Dave Pierre

Contributing writer

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

As we reported a couple days ago, when a veteran middle-school teacher in nearby Santa Monica pleaded guilty last month to "multiple counts of illegal sex acts" and molesting nine young girls, the Los Angeles Times didn't print a single syllable about it in their paper. Not one. The teacher was sentenced to 14 years in state prison. Although the Times had reported the teacher's original arrest and some follow-up last May and June, the story of the teacher's guilty plea and sentencing only made it to the paper's blog.

Now look at the front page of today's Times' 'California' B section (Sat. 1/31/09). Prominently displayed on the top of the page are two color photos related to the sentencing yesterday (1/30/09) of a former Catholic priest.

When a veteran middle-school teacher in nearby Santa Monica pleaded guilty last month to "multiple counts of illegal sex acts" and molesting nine young girls, the Los Angeles Times didn't feel the story warranted their newspaper. Although the Times had reported the teacher's original arrest and some follow-up last May and June, the news of teacher's guilty plea only went as far as the paper's blog.

Last November, a coordinator for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) filed a discrimination lawsuit against his employer. The suit included the astonishing charge that the district assigned a principal to a middle school even though it knew the guy had recently faced a molestation-related investigation. Within months of his new assignment, the principal was arrested and charged with molesting four students. Again, although the paper had reported other episodes of this particular narrative, the Times jettisoned the news of this stunning lawsuit to the paper's blog and never reported it in their actual paper.

Cut to the front page of Thursday's Los Angeles Times (1/29/09). Above the fold, with an accompanying color photo, is the headline, "Mahony investigated over abusive priests."

It could be Christmas approaching, or it could be the Catholic Church's success last month in its support of Proposition 8, the initiative to restore marriage in California. But it's curious to see what's been on the minds of the folks at the Los Angeles Times in the past few weeks:

1. "Pope's new edict on the priesthood" (Mon. Nov. 17, 2008, editorial): The Times finds it "troubling" that the Church employs psychologists to screen candidates for the priesthood. It also goes without saying that the Times does not like the Church's policy of disallowing men with "deep-seated" homosexual tendencies to be priests. In the end, the Times finds the Church's policies "cruel" and "unprofessional."

2. "What would Mary do?" (Sun. Nov. 30, 2008, editorial): Surprise! The Times likes the idea of women priests in the Catholic Church.

A December 7, 2008, wire article by the Associated Press' David Espo claims, "[Former Army chief of staff Gen. Eric] Shinseki was forced into retirement by the Bush administration after he said the original invasion plan for Iraq did not include enough troops." (President-elect Obama recently announced Gen. Shinseki would head the Veterans Affairs Department.)

The truth? No such thing happened. FactCheck.org, among other sources, debunked this myth over four years ago.

On Sunday's episode of "60 Minutes" (11/30/08), Lara Logan profiled Army hero Private Monica Brown, an 18-year-old medic who was awarded the Silver Star. Yet as wonderful as Brown's heroics were, Logan's profile could not shake the impression that it really wanted to get in some cheap shots at the United States military. Here's how Logan opened her piece:

Private Monica Brown is only the second woman to be awarded the Silver Star since the Second World War. She’s an Army medic who risked her own life to save two critically wounded paratroopers of the 82nd airborne division in Afghanistan.

O.K. so far. But then Logan abruptly switched gears:

Under Army regulations, women cannot be assigned to front-line combat units, but in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq today, that’s exactly where they often end up. Some male soldiers aren’t so happy about that, including members of Private Brown’s own unit. But her superior officers say she’s a hero, a hero who earned one of the military’s highest awards for exceptional valor when she was only 18 years old.

That women "cannot be assigned to front-line combat units" is a theme that Logan hammered throughout her piece. The problem? Private Brown was not on a front-line combat mission. As Logan's own story indicated, Brown was a medic in a unit that had been "searching for weapons in a village" when it was ambushed while returning to base. (By the way, Logan identifies those who ambushed our men and woman simply as "hidden enemy fighters.")

Let's see if I got this straight: Hundreds of supporters of gay marriage, opponents of California Proposition 8, have picketed a Mexican restaurant in L.A. and shouted vulgarities at innocent customers just because one employee - a daughter of the owner - gave a modest $100 donation in support of the measure protecting traditional marriage. Opponents of Proposition 8 have threatened and harassed several other businesses - including a radio station, a theatre, and a chain of health food stores - because employees gave money in support of Prop 8. Opponents of Prop 8 have knocked a cross from the hands of an elderly woman and stomped on it during a demonstration in Palm Springs. Suspicious white powder has been sent in an envelope to a Mormon temple in Westwood. (Mormons were big supporters of Prop 8.)

And the supporters of Proposition 8? Well, their measure - which sought to restore the definition of marriage between only a man and a woman - won in a statewide referendum by a 52 to 48 margin. They simply want judges to respect the vote and uphold its result.

