Media v Evangelicals 2019 midyear update

Last year I wrote a dozen posts to report on the assaults by mass media on Evangelical Christians. I cited the many hatchet-job articles and a representative handful (out of many dozens) of editorials from mass media to document their collective attempt to suppress Trump voters and boost Democrat prospects in the 2018 midterm elections. Things quieted down after Christmas, but then heated up over abortion when a number of red states were working on bills to restrict abortion. The focus stayed on Culture of Death issues all spring, with a few occasional bursts of Catholic-bashing thrown in.

But now I see signs of a renewed energy in media attacks on Evangelicals. This looks like the ramp-up to 2020 campaigning. I am not alleging any conspiracy. All I am pointing out is that journalists as a group hate President Trump and hate the voters who put him in office. Since they are overwhelmingly irreligious, they neither understand nor wish to understand the concerns of Christians.

Journalists have latched on to the statistics about the overwhelming support from Evangelical Christians who form the core of President Trump’s voters. In particular, media accounts like to cite the statistics about white Evangelical support, as they set up a ‘people-of-color v whites’ meme going into the campaigns. Evidently they feel that they own non-Christian white women and have given up on white men entirely (except for gays and the Leftist elite white men who work in media or academia or Democrat politics).

Although Evangelicals have considered mass media to be hostile ever since the rise of Jerry Falwell Sr. and the Moral Majority in the Reagan era, the hostility expressed towards Evangelicals by mass media has only grown in the decades since then, and became an uproar after the election in November of 2016. Since it is old news now, the energy behind mass media attacks on traditionalist Christians is reduced, but it will resume its previous intensity as the 2020 election approaches.

The thrust of most of the coverage I have seen in the first half of 2019 was a trickle of articles either by or focused on theological liberals. These are Christians who have “emerged” beyond the Bible, and in many cases have “emerged” beyond Jesus. They still claim to be Christians, but that is a dishonest label for these heretics. Mass media love them because they complain bitterly about how traditionalist Christians have “tossed morality aside in their rush to embrace President Trump.” It seems to me that the main emphasis in these articles is to cause weak-minded Christians to fall away from support of President Trump.

Now, to recent activity:

Polling

In March, Pew Forum printed an article with new sifting of polling results. Their article was titled “Evangelical approval of Trump remains high, but other religious groups are less supportive.” Several articles and editorials were published that cited this poll. What the poll asked is “Do you approve of the way President Trump is handling his presidency?” Then they made a big deal out of the fact that the highest support for President Trump is among white Evangelicals.

Well now, when it comes to that, I might say I disapprove of the way President Trump is handling some aspects of his presidency, even though I enthusiastically approve of President Trump’s nominees, policy moves, and foreign relations. If you asked me right after some particularly cringeworthy tweet from the President, I might give you a negative answer. Especially I would think it is probably my duty to give a false answer to pollsters, just as a matter of principle. So I don’t think Pew’s finding is particularly meaningful, though I don’t doubt the finding.

At any rate, this became background for more recent ramping up of anti-Trump-voter media shenanigans.

Buttigieg

In April, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend Indiana formally announced his candidacy for president in 2020. He was immediately treated to a round of fawning articles by media. They all took pains to quote Mayor Pete B.’s comments about his theologically liberal Episcopalian religion, and then they delighted when he went on the attack against Mike Pence. Pence, who had previously had friendly terms with Mayor Pete for several years, was caught blind-sided, but was gracious in his responses, indicating that he considered Buttigieg’s attacks to be just politics and not really personal. Buttigieg, as an out homosexual in a homosexual marriage, was swamped with a mountain of money from Big Gay, which garnered him even more media attention (they all reported the size of the contributions received and carefully did not report where they were coming from).

Buttigieg’s attacks on traditionalist Christian Mike Pence followed the typical template long established by Leftists for leveraging theologically-liberal religion in attacks against traditionalist Christians by proof-texting verses from the Bible. There really isn’t anything new there. It is very formulaic.

Buttigieg understands that the remarks he makes regarding religion are the remarks that hook reporters’ interest the most. They love attacking the GOP on the subject of religion, since they are unbelievers who think all religion is hypocrisy anyhow. Buttigieg has used religion as his main platform on several occasions. Regarding the border, he railed about Trump Administration treatment of minors and declared that the GOP “has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.”

New rape accusation leveraged by Nevers

E. Jean Carroll released a new book in June, in which she accused President Trump of rape in a 1996 incident. NeverTrump David French led the immediate charge, using the new allegation for a fresh attack against Christians who support President Trump. Other Nevers and several Leftist “Christians” jumped on that bandwagon. Mostly, they simply cited the new allegation and then proceeded to recycle stuff they have been saying interminably since 2016.

