Accuracy in Media

The Boston Globe won a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Catholic Church’s decades-long cover-up of priests who sexually abused children. There is a Pulitzer Prize waiting for the reporter who can figure out why the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, considered by Catholics the personal representative of Jesus Christ, has become an advocate for one of the most corrupt organizations on the face of the earth-the United Nations.

The U.N. has been rocked by scandals involving U.N. “peace-keepers” who sexually abuse women and children, the failure to protect populations in danger of genocide, and financial corruption. It is an anti-American institution founded by a Soviet spy that is currently headed by a Communist Catholic Priest, U.N. General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto, who recently gave a speech at a U.N. financial conference on the need to protect “Mother Earth.”

So when the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics endorsed a “World Political Authority” in his encyclical “Caritas in Veritate,” it was big news that could only be understood in the context of the growing power and influence of the U.N. The timing was also significant. The Papal statement was issued just before a meeting of the G-8 nations, including Russia, China and the U.S., and before Pope Benedict XVI’s meeting with President Barack Obama.

Conservatives who should know better have tried to play down the nature of the Pope’s radical proposal. In a July 10 Wall Street Journal article, American Roman Catholic Priest Robert A. Sirico of the conservative Acton Institute ignored the controversial “World Political Authority” passage and wrote that “People seeking a blueprint for the political restructuring of the world economy won’t find it here.” But ignoring it won’t make it go away.

In fact, the Pope stated that the goals of this World Political Authority should be “To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration…” This is a fairly detailed blueprint that sounds precisely like some of the functions of the U.N.

The Pope went on, “In the face of the unrelenting growth of global interdependence, there is a strongly felt need, even in the midst of a global recession, for a reform of the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth.”

So the “reform” of the U.N. is designed to strengthen it. Hence, the U.N. is clearly destined, from the Vatican point of view, to become the World Political Authority. This has prophetic implications for Christians who fear that a global dictatorship will take power on earth in the “last days.”

On the July 10 edition of “The World Over,” a program on the global Catholic television network EWTN, Sirico said that he was confident that the Pope was “not calling for a central government bureaucracy.” But the host, Raymond Arroyo, was unclear how a World Political Authority was compatible with the Pope’s commitment in the same encyclical to “subsidiarity,” a form of local control. “They seem to be in conflict,” Arroyo said. In fact, as the Pope himself warned, the World Political Authority could become “tyrannical” in nature.

The exact quote from the Papal statement, a major teaching document of the Roman Catholic Church, was that “there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.” Pope John XXIII declared in his April 11, 1963, encyclical, Pacem in Terris, “Today the universal common good presents us with problems which are world-wide in their dimensions; problems, therefore, which cannot be solved except by a public authority with power, organization and means co-extensive with these problems, and with a world-wide sphere of activity. Consequently the moral order itself demands the establishment of some such general form of public authority. But this general authority equipped with world-wide power and adequate means for achieving the universal common good cannot be imposed by force. It must be set up with the consent of all nations…”

He added that “It is therefore our earnest wish that the United Nations Organization may be able progressively to adapt its structure and methods of operation to the magnitude and nobility of its tasks.”

If the Pope had endorsed just a “World Authority,” some Christians might have considered it a reference to the return of Christ to earth. But the use of the term “political” puts the Pope squarely on the side of those promoting a world government of some kind.

John Zmirak, the writer-in-residence at Thomas More College, a Catholic Institution in New Hampshire, recognizes the danger. He wrote that the World Political Authority could become a global “super-state” and persecute the Catholic Church. He explains, “I know that the pope suffered deeply, and personally, from the sick excesses of nationalism. Perhaps if I’d been drafted into the Hitler Youth, and seen my nation ruined and dishonored by a cancerous tribal cult like National Socialism, I might also daydream about a universal benevolent State. But there’s only one thing worse than a national bureaucratic tyranny-and that’s an international one. A reading of Orwell’s 1984 might have reminded Benedict that centralization rarely leads to liberty. And a world-state administered by the kind of people who currently get involved in supranational organizations like the EU and the UN would make its first order of business the liquidation of the Church-which wouldn’t even have a Liechtenstein where it could hide.”

George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center has blamed the World Political Authority reference on a Vatican agency, the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace. But despite the implication that the Pope is being manipulated, this is a Papal document signed by the Pope and he has to take responsibility for articulating a vision of a World Political Authority that operates through or with the sanction of the United Nations. Yet, the U.N. is a non-Christian institution where officials gather in an official “Meditation Room” in the U.N. building to achieve what they call cosmic consciousness.

