Jeff Anderson, a lawyer that has filed over 1,500 lawsuits against the Catholic Church, got a free 1,400-word advertisement in the Washington Post April 19. The supposedly non-opinion article was titled "Jeff Anderson, jousting with the Vatican from a small law office in St. Paul." The reporter, Peter Slevin, cast the Catholic Church as the big, bad wolf and Jeff Anderson - the "Vatican's chief American pursuer" - as the ordinary hero taking it down.
"[Anderson uses] manic energy to challenge one of the most powerful and secretive institutions in the world, a 2,000-year-old church with hundreds of millions of devoted followers," the article read. "He gets his balance from Zen Buddhism, his persistence from the reporters that felled Richard Nixon and his inspiration from the sexually abused clients who trust him to make the Roman Catholic Church pay for the sins of its fathers."
The glowing profile quoted Anderson nine times and his "longtime friend" Mike Finnegan twice. Opponents to Anderson's work were only given four sentences - three of which were nothing but one-word epithets strung together and the fourth a partial quote sandwiched between two quotes of Anderson defending himself.
Pirro is a former Westchester County, N.Y., district attorney and judge who now hosts the TV program, "Judge Jeanine Pirro." She also appears on network and cable news programs as a legal analyst.
First, she stacked the deck. Pirro hosted a panel discussion about the recent allegations that Pope Benedict XVI failed to act when confronted with evidence about priests sexually abusing children. Of the three panelists, only Catholic League president Bill Donohue defended the church. The other participants included Kevin Cullen, a Boston Globe reporter who was part of the investigative team that broke the 2002 story of the Boston diocese covering up sexual abuse and Jeffery Anderson, an attorney who has filed thousands of suits against the church since 1983.
Pirro told Anderson he was "right" in one instance, and then proceeded to call one of Donohue's argument's "hogwash," despite the fact that The New York Times backed up the claim that Benedict, as a cardinal, did not know that a priest in Germany accused of sexual abuse was transferred and allowed to serve in another parish.