That story quickly faded since Ms. Carroll has absolutely nothing in the way of supporting evidence and there are some inconsistencies between the book and remarks she made pre-publication and post-publication. President Trump strenuously denies the allegation.

More of the old stuff recycled

A Democrat you never heard of gave a speech and followed up with tweets saying that it is un-Christian to support President Trump. Yawn.

A Leftist journalist with ties to a liberal church wrote a long feature trashing Evangelical whites.

The Washington Post wrote another feature about Paula White. Rev. White is a fave of President Trump. She is a “prosperity gospel” preacher. WashPo has written several previous features about her; they seem to think she is a sinister influence on the President, whom they hate. This feature is more mocking, scoffing and feigned shock; simply a rehash of their previous features on this topic.

(I am using the word “feature,” because these are longer than average and contain so much editorial content buried in an “article” that you cannot call it either an article or an editorial.)

The Atlantic ran another interminably long feature by Peter Wehner to trash Evangelicals. Wehner has Republican credentials on his resume, but went so strongly NeverTrump that he has been carrying water for the Left for over two years. (Wehner is associated with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which Wikipedia calls “conservative.” They are conservative in the sense that they have religion, but it is “centrist” at best, in the sense that their positions are what you would expect from “conservative” Democrats from liberal churches. EPPC is the outfit that gives Mona Charen her “ethics” credential.)

Wehner’s feature cites and links to other Atlantic features that slime President Trump and the Trump Administration as “cruel” “immoral” “klansmen,” “guilty” of “white supremacy,” “angry” “ethnic cleansing” and a host of additional fevered-imaginary “malignant” “crimes.”

Wehner’s feature got a round of approval from the usual suspects. WashPo leveraged it by running a companion piece in which Jennifer Rubin interviewed Wehner. Salon and most of the Leftist blogosphere cited Wehner’s feature, and used it as a hook for launching their own opprobrium.

It is only notable for the way it directly attacks white Evangelicals. Here is a sample:

The enthusiastic, uncritical embrace of President Trump by white evangelicals is among the most mind-blowing developments of the Trump era. How can a group that for decades—and especially during the Bill Clinton presidency—insisted that character counts and that personal integrity is an essential component of presidential leadership not only turn a blind eye to the ethical and moral transgressions of Donald Trump, but also constantly defend him? Why are those who have been on the vanguard of “family values” so eager to give a man with a sordid personal and sexual history a  mulligan? …

For a growing number of evangelicals, Trump’s  dehumanizing tactics and cruelty aren’t a bug; they are a feature. 

Book release

Politico correspondent Tim Alberta had a new book release about the 2016 campaign. There was a flurry of articles that are derivative of things in the book. Some are recent, but most of the quotes are from the context of the primary season in early 2016. But some old news made it into anti-Evangelical headlines that then got featured by the Google News aggregator. Here are two examples:

An article at BusinessInsider had this:

Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, called evangelical Christians who support President Donald Trump “the biggest phonies of all,” in a new book by the journalist Tim Alberta. … He went on, “These are the people who spent the last forty years telling everyone how to live, who to love, what to think about morality. And then this motherf–ker comes along defiling the White House and disrespecting God’s children at every turn, but it’s cool, because he gave them two Supreme Court justices. They got their thirty pieces of silver.”

TalkingPointsMemo recycled this:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had some pointed words for evangelicals who supported then-candidate Donald Trump.

If you’re a faithful person, if you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, emerged from the grave three days later and gives eternal life, and you’re supporting Donald Trump, I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with you,” he said according to Politico Magazine chief correspondent Tim Alberta book “American Carnage” obtained by the New York Times. 

They loved those quotes from 2016 so much they just had to run them again. We will see them all several more times before November of 2020.

NPR

Most recently I heard a feature at NPR. Yeah, I know. I listen so you don’t have to. Nothing they had to say is worth repeating. As journalism, it was not bad quality, in that the reporters did not add a lot of editorializing. Of course, they did not need to add anything because they only covered one side of the story. They ran quotes from two Democrat consultants, two Democrat office holders, and then for balance they interviewed one woman described as:

“…child advocate Kelly Rosati, a Colorado-based evangelical activist who promotes adoption, foster parenting and orphan care. Rosati abandoned the Republican Party after concluding it was insufficiently compassionate, but neither does she identify as a Democrat, largely because of the party’s stance on abortion issues.”

So much for “balance.”

