abuse scandals."
The problem: It didn't happen.
The Associated Press' Nicole Winfield is at it again with erroneous and slanted reporting of the Catholic Church. In an article about Pope Benedict XVI's dedication of a basilica in Spain this weekend (Sun. 11/7/10), Winfield writes:
As [the Pope] headed to the basilica, about 200 gays and lesbians staged a 'kiss-in' to protest his visit and church policies that consider homosexual acts 'intrinsically disordered.' Later, a few hundred women marched to protest their second-class status in the church and the Vatican's opposition to birth control.
First: Winfield tells us that "some 250,000" supporters attended the dedication. If there were 200 gay demonstrators, that would represent 0.08% (or 8/10,000ths) of all who were in attendance. At most, this minuscule "kiss-in" merits a passing mention. Yet with the article's headline, "Pope defends family as Spanish gays hold 'kiss-in'," the AP practically gives the gays equal billing.
In the past eight days, ABC News has filed two shocking stories about "a serious epidemic" of sexual abuse and rape of children in Kenya. Not only did the network report that "over 1,000 teachers have been fired for sexually abusing girls over the last two years," but it also relayed systemic cover-ups, police corruption, and perpetrator interference.
And while the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe have frantically and endlessly trumpeted decades-old abuse allegations in the Catholic Church from anywhere in the world, neither paper has found a single square inch to dedicate to these sickening new revelations.
This Halloween, millions of Americans will dress up in costumes and pretend to be celebrities or other important figures. Most journalists won't take serious note of this. Yet recently a few women have slipped into some vestments and claimed that they're "women Catholic priests," and writers at Time magazine think there is some sober journalism to pursue.
For the second time in two weeks, Time has published an article trumpeting women who are pretending to be genuine Catholic priests. As we noted last week, Dawn Reiss was the culprit in a flimsy piece. Now the bleary-eyed Tim Padgett is in on the act.
Yet according to a truly warped article by Dawn Reiss in Time magazine (9/25/10), it's already happened. In fact, "three women have entered the priesthood" in the Chicago area alone, says Reiss.
Is this true? Is Alta Jacko (rhymes with "wacko"), "the mother of eight children" whom Reiss profiles, really "an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church"? No. Jacko is as much a Catholic priest as she is the Vice President of the United States.
But Weiss' falsehoods don't end there.
Check out the following headlines in the British press about the arrest of six men who may have been planning to kill the Pope during his visit to England:
- "Muslim Plot to Kill Pope" (Daily Express)
- "Pope visit: Five suspected Islamist terrorists arrested over assassination plot" (Telegraph)
- "Police question six street cleaners held over plot to attack the Pope" (Daily Mail) (2nd paragraph: "Armed officers detained the men, all believed to be Muslims of North African origin, as they prepared to go on shift at a cleaning depot in Central London.")
Yet in neither of two separate articles by the Associated Press (Nicole Winfield and David Stringer/Victor L. Simpson) do the writers mention a possible extremist Muslim/Islamic connection. The writers simply identified the suspects as "London street cleaners."
It can't be any clearer: The ordination of women in the Catholic Church is not going to happen. Ever.
This is not a case of Pope Benedict XVI being "inflexible," as NBC's Today show erroneously claimed this morning (9/16/10) in reporting on the Holy Father's high-profile trip to England. NBC needs to know that this is not a case of "waiting it out" until another Pope comes along and "changes policy." The issue will never be "up for a vote."
Leave it to the web site The Daily Beast to publish a lie-filled attack on the Catholic Church the day before Christmas. The author of the hate-filled piece is James Carroll, one of the country's foremost haters of the Catholic Church. He an anti-Catholic zealot. Period. (Is it any surprise that he also writes for the Boston Globe?)
Carroll's piece takes issue with Pope Benedict's decision earlier this week to declare World War II-era Pope Pius XII "venerable." In the Catholic Church, this declaration is a step toward sainthood.
