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Fox News Grapevine Provides One Sided Look At Notre Dame “Controversy”

Reported by Priscilla - April 5, 2009 -

“Grapevine” can always be counted on for short sound bites chock full of propaganda goodness involving whatever message that Fox News is pimping. The latest meme due jour is the so called “controversy” related to Barack Obama’s invitation to give the commencement address and receive an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame. The memo from Fox’s John Moody must contain instructions to focus on the talking points of the anti-choice lobby in order to reinforce the rightwing talking point about Obama’s “radical” pro-choice agenda – an “agenda” (like the gay one) sure to get the pitchfork gang salivating. As I noted in my piece, yesterday, even the “fair and balanced” interviews have the Fox interviewer asking leading questions which allow (in Martha MacCallum’s case) to reiterate conservative Catholic talking points. Not surprisingly, recent “Grapevine”segments are not so “fair and balanced.”

Last week contained two pieces on the invitation. The first report (March 31st) was sourced from Fox fave Brent Bozell’s choirboys (and a couple of girls) “Newsbusters” and was about how a NewsWeek writer, who supports the invite, didn’t disclose that his son works for the University. The petition, in protest of the visit, was mentioned (the original report on this was the week before) with the chyron “snowball effect." The second report stated (April 1st) that the Chicago Catholic Archbishop has joined in the criticism. It provided his comment that Notre Dame “doesn’t know what it is to be Catholic.” Also reported was the Archbishop’s admonition for Catholics to call and e-mail the University. The non partisan source for the report – anti choice “Lifesite News” – with a link, too. The title of the segment was “choice words” The petition was also mentioned. Not mentioned in either of these pieces was the petition being circulated by those who support the University’s decision.

Comment: While there are opposing views from influential Notre Dame graduates, they haven’t appeared on Grapevine. While some of these opposing viewpoints have been articulated in the Notre Dame newspaper, you probably won’t hear about them on “Grapvine.” While Catholic priest, Thomas Reese, wrote an article in support of Notre Dame, you probably won’t hear about it on “Grapevine.” (Course Reese is one of those intellectual Jesuits and Fox News don’t need no stinking intellectuals). “Grapevine” also hasn’t mentioned that convicted anti abortionist Randall Terry is behind the whole kafuffle. But who needs inconvenient details when you have propaganda to push? But it is interesting that right wing fave and recent convert to Catholicism, Newt Gingrich, hasn’t been mentioned because he quickly jumped on this bandwagon after his cleansing conversion session. One would think that this statement, “It is sad to see Notre Dame invite President Obama to give the commencement address since his policies are so anti-Catholic values,” would be great for Fox to use as it just reinforces the Obama as anti-Catholic wedge meme that Fox seems to be promoting. (Behavioral Objective – cut into Obama’s popularity with Catholics?) “Grapevine” does love funny moments of irony, especially, if it involves what they see as Democratic hypocrisy. The Gingrich hypocrisy is something you definitely won’t see on “Grapevine.” You won’t see that “when Catholic University announced in January 2005 that Newt Gingrich would deliver a speech on campus, a group of students rose up in protest, accusing the twice-divorced, admitted philanderer of violating the Catholic values that their school was founded upon.” Oh, the irony!