Actually, I am not much bothered by the lack of conservative voices. I have been thinking for years that all Republicans and conservatives should quit returning calls to NPR. They are a hostile entity.

conclusion

Well, that is the state of media’s ongoing never-ending campaign for the Left, in so far as their assaults on Evangelical Trump voters.

Journalists are the Enemy of the People.

At least 95 % of them are.

Please do everything possible to spread ridicule on mass media Fake News. They oppose America and everything that America ever stood for. They oppose Christ and Christianity. They oppose liberty. They oppose traditional family formation. They oppose truth. They are working to bring about the collapse of western civilization.

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Terrorist van Spronsen

I suppose everyone saw that a terrorist had tried to bomb an ICE facility in Tacoma using Molotov cocktails and a propane tank bomb, and was killed in a shootout.

I doubt if any of you learned anything of the details, because journalists seemed really un-curious and unwilling to follow up.   The details got left out; there was no reporting on several aspects of the attacker and his motives, which were vaguely reported as “unclear” by media outlets hostile to ICE.

Since the attack, the terrorist’s name or stated motivation has yet to be reported on CNN, MSNBC, or the evening/morning news shows on CBS, NBC, or ABC, based on a review of Grabien’s archive of news programming. Nor was the story mentioned on any of the Sunday morning political talk shows, despite border detention being such a dominant topic in the preceding months.

On Saturday, CNN’s Polo Sandoval reported on the terror attack, but only to say that “police have not established a motive.”

Willem van Spronsen was a part of AntiFa of Seattle, was known to police, and had previously been arrested for attacking that same facility in Tacoma last year.   He was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge.

He was part of an AntiFa mob that roughed up Andy Ngo, and Ngo had reported him for making threats, but police showed no interest.

 The manifesto he left behind borrowed language from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez likening ICE detainment facilities to “concentration camps,” which he did six separate times. He encourages others to follow him and “arm themselves.”

Once again mass media reveal themselves to be partizan hacks.   The Enemy of the People.

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Enemy of the People –Antifa connections

RedState has an interesting post up about recent work by Dr. Eoin Lenihan to establish that a scattered collection of journalists have multiple ties to Antifa.

Antifa, yeah, those guys.   The violent mask-wearing thugs who roughed up Trump fans and shut down some free speech rallies.   Real terrorists.

What the good professor did was to start with a handful of known Antifa Twitter accounts.   Then he collected a long list of associated Twitter accounts and screened for Twitter accounts with multiple associations to the known Antifa accounts.   Then he searched that list for journalists, and, sure enough, found plenty.

It is good to have a little sunlight into the dark world of journalism.

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Catholic Distress

Since the Church of Rome is America’s largest faith group, everyone ought to have a little understanding about the important parts of the scandals that are rocking the Catholic Church. This is a big deal that will affect most of the culture wars and will spill over into politics. Of course, Big Media won’t cover any part of this except the parts that affect politics, and they can be relied on to bury the parts that embarrass the Left. So, here is a long post by a schismatic Lutheran to explain some of the distress in the Catholic Church.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops scheduled a conference last November, intended to get serious about setting up a monitoring and checks and balances system to address the sexual scandals in their own ranks. The lay Catholics, with the whole world watching, had been catching on that there were priests who had committed sexual sins and who had disappeared with some vague words about penance. Then it started coming out that bad priests had simply been moved around, in most cases with their new diocese unaware of their sexually sinful past. It turned out that this had happened in an astonishingly large number of cases, which became clear when the Pennsylvania Attorney General released a long and damning report on an investigation into sexual sins by priests. What really frosted the lay Catholics was that bishops who had preached about the need for openness and clarity and penance and oversight and confession and such, turned out to be the men who had deliberately hid the bad cases, covered for them, and in some cases put sexual predator priests into positions where they could repeat their bad behaviors.

If you are a Catholic who has been paying attention to this stuff, then scroll down to the heading called GetReligion. Most of the next couple of pages is background info.

American bishops put on hold

The USCCB assembly met two months ago with the expectation that they were going to vote on two action items. These were standards of accountability for bishops and a special commission for receiving complaints against bishops. This was part of several initiatives intended to work out a process for improved monitoring/oversight on matters of ecclesial discipline, to make sure that penances were concomitant with the infraction, that real crimes were promptly reported to police, and that violators who were likely to repeat their offense did not get placed into circumstances with future temptations, and that priests so placed would be subject to follow-up counseling and monitoring.

But an odd thing happened when the conference opened. The first thing was that a surprise letter from Pope Francis was read that told them to take no action on the topic. Pope Francis, you see, is planning a super conference in February that will be a global conference to take up such issues for all the world’s Catholic bishops. It would not do for the Americans to get out in front.

