Bias, Bias Everywhere as Media Ponder Pontiff

There is just no way one person can cover the amount of media bias being heaped into the coverage of Pope Benedict's visit to America.  With gracious acknowledgement to my colleagues at NewsBusters and TimesWatch, here's a look at how the mainstream media have put the liberal secular spin on the pontiff's trip over the past three days.

Sunday, April 13:

    The New York Times headline read “Hard-Liner with Soft Touch Reaches out to U.S. Flock.”  Clay Waters noted that the Times condescendingly suggested that while the Pope has some admirable qualities, his reputation for “doctrinal hardness” is hard to digest.  ABC's World News Sunday anchor Dan Harris also used the “hard-liner” label and said the Pope was “sometimes controversial.”  MRC's Brad Wilmouth noted that Harris said the pontiff had a “tin ear” because a 2006 speech he made in which he quoted a historical figure who labeled Islam “evil.” 

Monday, April 14:

    The “hard-liner” chorus continued with CBS's Early ShowKyle Drennen documented that both anchor Harry Smith and reporter Allen Pizzey labeled the theologically conservative Pope as a “hardliner.”  Pizzey also called the Pope “God's Rottweiler.”  Following the Pizzey segment anchor Julie Chen brought in a left-wing priest to comment on the Pope's visit.  Dan Harris, back on ABC World News with Charles Gibson, used the liberals' call for women priests to show why “just over 60 percent of U.S. Catholics think the Church is out of touch.” He interviewed a woman from a “liberal church” in Berkeley, California who likened the Pope's stand against the ordination of women to making her a “second class citizen” and telling her she should “stay home and be barefoot and pregnant.”

Tuesday, April 15:

    The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein, in her article “A Back-to-Basics Messenger,” wrote, “Obscure theology aside, it's possible the pope will let loose a zinger like the few that have brought his generally dull persona into the limelight. Greatest hits include a 2006 lecture quoting a source calling Muhammad inhuman (which led to riots in the Muslim world and the killing of a nun), a document last year in which he said other Christian churches are "defective" and his decision last month to personally baptize a famous Italian Muslim journalist on Easter.”  Good Morning America's Chris Cuomo used the “hard-line” label not once but twice.  Scott Whitlock noted that Cuomo was sure to include the “Nazi” background of the Pope and to say that he has to balance “placating conservative followers and giving hope to liberals who seek social reform.”  Over on CBS it was all about fear.  Kyle Drennen again noted Early Show's Harry Smith's concern about the American people's reaction to Pope Benedict.  Smith asked Cardinal Francis George of Chicago to explain the difference between the private man and the “public Pope that some Americans are maybe even a little unsure or fearful of.” 

It bears mentioning that all of this coverage –and bias – came before Pope Benedict even set foot on American soil or uttered one word of the reported 11 speeches he will deliver over the course of his stay in the United States.  Stay tuned for bias once the Pope actually speaks.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.