The U.N. Environmental Program once promoted the idea of an “Environmental Sabbath,” encouraging children to hold hands around a tree and meditate. In his own encyclical, the Pope seems to warn of this kind of activity, saying that “it is contrary to authentic development to view nature as something more important than the human person” and that “This position leads to attitudes of neo-paganism or a new pantheism…” He nevertheless also called for “a worldwide redistribution of energy resources” and says that, “The technologically advanced societies can and must lower their domestic energy consumption, either through an evolution in manufacturing methods or through greater ecological sensitivity among their citizens.”

Indeed, Pope Benedict gave a speech in front of the United Nations in April 2008 that made it absolutely clear that he believes in the U.N. mission. Pope Benedict even associated Jesus Christ with the work of the U.N., saying that the “search for the right way to order human affairs” is “motivated by the hope drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ” and “That is why the Church is happy to be associated with the activity of this distinguished organization, charged with the responsibility of promoting peace and good will throughout the earth.”

This “distinguished organization” has been dubbed “the House that Hiss built” because of the role that Soviet spy and State Department official Alger Hiss played in founding the organization.

What’s more, the Pope explicitly endorsed the Responsibility to Protect, known by the acronym R2P, a doctrine endorsed by the U.N. in 2005 and designed to help the world body assume the powers of a world government. Ironically, the development of the R2P principle has been attributed to former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who, as director of peacekeeping at the world body, failed to authorize U.N. troops on the ground in Rwanda to stop genocide there.

A Danish documentary, “And the U.N. Came,” blames U.N. troops for creating the AIDS crisis in Cambodia. The film documents how U.N. soldiers spread the disease by having sex with local citizens, children, and prostitutes. Asked about the conduct of U.N. soldiers, one U.N. official is shown saying, “Boys will be boys.”

The Pope’s failure to mention any of these scandals in his encyclical is itself a scandal.




By Wes Vernon*

 Even with the Marxist influence in President Obama’s background-and even with his reluctance to raise his voice against bloodthirsty tyrants such as Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad-even with all of that, trust Helen Thomas to find Obama too hard-line with America’s enemies and too easy-going with America’s friends.

The occasion of revisiting the antics of Ms. Thomas-the woman who epitomizes why so many Americans distrust the mainstream media-is that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) is seeking to bestow upon her an official honor in the name of the Congress of the United States. Rep. Lee’s resolution-H.R. 533-is, as we go to press, before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. It salutes this grand dame of the White House press corps for her “unflagging and honest coverage of every U.S. president since John F. Kennedy.”

In commenting on the proposal, Congresswoman Lee said, “Helen has been a real trailblazer for women in the field of journalism.” Indeed she has played a pivotal role in breaking the barriers in what was once an all-male preserve-along with others also worthy of mention-Martha Rountree, May Craig, Mary Lou Forbes, and Sarah McClendon are some who come to mind.

The Lee resolution praises Thomas as “an essential pillar of American democracy,” and credits her with asking “pointed questions of the Obama administration.”

While taking nothing away from Thomas’s place in the history of Washington journalism, there are those who believe any tribute to her might very well be balanced with some perspective.

Certainly one might cite such concerns in one quote from the lady: “I’m a liberal, I was born a liberal, I’ll be one ’till I die. What else should a reporter be?” (Italics added)

Surely that is an expression of honest belief, and it sums up why much of America is driven to distraction by the mainstream media and has tuned them out. Many media folks take such disapproval from the public as a badge of honor, i.e., the great unwashed out there are “shooting the messenger.”

Anyone who has spent any time over the years in the congressional media galleries is accustomed to hearing references to the “good guys” (liberals of both parties) and “bad guys” (of course, conservatives).

It is on a par with Al Gore’s likening global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers, only applied to anyone who is conservative on most other issues or conservative across the board. That’s the way they think, and that is why Helen Thomas’s usual seat at the White House briefing has been left empty when she is absent. It’s like no one dares to occupy the throne other than the queen. Such hero worship is over the top.

It is one thing to be liberal in philosophy or voting habits. But any journalist who assumes from the get-go that a reporter can’t be anything but a liberal is not “honest” with him or herself, and is someone whose ability to provide unbiased news coverage is-at the very least- suspect.

Helen Thomas worked as a by-lined reporter at United Press International (UPI) for 57 years, most of it at the White House. She now does a column-carried by few newspapers-for Hearst. Her liberal-loaded one-sided questions at presidential briefings made her a liberal celebrity of sorts long before she took to open punditry.


Obama Not Left Enough?