A letter that had gone from the Vatican to the USCCB President, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, was recently leaked to the Associated Press. It reveals that DiNardo had been slow to provide information to the Vatican, and this made the Vatican position easier to justify. It makes sense that the Vatican would want more time to consider what the Americans were up to, since it could have ripple effects for ecclesial canon law throughout the Catholic world.

Scandal of 2002 – 2005

In the late 1980s there were a couple of scandals involving sexual sins by predator priests. A couple more were made public in the early 1990s, generating some media buzz. It was a great excuse for some Catholic bashing and some Christian bashing. This scandal got mashed up with other scandals, such as revelations about poor treatment of indigenous peoples by Catholic missions, and a general apology for past bad behaviors was made for several scandals by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

Then a blockbuster scandal became a media sensation following an exposé by the Boston Globe in 2002. They produced a long special report on over a hundred victims of one bad priest, plus other victims of sexual misconduct by other Boston area priests. They followed that up with a survey of sexual scandals involving Catholic priests from all over the world. It sparked a media feeding frenzy that kept the Catholic Church in the spotlight for three years.

After three years of solid media attention, the issue went away. It just vanished. It was only a few of us highly-engaged culture warriors who figured out why. Stay tuned.

Pope Francis, friend of homosexuals

Pope Benedict XVI abdicated his position in early 2013. Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina was elevated to the “Throne of St. Peter” that year. He has given conservatives indigestion ever since. Of particular interest to this story is his friendly and accommodating posture towards homosexuality. You just knew we were going to get around to homosexual priests, didn’t you?

Pope Francis is famously squishy when it comes to traditional doctrines on all sorts of social matters. This has won him favorable treatment by mass media (cover of Rolling Stone, Time “Person of the Year 2013,” etc.). One of the first big instances of his papacy involved a throw-away line he said to a clutch of reporters on his plane as he returned to the Vatican from World Catholic Youth Day 2013. Pope Francis said (speaking about priests) “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge that person?” The media exploded with awful distortions.

There were some really unfortunate media accounts predicting that Pope Francis would reverse thousands of years of doctrinal positions on homosexuality and other sexual sins. Pope Francis coyly rebuked some of the excess. Subsequently he has done some things that made some observers call him a “homophile.” For example, in 2017 he appointed Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia as President of the Pontifical Pope John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. That is not so much a scandal as an opportunity for more whispering.

Scandals of 2018

In April and October last year, Pope Francis made a trip to Chile for some damage control involving sex scandals. He de-frocked (“laicized”) four priests. He spoke with a homosexual man who had been a victim of a predator priest. Pope Francis said some happy-talk things to soothe the man, and this got reported and caused a little dust-up within the ranks of conservative Catholic bloggers. Since that is not America, you probably never heard about it. I only bring it up to note that the Catholic Church has problems with homosexual priests all over the world.

In America, two separate sex scandals rocked the Catholic summer.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, age 87, was removed from priestly office last June by Pope Francis because of charges of sexual misconduct. A priest was being tried for sexual misconduct. He was defending himself by saying that he had been introduced to sex and sexual predatory ways by McCarrick back in the early 1970s when McCarrick was serving as secretary to Cardinal Cooke and the victim was a boy of 17. Then a couple of priests said that other people had accused McCarrick of sexual misconduct, and that they had been kept silent with settlement awards.

Then it turned out that it had long been known that McCarrick had been a sexual predator for a very long time. He had been pressing seminarians for sexual favors for decades. Then it came out that Pope Benedict XVI had found out about McCarrick and had instructed him to remove himself from priestly duties, from involvement with seminaries, and from public appearances. But McCarrick had ignored his instructions and then was “rehabilitated” by Pope Francis.

This really blew up in mid-July when the New York Times dug into McCarrick:

In 2000, Pope John Paul II promoted Archbishop McCarrick to lead the Archdiocese of Washington D.C., one of the most prestigious posts in the Catholic Church in America. He was elevated to cardinal three months later.

At least one priest warned the Vatican against the appointment. The Rev. Boniface Ramsey said that when he was on the faculty at the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in New Jersey from 1986 to 1996, he was told by seminarians about Archbishop McCarrick’s sexual abuse at the beach house. When Archbishop McCarrick was appointed to Washington, Father Ramsey spoke by phone with the pope’s representative in the nation’s capital, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the papal nuncio, and at his encouragement sent a letter to the Vatican about Archbishop McCarrick’s history.

By August most Catholic watching was diverted to a different scandal that had erupted in late July.

