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Fox News = Vatican’s Newsroom?

Reported by Priscilla - March 18, 2009 -

Fox presents itself as “America’s Newsroom.” America’s citizens represent all faiths and no faith. However, in watching Fox News, it appears that their “America” is almost exclusively Roman Catholic – judging from the frequent presence of Father Jonathan Morris who is a Fox TV pundit and the author of an opinion column which generates a blog. (And does that blog generate some *juicy comments, oh Sweet Jesus!) In addition to Father Jonathan, Fox also seeks the opinion of the arguably homophobic and anti-Semitic Bill Donahue, head of a very right wing Catholic group which has no official connection to the Diocese of New York. Given the red state demographics of Fox, one would assume that fundamentalist preachers would be fixtures on Fox. Pat Robertson and Richard Land do make occasional appearances; but Morrison seems to get the face time. How fair, balanced, and representative is that?

Father Morris seems like a well intentioned, sweet young thing who provides words of spiritual inspiration. However, he is given a forum for providing clerical cover for reinforcing right wing talking points. Yesterday (March 17th), on Fox&Friends, he reiterated a right wing/Fox meme that Bristol Palin is being attacked by nasty, bad, liberal blogs which allow the “unloading of negativity.” Without identifying the source, this quote (also mentioned by Bill O’Reilly) was read: "Bristol and her beau have apparently called off their engagement, making the product of their special night of conservative 'value swapping' in the back of a Chevy — son Tripp — one helluva elephant in the GOP's cathedral of morality." (snarky though it is, the Bristol Palin pregnancy showed, once again, the failure of Christian Republican “family values”) Morrison bemoaned the “anonymity” of this “unfair criticism.” He made the ridiculous claim, popular in the “pro-life” (anti choice) right wing that people “hate her because she had her baby.” He claimed, as did O’Reilly, that people are “going after Sarah Palin” through Bristol because Sarah “did the right thing” in having a Down’s baby and the “feminists hate her.” (Comment: The issue, Father, wasn’t that Sarah Palin had her baby. It was that she would deny other women reproductive choice, as does your church. There was also the issue of Sarah using her kids – especially the pregnant one – as a pander to the right to life groups. And feminists – yeah, challenges to the patriarchy are just so nasty. If it weren’t for feminists, Palin would not be governor of Alaska as feminism paved the way for women to obtain high political offices).

Today, the Fox Padre has an article on the Fox Website which defends Pope Benedict’s comments on condoms in Africa and promotes abstinence and fidelity in marriage . It also serves to support the right wing meme about the so called liberal media: “Media Distorts Pope’s Position On Condoms in Africa.” Morrison claimed that “Pope Benedict knows ...that the distribution of condoms… has failed miserably.” I guess the Bishop of Rome doesn’t know that according to USAID, abstinence and “correct and consistent condom use…can prevent or reduce the likelihood of sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.” Morrison also repeated a “Focus on the Family” myth about the success, in Uganda, of a program “True Love Waits” which is debunked here.

Comment: Morrison’s Fox presence, in and of itself, is fine; but if Fox is America’s newsroom, why don’t they invite Jewish rabbis and mainstream Protestants to comment on issues. Are they afraid that they’re too liberal? Are they reluctant to speak to women clergy? Would they invite Muslim Imams or representatives from the atheists community? Why are they frequently utilizing a priest who is based in Rome and who is not involved in the day to day administration of an American parish? Are they afraid that an American parish priest might be too liberal on immigration and social justice issues? Morrison’s group, The Legion of Christ has been accused of supporting conservative views and has been restricted in a number of American dioceses because of its recruiting practices. In the 50’s New York Cardinal Spellman “palled around” with right wing scumbag dictators. In 2009, Fox News and the Vatican have less than six degrees of separation. Fox News religion coverage – “fair and balanced” or “partisan/religious agenda?”

*To be Covered in a separate piece.

Addendum - See Bonnie Erbe's article "Pope's Dangerous AIDS Message In Africa: No Condoms" which states that "the percentage of female AIDS patients who are prostitutes, or drug addicts, is dwarfed by the percentage who are married women living upstanding lives in their communities" and who are infected by their husbands. She is correct when she says that this is a "horrifically ignorant statements made by a world leader..." Bill Donahue's (unmarried Catholic man) comment that AIDS/HIV "are a function of behavioral recklessness" can be found here.