So what does the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten have to say about all of this? He says in his November 15 column that "both sides" "are going too far" and "need to cool down."

"Both sides" "need to cool down"? "Both sides"?

[HT: Patterico.] Check out the headline from the November 14, 2008, column by Los Angeles Times "media critic" James Rainey:

Right-wing radio sounds false alarm on 'Fairness Doctrine': Impose a mandate on broadcasters to balance their political views? That would be onerous indeed. But memo to Rush: Nobody's asking for that.

"Nobody's asking for that"? Not quite. As Patterico and Hot Air's Ed Morrissey have pointed out with video testimony, Sen. Chuck Schumer, for one, is quite hip to the idea.

A man who was a special education aide for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) "already accused of videotaping himself molesting teenage girls in his private basketball program," was charged October 17 with "having sexual contact with four more, including one who says he took her to a local hotel room for a weekend of sex" (LA Daily News). "In all, seven girls, most about 15, [have] told police [the man] had talked dirty, fondled or performed sexual acts on them ... [T]he former Birmingham High assistant football coach faces 14 felony and three misdemeanor charges, and more than 30 years in prison if he's convicted, said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Alisanne Scolnik."

Yet one place you won't read about this story is in the Los Angeles Times. Do you think if this man were a Catholic priest, the Times would fail to report these new awful allegations against this guy? Of course not.

NBC's Brian Williams surely made the abortion lobby smile this week when he asked Sarah Palin in an interview, "Is an abortion clinic bomber a terrorist?" There's few things that abortion defenders love more than painting pro-lifers as violent bombers, arsonists, and assassins. But reality paints a different picture. The facts (pdf):

  • There have been zero murders of abortionists and abortion clinic workers in the United States and Canada this decade. The last "attempted murder" was eight years ago, in 2000.
  • There were zero such murders in the United States and Canada between 1973 and 1992.
  • There has been one bombing of an abortion clinic so far this decade.

In an error-ridden op-ed in Friday's Los Angeles Times (10/17/08), Pepperdine law professor Douglas Kmiec makes the outrageous claim that Barack Obama "has held himself out as a bridge builder" on the issue of abortion. Kmiec then advances a fallacious case that a faithful Catholic can vote in clear conscience for Barack Obama.

A "bridge builder" on abortion? Is Kmiec kidding?? Consider:

  • Obama has forcefully vowed that his very first act as President would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA claims a "fundamental right" to abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and no government body at any level would be able to "deny or interfere with" this right. Even the pro-choice NOW readily acknowledges that FOCA would literally "sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies."

  • Obama has a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee and 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.

What's bothering the Los Angeles Times's Rosa Brooks now? She doesn't like how the McCain-Palin ticket has noted that Barack Obama said on the campaign trail that our troops in Afghanistan are "just air-raiding villages and killing civilians." 

Yet Brooks declares that Barack Obama was essentially "correct" when he said this. ("Obama's no troop-hater: Lost in the debate about 'air-raiding villages' is that Obama's correct." (Sun., 10/19/08))

The fervent cheerleading for Barack Obama by the Los Angeles Times continues to roar. We've documented the staunch pro-Obama position at the Times several times before: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here - for starters. Now check out the images from today's front page (Sun. 10/12/08). While a comfortable Barack Obama happily basks in the sun in a bright backdrop of red, white, and blue, a frail-looking John McCain is pictured in the dark with a faint and blurry flag in the distance. Equal coverage? Not even close.

Then there's the accompanying article, "Obama rides a wave of bad economic news." The Times happily cribs from the hackneyed "lifelong Republican-turned-Democrat" playbook:

In the summer of 2001, the liberal organization FAIR published a report about what they perceived to be a conservative bias at Fox News Channel. In "The Most Biased Name in News," FAIR's Seth Ackerman wrote:

Even Fox's "left-right" debate show, Hannity & Colmes--whose Crossfire-style format virtually imposes numerical equality between conservatives and "liberals"--can't shake the impression of resembling a Harlem Globetrotters game ...

Now check this out. Two years later, Al Franken published a bestselling book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. On page 63 (first edition, hardcover), Franken wrote,

For those of you unfamiliar with the Hannity and Colmes dynamic, it's a conservative-versus-liberal talking head show, kind of a combination between Crossfire and a Harlem Globetrotters game.

"Crossfire"? "A Harlem Globetrotters game"? "Conservatives"? "Liberals"? Yikes. Many people would call this plagiarism. And in his 2005 book, Pants on Fire: How Al Franken Lies, Smears, and Deceives, writer Alan Skorski provides compelling evidence that "Franken appears to have plagiarized" several passages of his book from FAIR's 2001 report.