The Attorney General of Pennsylvania released a report on an investigation into sexual crimes by Catholic priests. The numbers were staggering. Initially it sounded like sexual mayhem by a majority of priests. Then things quieted down when it turned out that it was a report that summarized prosecutions, settlements and “credible allegations,” over a period of decades. The press release from the Attorney General gave this summary of findings from the grand jury:

  • 301 Catholic priests identified as predator priests who sexually abused children while serving in active ministry in the church.

  • Detailed accounts of over 1,000 children victimized sexually by predator priests, with the grand jury noting it believed the real number of victims was in the “thousands.”

  • Senior church officials, including bishops, monsignors and others, knew about the abuse committed by priests, but routinely covered it up to avoid scandal, criminal charges against priests, and monetary damages to the dioceses.

  • Priests committed acts of sexual abuse upon children, and were routinely shuttled to other parishes – while parishioners were left unaware of sexual predators in their midst.

This truly ignited a media feeding frenzy. It also prompted other states to launch investigations of their own. People came out from all over with their own stories of abuse. Then, just as quickly as it had erupted and claimed all the media air, this scandal dropped out of the public conversation, almost as abruptly as the previous “pedophile priests” scandal of 2002-2005.

Enemy of the People

First, it turned out that there are only about 64 of the three hundred priests who are still alive. Most of these cases are really old. Then it came out that the overwhelming majority, all but a few dozen, of the victims, were males ages 13 to 18 at the time of the abuse.

Yes, this is similar to the previous scandal. When they learned it was not “pedophilia,” but homosexuals preying on minor teen boys, Leftist mass media lost interest.

Leftist mass media cried “pedophile priests! Pedophile priests!” until traditionalist Catholics started to get some traction with their push-back, and then media dropped the story before they had to run any corrections.

Just like Cardinal McCarrick. Since the predatory misconduct was all homosexual, then it did not help Leftist narratives to report on the scandal. After some hystrionical Catholic bashing, the story quickly dropped out of sight.

Of course, by late August, the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh started taking all the oxygen out of the journalistic world. Between Kavanaugh and the mid-term election campaigns, it was easy for news media to drop the Catholic scandals.

Bad Boy Bishops

The really big scandal in all of this was the way Catholic bishops had kept it all under wraps. They knew about homosexual predator priests and covered up for them, hid them, hired lawyers to quickly bring aggrieved victims into settlements that featured non-disclosure agreements, moved bad priests around, and hid the records. They were afraid such matters would damage the church, but in the end what they did was far more damaging.

Pope Francis apologizes

From Wikipedia:

On 20 August 2018, Pope Francis apologized in a 2,000 word letter [addressing the Pennsylvania] grand jury report confirming that over 1,000 children were sexually abused by “predator priests” in Pennsylvania for decades, often covered up by the Church.[333]

“With shame and repentance, we acknowledge as an ecclesial community that we were not where we should have been, that we did not act in a timely manner, realizing the magnitude and the gravity of the damage done to so many lives … We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them … The heart-wrenching pain of these victims, which cries out to heaven, was long ignored, kept quiet or silenced.”

The Pope said the church was developing a “zero tolerance” policy on abuse (which he called “crimes”) and cover-ups. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke emphasized that the letter was not about incidents in a specific geographic area but relevant worldwide.[334]

 

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

Archbishop Viganò had served for ten years as the head of personnel for the Vatican when he was elevated to Secretary General of Vatican City. He made a name for himself by cleaning up finances and installing better procedures for checking and auditing. In a really mysterious episode, a letter he had written about apparent corruption was leaked to the press, prompting a public shaming in which he was said to be embarrassingly wrong by three higher-ups in the Curia. Vatican watchers took different sides, and some said it was all over personality clashes. Then the higher-ups prevailed and Pope Benedict XVI assigned Archbishop Viganò as the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States in 2011.

Viganò retired in 2016 at the age of 75 and returned to Italy.

On August 25, a damning letter from Archbishop Viganò appeared. It broke in Italy. It also hit the English-speaking Catholic blogosphere, because Archbishop Viganò had copied his letter to a little pro-life blog and aggregator in Toronto. I posted about LifeSiteNews back in the fall, mostly about how they were being harmed by Facebook and other Silicon Valley tech giants. Here is a part of Viganòs letter:

To dispel suspicions insinuated in several recent articles, I will immediately say that the Apostolic Nuncios in the United States, Gabriel Montalvo and Pietro Sambi, both prematurely deceased, did not fail to inform the Holy See immediately, as soon as they learned of Archbishop McCarrick’s gravely immoral behavior with seminarians and priests. Indeed, according to what Nuncio Pietro Sambi wrote, Father Boniface Ramsey, O.P.’s letter, dated November 22, 2000, was written at the request of the late Nuncio Montalvo. In the letter, Father Ramsey, who had been a professor at the diocesan seminary in Newark from the end of the ’80s until 1996, affirms that there was a recurring rumor in the seminary that the Archbishop “shared his bed with seminarians,” inviting five at a time to spend the weekend with him at his beach house. And he added that he knew a certain number of seminarians, some of whom were later ordained priests for the Archdiocese of Newark, who had been invited to this beach house and had shared a bed with the Archbishop.

