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.
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."
Two major wire services- AP and Reuters- cherry picked excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical (a teaching document of the Catholic Church) on Tuesday to support left-wing economic and political positions, and all but ignored the pontiff’s traditional stances on the family, bioethics, and the environment. The AP also went so far to bring up “the state of the Vatican’s own [financial] books.”
Both Philip Pullella, who regularly writes about the Pope and the Vatican for Reuters, and the AP’s Nicole Winfield zeroed in on paragraph 67 of the encyclical, which is titled “Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” which was released was signed by the Bishop of Rome on June 29, and released on Tuesday. In this paragraph, to use Pullella’s lede, “Pope Benedict…called for a ‘world political authority’ to manage the global economy.” Winfield put it this way near the beginning of her article: “In the third encyclical of his pontificate, Benedict pressed for reform of the United Nations and international economic and financial institutions to give poorer countries more of a say in international policy.”
While Pope Benedict did call for a “world political authority” and a “reform of the United Nations,” both authors (not to mention spectators on the left and the right) missed the context of this call. Later in his article, Pullella speculated that “the pope appeared to back government intervention ‘in correcting errors and malfunctions’ in the economy, saying ‘one could foresee an increase in the new forms of political participation, nationally and internationally.’” But this “government intervention” would not go so far to the level of a micromanaging/centrally-planning regime, if one goes by the pontiff’s own words in the encyclical.