Let's ask again: Where is the national media? The sex abuse scandals at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) continue to grow. Just since May of this year:

  • A high school athletic coach was charged with 12 felony counts of sexually assaulting an underage girl, including "five counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object while the victim was unconscious and one count of possession of child pornography." "[P]olice said they believe there may be other victims." The man was also a special education assistant (link).
  • A former Special Education high school teacher was sentenced to three years in prison after charges of lewd conduct, child molestation, and abuse. The alleged crimes involved four of his "particularly vulnerable" students (additional link).
  • A high school principal was arrested for child pornography on his home computer. Authorities also discovered that he "had posed as a 12-year-old girl in an online chat room and engaged in sexually explicit talk."
  • A high school teacher pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail for having sex with a minor. County deputies found the teacher and the underage female student in the back of a car in a parking lot.

Imagine if Barack or Michelle Obama's e-mail had been hacked. Would the reaction from the folks at the Los Angeles Times be so muted? If an Obama were the victim, it's easy to picture Times editor Tim Rutten penning a hissy-fit op-ed, angrily demanding a federal investigation, and trying to formulate how the McCain campaign was directly involved.

The Times relegated the story of Palin's e-mail account being hacked to the "National Briefing" section, buried in the middle of page A16, with a puny 85 words, in Thursday's paper (9/18/08). (See the image of the story.)

The New York Times? The story didn't even make it to the actual paper; it only went as far as their blog.

The bias on this one pretty much speaks for itself. In yesterday's Los Angeles Times (Fri. 9/5/08), following the last day of the RNC, the paper published article with the title, "Before Palin, Republicans Had Quayle" (click to see the image). Big hat tip to Patterico, who asked, "Could the L.A. Times’s desperation be any more obvious?"

The was also a great comment at Patterico from an andycanuck:

Coming soon, I’m sure, “Before Barrack Obama, the DNC had Jimmy Carter.” No, eh? That’s surprising.

Looking at how the Los Angeles Times covered day two of the Democratic convention versus day two of the Republican convention:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008, following day two of the DNC: The headline is "Clinton calls on her party to end her rift" (click to see the image). A large, full-color Convention photo of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton graces the top of the front page. Inside: Five pages of coverage with 15 more photos (11 color, 4 b&w)

The pro-Obama and pro-Democratic bias at the Los Angeles Times has been very well documented here at NewsBusters. (See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here - for starters.) Here's some more. Look at how the Times covered day one of the Democratic convention versus day one of the Republican convention:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008, following day one of the DNC: The headline is "Obama is cast as an everyman: His wife portrays him as a symbol of America's promise; a Senate lion calls him a leader for a new era" (click to see the image). A flattering, full-color, 36-square-inch photo of Michelle Obama and her children graces the top of the front page. Inside: Three pages of coverage with five more photos (4 color, 1 b&w), including a huge 79-square-inch, full-color photo taken during Ted Kennedy's address.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008, following day one of the RNC: The top-of-the-page headline is "GOP wasn't expecting this challenge: McCain's campaign is shaken up by the announcement that his running mate's teen daughter is pregnant" (click to see the image). A small color photo of Bristol Palin and Trig Palin accompanies the article. Inside: Two-and-half pages of coverage with four black-and-white photos (0 color), including one of Barack Obama (!). The largest photo features a St. Paul police officer standing by protesters.

Yikes. The only thing missing from Steve Kroft's interview with Barack Obama and Joe Biden on CBS's 60 Minutes (Sun. 8/31/08) was an "Obama/Biden '08" button on Kroft's lapel. As NB's Brent Baker has already noted, Kroft teed one up for Obama by presuming Sarah Palin had "less experience" than he did. But take a look at some of the softball questions Kroft lobbed at Obama and Biden:

  • (To Obama backstage at the Convention last week:) "Did you ever doubt it (your nomination) was going to happen?"
  • (To Biden backstage at the Convention:) "Were you surprised to be up there (on stage with Obama)?"

  • The sit-down:
  • (To Obama:) "What do you think of Sen. McCain's vice presidential choice?"
  • (To Obama:) "Does the fact that he (McCain) chose as his vice president someone who has less experience than you take away that weapon out of his arsenal?"
  • (To Biden:) "Have you two talked, have you spoken specifically, about what your role would be in an Obama administration?" (Obama jumped in to answer, and Kroft didn't stop him!)
  • (To Biden:) "What's your role in the campaign? Can you make a difference in this race? And how do you do that?"

Blistering, eh? But there's more:

(Via The O'Reilly Factor on FNC) On his show last night (Fri. 8/29/08), Bill O'Reilly called it, "One of the most outrageous things I've ever seen in my 35 years of journalism."

During coverage of Sarah Palin accepting to be John McCain's running mate, MSNBC ran a graphic. Under the banner of "BREAKING NEWS," MSNBC put on the screen, "How many houses does Palin add to the Republican ticket?" Outrageous, indeed.

Add this episode to the mountains of evidence illustrating the pro-Obama bias at MSNBC.