In a bleary-eyed opinion article in the Sunday Boston Globe (11/8/09), Harvard divinity professor Harvey Cox denounces religious "fundamentalism." In doing so, he places mass-murdering Muslims from the Middle East on the same playing field as conservative Christians from the United States. From Cox's article:
As the 20th century ended and a new one began, fundamentalism has taken on more formidable shapes, both politically and religiously. Though most of its adherents work through spiritual and educational channels, the small minority that turn to violence have caught the media’s attention. If some seem ready to die for faith, others are ready to kill for it, gunning down abortion doctors in church, hijacking planes, and exploding bombs at weddings. For plenty of thoughtful people, fundamentalism has come to represent the most dangerous threat to open societies since the fall of communism.
The New York Times's Maureen Dowd spent some time in Catholic school as a youth, but judging from her latest rant/column, she didn't learn too much about actual Catholicism.
Dowd's anti-Catholic screed reveals that of someone who knows almost nothing about the Catholic faith. She also deceives her readers about a number of topics, including a 2004 letter issued by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI.
The Los Angeles Times has joyfully discovered a way to keep the clergy misdeeds of the Catholic Church forever in the minds of its readers and the public: the obituary page.
Take a look at the obituary of former bishop G. Patrick Ziemann. At over 900 words, it's not so much an obituary as it is a gleeful relishing by Duke Helfand and the Times over the sins of a Catholic authority.
In a recent news article (Fri. 10/23/09) and a pea-brained editorial (Sat. 10/24/09) regarding Anglicans joining the Catholic Church, the Los Angeles Times again displays its utter ignorance of the Catholic faith.
The Times' editorial is yet another weak attempt to air the paper's position that homosexual acts and women priests should be fully embraced by the Catholic Church.
(HT: Catholic League.)
Consider the following two stories. Pay attention. There will be a quiz.
1. The Obama administration has appointed Kevin Jennings as a "czar" inside the Department of Education. In addition to being the founder of a group called the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Jennings once wrote a foreword to a book called Queering Elementary Education. In that foreword, he wrote, "We must address antigay bigotry ... as soon as students start going to school." In addition, Jennings has admitted that, 21 years ago as a 24-year-old teacher at Concord Academy, he advised a gay student sophomore*, "I hope you knew to use a condom," after the student confided he went home with a guy he had met the night before in a Boston restroom. Jennings has since admitted, "I can see how I should have handled the situation differently." Other controversial episodes have been attributed to Jennings.
In an October 16, 2009, article in the Boston Globe, staffer Andrea Estes makes the eye-opening assertion that the economy in Massachusetts is "generally improving." Facts and reality suggest otherwise. Consider:
- In 2009 alone, unemployment in Massachusetts has swelled from 7.4% (Jan. 2009) to 9.3% (Sept. 2009).
- "[L]ocal aid to cities and towns [is] already down more than $700 million from the level originally approved in the fiscal 2009 budget, which began in July 2008."
- "[T]ax revenues for the first quarter of the fiscal year came in $212 million lower than expected."
- Estes' article begins, "As many as 2,000 state jobs could be eliminated, Governor Deval Patrick warned yesterday, unless unions agree to concessions necessary to help close an estimated $600 million budget shortfall that could trigger spending cuts throughout state government."
When it comes to the awful abuse of children, it sure seems like the Boston Globe doesn't get too worked up unless the words Cardinal, bishop, or priest is in someone's job title.
Over seven years ago, beginning on January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe initiated a relentless, no-stone-unturned investigation into terrible abuse in the Catholic Church. By the time the calendar year 2002 ended, the Globe had published a mind-blowing 989 articles. (That's not a typo. Yes, the paper ran an average of over two-and-a-half articles a day on the scandal in a single year. See for yourself.) And the Globe still takes joy in hammering the Church, even if it means reporting clergy abuse in Ireland.