BIAS IN THE CATHOLIC MEDIA
By Diane Lily
We know that there is bias in the secular media against the Pro Life position. Are we aware of that bias in the religious media also?
The photograph on the left appeared on the front page of the February 6, 2006, edition of the Catholic Voice with a brief caption identifying it as depicting the Second Annual Walk for Life West Coast held in San FRancisco, January 21, 2006.
The photograph on the right was one of many appearing on the web site of the West Coast Walk for Life west coast walk for life
The photo on the left makes the event look like a small chaotic group of disorganized rabble. The Catholic Voice failed to provide the faithful of the Oakland Diocese with an accurate report on one of the major pro life events of the entire state of California.
The Walk for Life web site photos clearly show a cohesive, focused, enthusiastic and disciplined crowd. Many of the photos show the large number of Stanford Students for LIfe and other youth groups representing the hope, future and strength of the pro life movement in California.
The Catholic Voice photo caption provides desultory reference to “many carrying signs proclaiming ‘Abortion Hurts Women’” with no attempt to inform the reader of the significance of the thousands of marchers who carried that sign or what it meant.
The people who developed that sign represent a determined group of women who have experienced the pain and suffering of abortion and have formed a large, growing and vocal group who say that they are “silent no more.” These women are speaking in the legislatures, on the media, about the destructive nature of abortion and how they regret their abortion. It is not just now they regret their abortion. It is the ongoing, never ending feeling of sadness over the fact that they allowed themselves to be seduced into destroying their own child.
The March was attended by a large number of both diocesan and Order Priests as well.
Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, formerly of Ignatius Institute in San Francisco and now residing in Florida as a Director of Ave Maria Institute, attended the Walk in order to present an award to Mr. Jim Holman of San Diego. The Gianna Mola Award is for outstanding service to the Catholic and Pro Life Community. Neither the award nor the honoree were mentioned in the Voice. Mr. Holman is the force behind the Parents Right to Know Initiative which will once again be on the statewide ballot this November.
The Voice and Officials at the Chancery have resisted requests for support of this initiative.
OAKLAND DIOCESE ISSUES PINK SLIPS.
Also on the front page of the Voice is an article about the Chancery office issuing pink slips to 17 full and part time employees to free up funds required by of court decision to pay off the victims of Priestly abuse. According to Monica Clark, Voice Editor, no one on the Voice was let go because “funding comes from sources outside the Central Services budget.” Other departments retaining their full complement of employees are: diocesan School Department, Catholic cemeteries, Catholic Charities and the Cathedral project.
It has been known for some time that Catholic Charities considers itself independent of the local Bishop’s authority, but now, perhaps we see that the “official diocesan newspaper”
also operates outside the Bishop’s authority. This could lead one to believe that the Voice is little more than a secular newspaper masquerading as an official diocesan paper.
Two face possible jail time for civil disobedience.
Beginning on page 7 of the February 6th Voice, considerable space is given to reporting on two people living within the boundaries of the diocese who face jail time for trespassing on federal property at Fort Benning, Georgia. This is the site of the formerly named School of the Americas. Due to all the negative publicity about this training center the name has been changed to Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
This is a popular site for annual demonstrations against war. It is apparently becoming an annual event for antiwar demonstrators in this diocese in memory of Father Bill O’Donnell. Fr. Bill, recently deceased, former Pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley, was jailed frequently for his protests at the School. The claim has been that the purpose of this place is the training of south American terrorists by American military personnel who then return home and terrorize and slaughter their own people. Never once has the Voice acknowledged the many times that Fr. Bill also picketed local abortion clinics.
Whether the objective of the training that foreign military personnel receive at this Ft. Benning, Ga, site is intended to be used against the indigenous population in the foreign countries is not the point of it’s being mentioned here.
The title of this article is Bias in the Catholic Media. For thirty-three years pro life people have been arrested and jailed while protesting the slaughter of the preborn by abortion in our own country by medical personnel trained in our own university hospitals, . Many of those jailed have been and still are residents within the boundaries of the Oakland Diocese. At least one of those residents is a Catholic Priest.
Never during all these years has the diocese or the Voice shown any interest in or support for these brave defenders of human life. It is a serious imbalance of injustice that must be rectified. Forty million pre born babies have died since 1973 while their killers, the doctors and clinic employees are protected by law from any civil or criminal penalty. The Voice has remained silent, seemingly oblivious to this attack on innocent human life.
We know that Bishop Allen Vigneron is pro life. We ask him to provide pro life leadership to the faithful of this diocese through the newspaper, through directives to his priests to speak the truth about the sin of abortion and to invite those Catholics who have submitted to abortion to seek confession a nd forgiveness
We ask the Bishop to exercise his authority in regard to the instruction of students in sex education programs in the Catholic schools. What students are getting now is basic Planned Parenthood indoctrination.
The faithful starve for the nourishment of their souls and the enlightenment of their minds while the Voice and the pulpits distribute platitudes and scoldings.
(Ed. note 2-20-06. The Catholic Voice for February 7, 2005, carried, on page 7, a more extensive but equally uninformative photo and words report on both the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. and the First Annual Walk for Life West Coast held in San Francisco. The front page of that edition featured an above the fold report on "Remembering the Victims of Violence" referring to gang related murders in Oakland and a "Kids walk Lake Merritt to help kids hurt by tsunami in Indonesia" report.
Eighty-eight persons died in Oakland in 2005 in gang related deaths. SEveral thousand babies died in Oakland's abortion mills during that time, but no one at the chancery mourned those deaths. 250 "kids, parents, teachers and friends" marched in recognition of the thousands of deaths in the tsunami, but 6000 to 10,000 marched in San Francisco for the babies and all they got was page 7 coverage.