The office that I held at the time was not informed of any measure taken by the Holy See after those charges were brought by Nuncio Montalvo at the end of 2000, when Cardinal Angelo Sodano was Secretary of State.

Likewise, Nuncio Sambi transmitted to the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, an Indictment Memorandum against McCarrick by the priest Gregory Littleton of the diocese of Charlotte, who was reduced to the lay state for a violation of minors, together with two documents from the same Littleton, in which he recounted his tragic story of sexual abuse by the then-Archbishop of Newark and several other priests and seminarians. The Nuncio added that Littleton had already forwarded his Memorandum to about twenty people, including civil and ecclesiastical judicial authorities, police and lawyers, in June 2006, and that it was therefore very likely that the news would soon be made public. He therefore called for a prompt intervention by the Holy See.

In writing up a memo[1] on these documents that were entrusted to me, as Delegate for Pontifical Representations, on December 6, 2006, I wrote to my superiors, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Substitute Leonardo Sandri, that the facts attributed to McCarrick by Littleton were of such gravity and vileness as to provoke bewilderment, a sense of disgust, deep sorrow and bitterness in the reader, and that they constituted the crimes of seducing, requesting depraved acts of seminarians and priests, repeatedly and simultaneously with several people, derision of a young seminarian who tried to resist the Archbishop’s seductions in the presence of two other priests, absolution of the accomplices in these depraved acts, sacrilegious celebration of the Eucharist with the same priests after committing such acts.

Leftist Catholic defenders of Pope Francis and the Lavender Mafia went into full character assassination mode. Archbishop Viganò went into hiding.

Viganò has since released two additional letters, from his hiding place, defending himself and describing correspondence that he says vindicates him. The letters he references have not been produced.

GetReligion

In the case of the current Catholic disgrace, Leftist mass media is all on one side. They want to trash the Catholic Church as home to “pedophile priests” while hiding the fact that the scandal is actually a homosexual scandal. Mass media love Pope Francis and act to trash anyone who says anything that makes Pope Francis look bad.

On the other side are intrepid traditionalist Catholic bloggers. They are outgunned, overmanned, overwhelmed, and demoted, deplatformed, censored, slandered and libeled. It takes real determination to cut through the noise with their message.

I have found that the best way to follow any major story that centers on religion is to monitor the media critics at GetReligion.org. These are mostly “pro-life Democrats,” and they are Christian journalists who have focused on religion stories for many years. Their focus has been to observe on the journalistic failures in mass media news reporting that can be attributed to journalists simply not having the background, or not understanding the jargon, or not caring about whether they get the details right, when it comes to religious issues. At GetReligion.org I frequently see not only where and how the journalists failed, but then I also get correct information and links to the best-quality reporting on any religious issue.

Back in the spring when the Cardinal McCarrick story first came out, there was a really interesting post at GetReligion by Julia Duin. She had wanted to write about McCarrick the sexual abuser for many years, but could not get any sources willing to go on record:

I ran into similar blockages everywhere. There were priests and laity alike for whom McCarrick’s predilections were an open secret, but no one wanted to go after him. I heard about various settlements but couldn’t confirm the details. No newspaper can publish such explosive accusations with only anonymous sources and no court documents to back it up.

Various Catholic friends advised me to let it go. “What difference does it make now?” they’d say. “McCarrick is retired.” The archdiocese was represented by a powerful law firm. Did I want to take that on?

After I was laid off in 2010, I sent copies of my files to another reporter on the East Coast so he could have a go at cracking this story. He too ran into the same barriers: People who refused to go on the record and there was always the threat of a lawsuit should he get one detail wrong.

One thing I learned from GetReligion.org was that Theodore McCarrick had a golden rolodex, and had been a very large fundraiser for all sorts of Catholic projects in a variety of locations involving lots of wealthy Catholic movers and shakers and touching on over a dozen major Catholic missions/charities.

 The lead guy at GetReligion is Terry Mattingly, who writes a weekly newspaper column for the Universal Uclick Syndicate. He also does a podcast called “Crossroads.” He had a really interesting discussion about Pope Francis’s upcoming big international assembly of bishops. Mattingly makes a lot of sense most of the time.

