NY Times' standards for Catholic League's Donohue: Three articles for criticism of Edwards, two paragraphs for criticism of McCain

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

The New York Times has devoted only two paragraphs and 102 words thus far to Catholic League president Bill Donohue's criticism of Sen. John McCain for his failure to repudiate the support of evangelist John Hagee, who has made statements Donohue considers anti-Catholic, and McCain's ensuing response. By comparison, the Times published three separate articles on Donohue's criticism of former Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign for hiring two bloggers who Donohue contended were "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots," and the Edwards campaign's subsequent reaction.

On March 1, The New York Times devoted only 102 words -- the final two paragraphs of an article headlined "Clinton Questions Role of Obama in a Crisis" -- to controversial Catholic League president Bill Donohue's criticism of Sen. John McCain for his failure to repudiate the support of John Hagee, the controversial televangelist and founder of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, and McCain's ensuing response. The Times described Donohue as critical of Hagee for engaging in a "war on the Catholic Church." By comparison, in three separate articles, the Times reported on Donohue's criticism of former Sen. John Edwards' presidential campaign for hiring two bloggers who Donohue contended were "anti-Catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigots" and the Edwards campaign's subsequent reaction: a 377-word February 7, 2007, article under the headline "Edwards's Bloggers Cross the Line, Critic Says," an 1,144-word front-page article two days later headlined "Edwards Learns Campaign Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways," and a 158-word February 13, 2007, article headlined "Edwards Campaign Blogger Quits Job."

On February 27, Hagee endorsed McCain at a press conference in which the two appeared together. Following Hagee's endorsement, McCain said, "All I can tell you is I'm very proud to have Pastor Hagee's support."

In its March 1 article on a new Clinton campaign ad, the Times reported:

On the Republican side, Mr. McCain defended his endorsement from the Rev. John C. Hagee, an evangelical pastor in Texas. On Thursday, the president of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, released a statement calling on Mr. McCain to repudiate the endorsement for what Mr. Donohue said was Mr. Hagee's war on the Catholic Church in calling it the "anti-Christ" and "a false cult system."

Mr. McCain responded that he was proud of Mr. Hagee's spiritual leadership and his commitment to Israel, and that "when he endorses me, it does not mean that I embrace everything that he stands for or believes in."

In addition to the comments about Catholicism highlighted by the Times, Hagee has also made controversial statements about homosexuality, Islam, and women. For instance, investigative journalist Sarah Posner reported in God's Profits: Faith, Fraud and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters (PoliPointPress, January 2008) that in his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman (Charisma House, 2005), Hagee wrote: "Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist."

According to the Nexis database, the March 1 article constitutes the only instance in which the Times has mentioned Hagee and McCain in the same article. By contrast, the Times has mentioned Sen. Barack Obama's endorsement by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in five different articles, including an article in which reporter Adam Nagourney reported that the Tennessee Republican Party issued a news release that sought "to link Mr. Obama to the views of some of his most controversial supporters, including Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam," but did not note that Obama has denounced both Farrakhan's views and support for his candidacy.

Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Person
William Donohue
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.