Commentary

Media Have Enormous Tolerance for Intolerance Against Catholics

By Bill Donohue | October 12, 2016 | 2:26pm EDT
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with communications director Jennifer Palmieri on campaign plane, Sept. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Most of the media have been delinquent in reporting on the latest Wikileaks story involving Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta, communications director Jennifer Palmieri, and Center for American Progress senior fellow John Halpin.

In a series of email exchanges, Palmieri and Halpin made patently disparaging remarks about Catholics, and showed disdain for evangelicals as well. They shared their vitriol with Podesta, who did not respond (the source we quoted from yesterday mistakenly attributed a remark by Halpin to Podesta).

Fox News was the most responsible media outlet reporting on the Catholic bashing: Fox News Website, Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, and Fox and Friends all cited the bigotry. CNN's Anderson Cooper also did a good job.

CBS, NBC, PBS, and MSNBC all reported on the Podesta Wikileaks story, but failed to mention the anti-Catholic remarks; ABC News didn't report the story at all, though its affiliates mentioned the controversy without citing the Catholic bashing.

Among the most prominent newspapers and wire services that ran the story without reporting on the anti-Catholic comments were the following: Associated Press; CNN Wire; Baltimore Sun; Boston Globe; Boston Herald; Hartford Courant; Miami Herald; New York Daily News; New York Post; New York Observer; New York Times; Newsday; San Diego Union Tribune; Spokesman Review; UPI; USA Today; Washington Post; Washington Times. It comes as no surprise that The White House Bulletin also covered up the bigotry.

I have been doing this job for over 23 years, so it is no mystery why the mainstream media are hyper-sensitive about "micro aggressions," and other slights, when they are made about many protected groups, yet there is enormous tolerance for intolerance when it is exhibited against Catholics and evangelicals. It's called bigotry, plain and simple.

It would be a grave mistake to conclude, however, that an anti-religious impulse explains this phenomenon. No, when it comes to Muslims, the media will bend over backwards to show how sensitive they are to any perceived intolerance.

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.

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