On her Monday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell gushed over Cuba's Communist dictator possibly heading "back to Church" and returning to "his Jesuit roots" after a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican: "Cuba's president Raul Castro is praising Pope Francis for helping to thaw relations between U.S. and Cuba....he said that the Pontiff inspired him to consider returning to the Catholic Church."
Several media outlets on Sunday did their best to cast doubt on the legacy of Pope John Paul II as the Catholic Church beatified the late pontiff. NPR highlighted how the pope apparently "alienated many Catholics who began leaving the church in droves." CNN brought on a liberal theologian who claimed that John Paul II "led us backwards rather than forward." NBC played up the "avalanche of claims of sexual abuse by priests" during his papacy.
On Sunday's All Things Considered, Sylvia Poggioli, NPR's Rome-based senior European correspondent, turned to "investigative journalist" Jason Berry midway through her report, who blasted John Paul on his handling of the priestly sex abuse issue: "Someone who was so fearless in his confrontation with the communist empire, I for one do not understand how he could not have engaged in the same fearless introspection about the church internal." More than 3 years earlier, Berry, with the assistance of the Los Angeles Times, falsely claimed in a November 2007 opinion piece that the American bishops "had identified about 4,400 abusive U.S. priests," when that figure is actually the number of priests who faced allegations.
ABC, CBS and NBC ran a combined total of 13 sound bites from victims and victim advocates, who claimed the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, covered up sexual abuse by Father Lawrence Murphy.
They alleged that Murphy abused 200 boys at a school for the deaf in Milwaukee, WI, throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Only NBC's report included a defender of the church: George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Less than a week later on May 21, after outlining on Time’s “Swampland” blog that the semi-official Vatican news has been “calm” and “fairly positive” towards the Democratic president, “in stark contrast to the furious reaction of many conservative Catholics here,” the editor quipped, “Uh, oh. It sounds like the Vatican newspaper ‘doesn’t understand what it means to be Catholic.’” Sullivan, like the rest of the media, was also selective in the articles she chose to emphasize from the newspaper.