Don't get me wrong, there may be a time and a place for discussion of various issues by non-Catholics (or disgruntled, excuse me "progressive" Catholics) -- but it seems that for some of these talking heads, the chief priority is not so much to report the death of the Pope with some semblance of journalistic objectivity, as to maintain one's liberal credibility by exploiting the situation, siezing upon the end of his pontificate and the prospect of a new Pope as an opportunity for the Catholic Church to "catch up" with the rest of the enlightened world after being mired for decades in tired, old, and oh, yes, "rigid" orthodoxy.
Congrats to Fox News Channel, whose coverage is proving better than most, as well as those channels that bucked the trend by offering interviews with faithful Catholic commentators. It's refreshing to see the likes of George Weigel, Fr. Neuhaus, Janet Smith, Christopher West being interviewed 'midst the sea of heterodox or lapsed Catholics like Joan Chittister, Andrew Sullivan, Chris Matthews, and those who clearly have a chip on their shoulder regarding our beloved pontiff.
Pleased to see as well a few of St. Blog's own, such as Jimmy Akin on Fox (who insists that he wasn't tired, just blinking -- see the photo and judge for yourself), and Peter Vere on MSNBC, speaking on behalf of Catholic bloggers everywhere. Rather interesting, seeing screenshots of Catholic Light and Catholic & Enjoying It on the tube, and "St. Blog's Parish" mentioned for all the world to hear (Out of curiousity, who coined that phrase, anyway?) -- Oh, and Amy Welborn was mentioned on CNN.
In any case, here's a roundup of some critiques of the mainstream media's coverage of the death of John Paul II.
- Birdbrains on the religion beat. Sean Gleeson prepares us for the onslaught of television media stupidity that accompanies the death of a Pope -- or any major event at the Vatican:Watching the press try to cover religion is like watching that chicken play the piano. When the light goes on, they sit at their keyboards and peck out the same sequences of keys over and over and over again, with no understanding of the words they're producing. And someone keeps feeding them. . . .
- "Ignore everything the media says about the succession," says Mark Shea ("Catholic & Enjoying It"): "When it comes to papal elections, the media are idiots who think they are covering (and influencing) the New Hampshire primaries. They. Don't. Have. A. Clue."
- "What the media misunderstands about selecting a new pope", from Jay @ DeoOmnisGloria.com, listing the most frequent errors you're sure to witness in the coming weeks.
- "Pope John Paul II Dies: New York Times Can't Find Somebody who Liked Him" - Powerline captures for posterity clear evidence of the Grey Lady's oozing hatred of the Pope. Further commentary by Terry Mattingly at Get Religion.
- Extreme Catholic on Sean Hannity's manifest ignorance of the Catholic faith.
- In the coming weeks, months, and years, we’re going to see many people trying to hijack the legacy of Pope John Paul II for the own uses," says Domenico Bettinelli, Jr., "just as they have done with Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council ("In the spirit of Vatican II"). The process has already begun."
- "The Washington Post and the Pope", The Daily Standard April 3, 2005. Jonathan V. Lasch employs George Weigel's biography of the pope to fact-check The Washington Post's skewed reporting of an incident during the Pope's trip to El Salvador . . . and reveals, guess what? more liberal bias.
- "See a common theme here?", asks Carl Olson of InsightScoop.
- The Seventh Age remarks that "once the good feelings die down because of popular sentiment, it will be open season on his legacy as a new pontiff is chosen," -- seeing as a harbinger of what is to come this ridiculous piece by Thomas Cahill in the New York Times.
- Jay Anderson ("Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate") has a question about the polls.
- Threshing Grain catalogues some of the more disturbing/annoying press releases from various groups exploiting the Pontiff's death to grab their 15 minutes of fame. Just one example: "Women-Church Offers Prayers for Pope, Announces 'Open Conclave'.
- Amy Welborn has started a thread on Covering the Coverage to talk about the coverage of this week's events. She asks: "Is there a Catholic in the US who hasn't been on television yet? Has Chris Matthews calmed down yet?" -- Heh. Chris Matthews' incessant barking and bellowing is one reason I tend to bypass MSNBC in my channel-surfing.
- "How Stories Evolve" - Arthur Chrenkoff observes how Reuter's reporting of Hans Kung's latest outburst -- " Catholic rebel decries Pope's legacy" -- has managed to evolve into the plural by the time ABC News' gets around to it: "Church figures question Pope's legacy").
How suprising that at the time of his death Kung would make an appearance? -- As Arthur notes, "a typical laundry list of ultra-liberal complaints from a man who has been John Paul's theological nemesis throughout the whole of the pontificate."
For more in-depth analysis of posthumous attacks on the Holy Father by Arthur, see also "Cultural studies versus John Paul II " and "The Pope helped spread AIDS: Euroleft not happy ".
- Further commentary on the above from Teófilo (Vivificat), who concludes "The Next Pope Should Clean House".
- Rich Leonardi ("Ten Reasons") provides a more suitable title to an article from USA Today: "Contracepting, pro-abortion and nonpracticing Catholics unlikely to find relief from next pope".