Surprise, surprise…according to a new Pew Research Centre study into media coverage, newspapers written for the English speaking populations of Europe have had a fixation with the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. And published three times as many articles on clergy sex abuse scandals as US papers did. Essentially, there was only a third of such reporting on the sex abuse scandals in the American press.
But as we know only too well, the research shows that Pope Benedict was much maligned by the US press. Quotes from the study: ‘In addition, the media scrutiny this year zeroed in on the pope himself. During the six-week period from March 12 through April 27, Pope Benedict XVI was a major focus of more than half the stories on the scandal in the mainstream U.S. media, including print, radio, network television, cable TV and online news sources.’
And in the mindset of both Catholics and non-Catholics black shadows have been cast on Pope Benedict’s reputation. Censuring Pope Benedict became more of a priority than reporting on nuclear arms…
‘In a nationwide poll released by the Pew Research Center in April, for example, just 12% of the public said the pope has done a good or excellent job addressing the scandal, down from 39% two years earlier. About seven-in-ten Americans (71%) said Benedict has done a poor or only fair job, up from about half (48%) who felt that way in 2008……From mid-March (when the pope’s role in a decades-old abuse case in Germany came under scrutiny) through late April, clergy sexual abuse was the eighth biggest story in the mainstream media, beating out coverage of nuclear weapons policy and the Tea Party movement. The biggest week of coverage was March 22-28, when news organizations reported on the failure of Vatican officials years ago, including the future pope, to defrock an American priest who had abused nearly 200 deaf boys. The church scandal was the fourth biggest topic in the mainstream news that week….Benedict was by far the biggest newsmaker, featuring in 51.6% of the stories about the scandal in the mainstream media during the six-week period studied. All other individual figures combined, including cardinals, bishops and priests, appeared as lead newsmakers in just 12% of the stories.’
Reading the above finding of the Pew Study that Benedict was the ‘biggest newsmaker’, ahead of actual abusers and those who were tacitly culpable, one has to question the integrity of the reporting on the scandals. If the self-righteous, secular press is so keen on media-mauling the abusers as a means of doing justice to the victims, why oh why do they blame innocent leaders?
Part of the research from the Pew Centre focused on the 'new media'. Bloggers, those who comment on blogs and the millions who tweet (who collectively make up the ‘new media’) did not share the monomania with the clerical abuse scandals. The research showed that blogs had far more of a diverse range of serious issues. The bullying tactics of the ‘mainstream media’, and damning the pope was not never as popular on the blogs as it was in the press. Clearly, that term ‘mainstream media’ has less and less relevance, the ‘mainstream’ is only concerned with sewage.
PS – You may avail of the Pew study findings here: http://pewforum.org/Christian/Catholic/Broad-Criticism-of-Pope-Benedicts-Handling-of-Sex-Abuse-Scandal.aspx