In spite of-or perhaps because of-her ideological rants thinly disguised as questions at the White House, Thomas is treated by her liberal colleagues in the Washington media as a role model. They are apparently envious that she gets away with public speechifying that even their own liberal editors would not tolerate from them lest it discredit their purported “objectivity.”

With Obama’s ascendancy to the pinnacle of power, much of that media pretense has been cast aside, and like caged animals having been set free, mainstream scribes and blow-dried TV types have unabashedly given Obama a free pass. That love affair has become so embarrassingly obvious that Phil Bronstein, Editor-at-Large of the San Francisco Chronicle, suggested that Obama and the fawning press “should get a room.”

But Thomas is having none of it.  She had been shooting questions at Obama suggesting even he was not left-wing enough for her. But judging by the uproar at one of the regular White House briefings, there is some indication that the lapdog media have finally drawn the line.

In a testy exchange led by Thomas and CBS’s Chip Reid, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was challenged regarding staged and controlled media events, including calling reporters from favored outlets telling them they would be called upon to ask a question the next day. At one point, as Gibbs was floundering around trying to wiggle out of a tough spot, Thomas declared, “Of course, you would [say that], because you don’t have any answers.”

 Whether this apparent “end of the honeymoon” sticks is something we should know in due course.


Political Points?


However, even a media matinee idol like Obama does not deter Thomas from crusading-as usual, through “questions”-on any issue that goes to Thomas’s pro-Arab, anti-Israel views.

It thus becomes problematic when a reporter supposedly deserving official accolades for “honest coverage” would ask the President-as Thomas recently did-if Pakistan was maintaining safe havens in Afghanistan for “these so-called terrorists.”

The Taliban and al-Qaeda are “so-called” terrorists? Does that mean that 9/11 was a “so-called” terrorist attack on the United States? In World War II, did we fight Hitler’s “so-called” Nazis? That stands as Example #2 as to why Helen Thomas doesn’t deserve recognition for “honest coverage.”

The term “so-called” terrorists is akin to Example #3 when she badgered the late Bush press secretary Tony Snow about the Lebanon-Israeli war (her sympathies were clearly with Lebanon). Snow thanked Thomas for “the Hezbollah point of view.” Hezbollah has been cited by the FBI as building sleeper cells in the United States, awaiting the day when it will be time to attack Americans. Is that “so-called” terrorism too?


A Pattern


Thomas’s pro-Arab “questions” have consistently favored the Middle East nations that harbor terrorists-(“so-called” because that’s what they are.) One need not endorse every move by the Israeli government to understand that there’s a reason why U.S. policies generally have been weighted against radical Islam-in the Middle East and elsewhere. Thomas’s questions clearly suggest a refusal to acknowledge that there are no Christian suicide bombers, no Hindu suicide bombers, no Buddhist suicide bombers, and by the way, no Jewish suicide bombers.

Here’s Example #4 as to why the Lee resolution might be rejected or perhaps revised: [It comes in a Thomasism tossed at then-White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer in 2002]: “Ari, does the President think that the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal military occupation and suppression?” That stands as a variation on the “When did you stop beating your wife?” theme.


Trashing The Troops


While our uniformed military personnel were putting their lives on the line in Iraq, Helen Thomas asked then-White House press aide Dana Perino why American troops were “targeting” civilians.

That was one of the rare instances when the Bush White House had had enough. Spokeswoman Dana Perino delivered a sharp rebuke to the “[so-called?] Dean” of the White House press corps, terming the accusation that our troops targeted the innocent was “just absurd and very offensive.”

General George Patton-about as brave and gung-ho an American soldier as ever lived-surveyed the rubble of Germany shortly after World War II and sadly noted the “waste” in lives and property wrought by war, but apparently it took Helen Thomas to discover decades later that in wartime, yes, innocent people do get killed (sometimes by tragic accident).


No “Digging” Allowed


Looking back on the day the White House wolf-pack suddenly sprang into action to probe the Monica Lewinsky scandal (after ignoring far worse offenses by the serial scandal-prone Clinton White House), Helen Thomas wailed that “everybody started digging…a nightmare for the Clintons, I’m sure. For reporters, it was a story you couldn’t avoid. Even though you would have liked to have.” Doesn’t asking “pointed questions” involve going after both Republican and Democrat scandals?


Birds Of A Feather?


That the pro-Thomas resolution would be authored by Rep. Barbara Lee is no surprise. AIM has in the past cited the Californian’s extreme left leanings. The congresswoman is looking for 50 co-sponsors. If she gets that many, they will be on record as being on the far fringe. If the measure gets to a floor vote, we will want a front row seat for the debate.


*Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist


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