CBS Celebrates 'Very Powerful,' 'Fantastic' Liberal Reporter Movie

Wednesday's CBS This Morning raved over the new movie Spotlight, which touts the work of the investigative reporters at the liberal Boston Globe who chronicled the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston. Gayle King gushed, "Gosh, that movie was so good." She later labeled the movie "very powerful." Fill-in anchor Kristen Johnson asserted that the new release was "such a fantastic movie." [video below]

The morning newscast brought on left-wing actor Mark Ruffalo and the Boston Globe correspondent he played in the movie, Mike Rezendes. Johnson set up Rezendes to praise the movie, along with his profession: "When you saw the movie, were you pleased with how real it was?" The guest replied, "Yeah. I think the movie is incredibly authentic....I love the message that it gives about investigative reporting. I love the message it gives about clergy sex abuse."

Anchor Charlie Rose followed up by underlining that "there are two stories here. One is a story of reporting; two is a story about something like this could go on for so long." Rezendes returned to praising the movie: "I like the movie, because it keeps public attention focused on this issue, which is still really important." Rose asked him to clarify: "Meaning that the Church has not done anything, or hasn't done enough?" The journalist responded, "I think the Church has...taken several meaningful steps. I think most victims/survivors will tell you that the Church has not done enough."

King then prompted Ruffalo to give his take on the issue, as she continued her praise for the motion picture. The left-wing actor included his inaccurate summary of Catholic theology on the priesthood:

GAYLE KING: It was so powerful. There's a line in the movie with one of the survivors, who says — you know, 'How do you say no to God?' What these priests meant to us and meant to our families. Mark, could you talk about that for a minute — about how powerful it was, and the effect that it had on these families?

MARK RUFFALO, ACTOR, "SPOTLIGHT:" Yeah. I mean, what — what — coming from a Catholic background, what you have to remember is that a priest is literally the direct lineage from God to the community. And so, nobody expects there to be a predator there. Nobody expects there to be, like, a direct, active evil. And — and that's probably one of the more horrific aspects of the story, because you're destroying — and we talked about it in the movie — you're destroying someone's faith. And—

ROSE: Because they think it's coming from God almost?

RUFFALO: Of course! It's a direct manifestation of God. If you're a Catholic, the priest is a direct manifestation of God. They're sacrosanct. There's almost — they're infallible.

Near the end of the segment, the Obama-supporting TV personality asked Rezendes, "Did it change, Mike, how you felt about your religion, when you were reporting the story — working on it?" The journalist answered, "Yeah. Even though I was a lapsed Catholic at the time, I still considered myself a Catholic. I still identified Catholic. And it did change how I felt about the Church — no question about it." King and Johnson ended the segment with their "very powerful" and "fantastic" superlatives about the movie.

This isn't the first time that journalists have fawned over Spotlight. Back in November 2015, Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday sang the film's praises, and revealed that "for journalists, watching Spotlight's meticulous portrayal of their vocation is a surpassingly gratifying experience, one that former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon, at the film's local premiere in September, only half-facetiously compared to watching porn."

The transcript of the relevant portions of the Mark Ruffalo/Mike Rezendes segment of the December 2, 2015 edition of CBS This Morning:

GAYLE KING: (clip from the movie Spotlight) Gosh, that movie was so good. Two-time Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo plays Mike Rezendes, who is also with us at the table. Rezendes and the Boston Globe's 'Spotlight' investigative team won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage.

(...)

[CBS News Graphic: "In The Spotlight: Ruffalo & Rezendes On New Film And Church Abuse"]

KRISTINE JOHNSON: You lived through this yourself.

MICHAEL REZENDES, BOSTON GLOBE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Yes.

JOHNSON: So you have a firsthand account. When you saw the movie, were you pleased with how real it was?

REZENDES: Yeah. I think the movie is incredibly authentic, and I think it captures the substance and spirit of what we did just incredibly well. So, I'm very pleased with it. I love the message that it gives about investigative reporting. I love the message it gives about clergy sex abuse.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah — exactly. I was going to say that — I mean, there are two stories here. One is a story of reporting; two is a story about something like this could go on for so long.

KING: Yes—

REZENDES: Absolutely right; absolutely right. And I like the movie, because it keeps public attention focused on this issue, which is still really important.

KING: What I'd like, Mark—

ROSE: Meaning that the Church has not done anything, or hasn't done enough?

REZENDES: Well, I think the Church has done — taken several meaningful steps. I think most victims/survivors will tell you that the Church has not done enough — that there's more to be done — absolutely.

ROSE: And to appreciate what — what — the hurt and the damage that's been done to individuals?

REZENDES: That's right; that's right.

KING: It was so powerful. There's a line in the movie with one of the survivors, who says — you know, 'How do you say no to God?' What these priests meant to us and meant to our families. Mark, could you talk about that for a minute — about how powerful it was, and the effect that it had on these families?

MARK RUFFALO, ACTOR, "SPOTLIGHT:" Yeah. I mean, what — what — coming from a Catholic background, what — what you have to remember is that a priest is literally the direct — the direct lineage from — from God to the community. And so, nobody expects there to be a predator there. Nobody expects there to be, like, a direct, active evil. And — and that's probably one of the more horrific aspects of the story, because you're destroying — and we talked about it in the movie — you're destroying someone's faith. And—

[CBS News Graphic: "'When you're a poor kid from a poor family and when a priest pays attention to you, it's a big deal. How do you say no to God?' -Survivor Phil Saviano in Spotlight movie"]

ROSE: Because they think it's coming from God almost?

RUFFALO: Of course! It's— it's a direct manifestation of God. If you're — if you're a Catholic, the priest is a direct manifestation of God. They're — they're sacrosanct. There's almost — they're infallible.

JOHNSON: And some of these victims weren't coming from affluent communities—

KING: Yes—

JOHNSON: So, for somebody to pay attention to them like that — of course, they're drawn into it.

RUFFALO: These guys were predators. They waited — they looked on the margins. They were — they were like a wolf waiting for a lame sheep. They — they looked for children who — who didn't have father figures; who — who were vulnerable; who they knew would not speak out. The reason that it's boys that are predominantly the ones who are molested is not because it's a preference for boys; but because boys are the easily — most easily victimized. They don't speak out. They're — they're ashamed. And that's why these guys — but these guys are predators, and they fit an M.O. There's — they were predators.

KING: Did it change, Mike, how you felt about your religion, when you were reporting the story — working on it?

REZENDES: Yeah. Even though I was a lapsed Catholic at the time, I still considered myself a Catholic. I still identified Catholic. And it did change how I felt about the Church — no question about it — just the — the wall of secrecy, and the lies about these terrible things that had taken place. It did affect me, of course.

JOHNSON: Mark Ruffalo, Mike Rezendes, I wish we had more time—

KING: Very powerful movie—

RUFFALO: Oh, yeah—

JOHNSON: This was such a fantastic movie.

Culture/Society Labeling Liberals & Democrats Religion Christianity Catholic Church CBS CBS This Morning Major Newspapers Boston Globe Video Gayle King Charlie Rose
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