On October 10, in his weekly address before the general audience at St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis spoke about the evil of abortion. Going off script, he said procuring abortion is like hiring a hit man to kill. The media in the United States showed little interest in reporting his comments.
The pope said that to kill an unborn baby "in the name of protecting other rights" was a contradiction. He questioned, "Is it right to snuff out a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a hit man to solve a problem? No, you can't. It's not right to take out a human being, a small one, too, in order to fix a problem. It is like hiring a professional killer."
Sky News reported that the pope was roundly condemned by pro-abortion activists. That was predictable. It was just as predictable that the media in the United States would ignore what he said.
The only major dailies to report this story were the Boston Globe, which picked up the AP article, and the New Hampshire Union Leader. To my knowledge, that was it. The Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Washington Post—all of which never miss an opportunity to report the pope's most liberal-left statements—appeared to say nothing.
The rest of the world did not share the disinterest shown by American newspapers. This story on the pope made papers in Australia, Canada, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, South Africa, Kenya, and India.
The disinterest that the American media have in reporting such stories is not grounded in indifference; rather, it is ideologically based.
In early May, when the pope said that it did not matter to God whether someone was a homosexual, it was widely reported by the American media. Later in the month, when it was reported that the pope raised a red flag about allowing gays in the seminary—"If in doubt, better not to let them enter"—it was ignored by almost every media outlet. Similarly, in June, when the pope said that gay couples do not constitute a family, most of the media failed to report it.
When a pattern emerges, it is not an accident. Surely in this case it is by design. The media have a vested ideological interest in pushing the liberal-left agenda, and that is why they highlight the pope's remarks which fit their cause and omit reporting on those that don't. This may not qualify as "fake news," but it sure smacks of media bias.
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.