Last weekend during an interview with Cardinal Wuerl on "Fox News Sunday," the host, Chris Wallace, asked a very important question. Earlier in the week, 43 entities in 12 dioceses representative of the Catholic Church across the Untied States went into federal court to support the constitutional right to freedom of religion. Mr. Wallace pointed out that the broadcast networks gave a grand total of 19 seconds to this story. He raised the question: is the failure to cover the story an expression of political bias?
There are probably a number of possible answers to this question. Here we would like to examine three.
The first is a resounding yes! At the heart of this media cover-up was simply political bias. The long history of selective reporting, manipulative quotation and message spinning that we are all so familiar with in too much of the media would support that answer.
A second answer might very well be that so much of the crafting of stories in the media is done by people who, for the most part, are participants in a closed circuit. They are not all that much in touch with a lot that is going on and they depend on repeating each other's stories to meet their own deadlines. This approach to writing news stories results in that familiar ring of repetition that we are all so familiar with among the major newspapers and network television. The failure of so much of the media to be aware of the major legal action that took place across the United States could possibly be that some of the people who bring us the news just don't know about it -- or don't understand the significance of it.
A third possibility, and one related to the second, may be that given the "party line" that seems to direct a lot of media coverage, the story of the lawsuits didn't meet the requirements of the media's pre-determined political narrative.
Unfortunately, most of the information made available through the mainstream media is controlled by a handful of outlets. Once one determines what the "story" should be, the others pretty well seem to fall into line.
Of all of the above explanations, and there are probably many more, the third is likely as good as any and does seem to reflect what all of us experience when we pick up the paper or turn on the television or radio.
The phenomenon we are discussing probably explains why more and more and more people are abandoning those sources of information and turning to almost anything else in the hope of getting something direct, unvarnished, unspun and unbleached.
When reflecting on how the mainstream media largely ignored a major legal defense of religious freedom, one can't help but conclude that some kind of underlying bias caused those TV networks to "miss the boat" on a story that is important to all Americans.
For a demographic that comprises 25-27% of the votes in the United States and a topic that regards the First Amendment and a core principle of this country and the primary broadcast networks only gave 19 seconds of coverage. They spend more time covering Hollywood idiots.