Does Brent Bozell know what "scandal" means?

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

Media Research Center president Brent Bozell doesn't want the media to report new revelations about the Catholic Church's handling of sexual abuse cases. Here's Bozell:

Last week dozens of news outlets - including the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, New York Times CBS, MSNBC- reported that the abuse scandal is 'widening.' That is absolutely and unequivocally false. The scandal isn't growing. As Catholic League President Bill Donohue aptly noted, citing evidence from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, abuse is shrinking in the United States, with an even more rapid decline over the last five years.

Any credible journalist would have done his or her research before reporting a fallacy of this magnitude. And any other religious institution that was targeted in this unconscionable fashion would have been rescued by the same liberal media that claims to be objective.

Bozell's sole critique of news coverage of the subject is that it has depicted the abuse scandal as "widening," when -- according to Bill Donohue -- "abuse is shrinking."

Is Bozell serious? He can't possibly be.

The sexual abuse scandal isn't said to be "widening" because there are more instances of abuse this year than last. It is said to be widening because we are learning more about instances of abuse that happened in the past, and how they were handled by church officials, including the current pope.

Bozell must know that, mustn't he? That's a common -- perhaps the most common -- meaning of references to "growing" or "widening" scandal. Not that instances of wrongdoing are increasing, but that we're learning more about that wrongdoing.

I hate to have to break out the dictionary on Bozell, but here's a relevant entry for "scandal": "Damage to reputation or character caused by public disclosure of immoral or grossly improper behavior; disgrace." Obviously, the Church scandal is "widening" -- and Donohue's statistics about annual abuse cases don't have much of anything to do with that.

There's just no conceivable way Bozell really doesn't understand that. And yet he angrily denounces the media for reporting that the scandal is "widening," which makes you wonder why he's really so upset.

UPDATE: Here's Brent Bozell complaining about a purported lack of media coverage of the "great and growing scandal" he referred to as "ClimateGate." Of course, there wasn't a "growing" number of controversial emails; there was a growing body of information about emails that had already been sent. Newsbusters' archives are littered with references to "growing" scandals -- ACORN, "ClimateGate," Tiger Woods, et centera. Those are generally references to situations in which public knowledge of alleged wrongdoing was growing, not in which the underlying wrongdoing was increasing in frequency. So Bozell and his underlings know what "growing scandal" means -- he's just pretending not to.

Media Research Center, NewsBusters
L. Brent Bozell
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