What to expect

In the podcast Mattingly discusses the recent resignation of top Vatican spokesman Greg Burke with Todd Wilkins, the “Crossroads” M.C.. (They decided that Burke has a news background rather than marketing, and he doesn’t want to be unable to return to journalism, which he probably would be if he continued in his current position through the upcoming assembly.)

Mattingly said to expect that the assembly is very likely to focus on the grave sin of sexual abuse of children. There are a few dozen actual cases of children under age 12 who were abused, and there are a few cases in which girls were abused. Expect the whole assembly to focus on those cases. As much as possible, the entire proceedings will be engineered to avoid the word “homosexual.” The sex of victims will seldom be mentioned. There will be lots of room for journalists to cover the event without ever noting that the core of these scandals is homosexuality in the priesthood. Unchaste acts between consenting adults will not be mentioned. And you won’t find them saying out loud that the age of majority in Catholic canon law is sixteen, not eighteen.

In short, expect a whitewashing. Surprised? Probably not; we have all grown quite cynical, haven’t we?

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Enemy of the People 2018-08-16

Today we were treated to a burst of collusion by the lamestream media.   For the past week, the Boston Globe has been encouraging journalists to publish editorials today that would condemn President Trump for calling the “fake news media” the “enemy of the people.”   Somewhere around 350 editorials were published today in answer to the Boston Globe’s call.   There were also a handful of editorials that opined that this collective effort would surely backfire and only prove Trump’s allegation that the journalists are partisan Leftists and “the Opposition Party.”

So, Ratburghers, did you bother to read any of these editorials?

Did you see any new points that you had not already heard many times?

Did you see any really good examples of arguments against President Trump?   Any criticisms that seemed to be helpful or useful to the public discourse over the battles between Team Trump and mass media?

Have you heard any conversations triggered by this effort at a collective rebuke of President Trump?

My thinking is that this is a really small deal.   Nobody will be persuaded to think differently than they already did.

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Media v Evangelicals 2018 part 7

Things have been sort of quiet since my last installment in this series, what with our mass media consumed 24/7 by Trump, Russians, Mueller, Manafort, and Michael Cohen. However there were a few items that might have slipped your notice.

A historian had a book tour. Eerdmans Publishing hooked John Fea up with a tour to promote Believe Me: The Evangelical Road To Donald Trump. This got a mild round of approving articles in the usual spaces. The book is evidently pretty dry, because if it had any juice he would have been treated to a higher-profile tour.

An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past.  As insightful as it is timely, Fea’s  Believe Me  challenges Christians to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

The book is loaded with all the old slanders against traditionalist Christians from the 18th century as well as more recent slanders. I can tell this from reviews, comments and an interview with the author; I have not read the book. It has become tedium that mass media like to pass along repetitive instances of liberal “Christians” criticizing traditionalist Christians using Bible passages.

Along that same line there was a book by a liberal Evangelical pastor named Rob Schenck, who told his personal testimony about how he converted from pro-life to pro-abortion. SSDD.

I saw a few new articles from some of my favorites about the press’s general ignorance of religion and religious issues. They are clueless and it shows. Sometimes their ignorance is good for a laugh.

The most recent instance of note was a long feature in the Washington Post. It is a profile of the Trump voters in a Baptist church in Alabama.

The presidency of Donald Trump has created unavoidable moral dilemmas not just for the members of First Baptist in Luverne but for a distinct subset of Christians who are overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly evangelical and more uniformly pro-Trump than any other part of the American electorate.”

Gee, well, I suppose we can guess where this one is headed, can’t we?

So of course it is larded with the buzzwords you would expect. “Awkwardness” “predicament,” “self-reflection” and “compromising” give way to “whiffing on the big moral questions.” Problematic race history issues in the Southern Baptist Church are dredged up, just to whip up the outragey feels of this mess. Along the way is mixed in a journalism smattering of local color quotes of country Baptist people saying Christian things and saying country things and commenting on President Trump.

In a really nice turn, the reporter (Stephanie McCrummen) gave some space to a member who gave a great statement that is perhaps representative:

There was Terry Drew, who sat in the seventh pew on the left side, who knew and agreed with Trump’s position, and knew that supporting him involved a blatant moral compromise.

I hate it,” he said. “My wife and I talk about it all the time. We rationalize the immoral things away. We don’t like it, but we look at the alternative, and think it could be worse than this.”

The only way to understand how a Christian like him could support a man who boasted about grabbing women’s crotches, Terry said, was to understand how he felt about the person Trump was still constantly bringing up in his speeches and who loomed large in Terry’s thoughts: Hillary Clinton, whom Terry saw as “sinister” and “evil” and “I’d say, of Satan.”

She hates me,” Terry said, sitting in [Pastor] Crum’s office one day. “She has contempt for people like me, … and people who love God and believe in the Second Amendment. I think if she had her way it would be a dangerous country for the likes of me.”

Way to go, Washington Post. Him who has ears, let him hear. You may mock and scoff at these rubes all you like, but they see clearly what the Nevers on the Coast missed by a mile.

This long feature has a sub-plot about Pastor Crum preaching a series on the Ten Commandments, with a buildup to his sermon on Adultery. In the end the reporter was disappointed, as her readers will be, that Pastor Crum did not preach about President Trump. But in the end I think this feature is worth reading, with a very uneven mix of quotes from parishioners. In the early going I thought it was going to be simply another hit job, but it is better than that. You can still tell that the viewpoint of these simple Christians is foreign to the reporter and her organization.

I will put links in the comments. One link will be to media criticism of a Frank Bruni editorial in the New York Times, in which he describes what a dangerous ogre the theocrat Mike Pence is, on account of he believes things that traditionalist Christians always believed. Typical.

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Enemy of the People

This tweet followed this interesting follow-up exchange at the White House yesterday.

For the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you’re saying, Sarah,” Acosta said. “The president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the people.”

I appreciate your passion,” Sanders responded. “I share it. I’ve addressed this question. I’ve addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the president. He’s made his comments clear.”

Acosta and his fellow-travelers in mass media think they are on the high ground here.

I think they are “the enemy of the people.”

In fact, I think they are unwittingly doing the work of the Enemy.

President Trump called them the “Opposition Party.”

They 0ppose my political values.

They oppose my social values.

They oppose my moral code.

They oppose my traditionalist Christianity.

They oppose my ability to freely exercise my religion.

They oppose American leadership in the world.

They hide the murderous crimes of America’s enemies while trumpeting any fault they can find with America.

They hide the murderous crimes of all other religions aside from Christianity, including Atheism, while haranguing us with repeated tales of Christians’ violence.

They do not want me to be able to teach my children my religion and values; they do not want me to be able to defend my family; they do not want me to have a voice in the public square; they do not want me to know the truth.

I think they are the enemy of the people, even more than President Trump does.

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Parkland dirty tricks

In the immediate wake of the Parkland school shooting the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were immediate stars.  They were passionate, articulate, polished, highly-motivated champions of gun control.

Perhaps there was a little more to the story than just a group of fabulous grieving students?

Kyle Smith on Opinion Laundering:

The reason television has made stars out of Hogg and González is obvious: They are telegenic, sympathetic vehicles for a message media personalities wish they could get away with openly espousing themselves. (“I get so angry talking to these gun nuts,” Piers Morgan said in a revealing moment on British morning television today.) Just as an op-ed editor at a newspaper can showcase his opinions without his name ever appearing in print by his selection of which articles to publish, the TV media keep giving airtime to students like Hogg because they’re saying all of the things the media’s nominally neutral hosts believe but don’t otherwise feel comfortable saying. Katy Tur, George Stephanopoulos, and Wolf Blitzer can’t passionately lecture the audience about why they think gun policy is crazy in this country, so they put the students on camera to say it. They’re simply laundering their opinions through these kids.

David Hines on Astroturfing:

On February 28, BuzzFeed came out with the actual story: Rep. Debbie Wassermann Schultz aiding in the lobbying in Tallahassee, a teacher’s union organizing the buses that got the kids there, Michael Bloomberg’s groups and the Women’s March working on the upcoming March For Our Lives, MoveOn.org doing social media promotion and (potentially) march logistics, and training for student activists provided by federally funded Planned Parenthood.

The president of the American Federation of Teachers told BuzzFeed they’re also behind the national school walkout, which journalists had previously assured the public was the sole work of a teenager.  …

What’s striking about all this isn’t the organization. If you start reading books about organizing, it’s clear how it all works. But no journalist covering the story wrote about this stuff for two weeks. Instead, every story was about the Parkland kids being magically effective.

On Twitter, I lost track of the number of bluechecks rhapsodizing over how effective the kids’ organizational instincts were. But organizing isn’t instinctive. It’s skilled work; you have to learn how to do it, and it takes really a lot of people. You don’t just get a few magical kids who’re amazing and naturally good at it.

The real tip-off should have been the $500,000 donations from Winfrey and Clooney. Big celebrities don’t give huge money to strangers on a whim. Somebody who knows Winfrey and Clooney called them and asked. But the press’s response was to be ever more impressed with the kids.

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