Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Gospel According To Anne Thompson

Pope John Paul II has only just been beatified, but at Nightly News, he's already a Saint. Anne Thompson's reports from Rome on Saturday and Sunday (totalling more than six minutes) were so fawningly reverential and obsequiously pro-Pope and pro-Catholic Church that they were embarrassing to watch. Thompson was acting like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert in 1965. It took all of her self-control to keep from jumping up and down and screaming at the top of her lungs, "I Love you, Pope John Paul George Ringo!" She probably has a Pope app on her iPhone so she can kneel down and kiss his ringtone. Thompson's overt bias should absolutely disqualify her from reporting on any matters related to the Pope or the Catholic Church. Sister Anne wears her rah-rah pro-Pope enthusiasm on the sleeve of her habit. It's obvious that she does not report these stories in an objective manner nor does she bother to question statements made by Church officials. In fact, Thompson's stories sounded like propaganda pieces for the Church. For one thing, she simply accepted the ridiculous claim that a French nun was cured of her Parkinson's disease after praying to Pope John Paul II. This "miracle" is the basis for John Paul's beatification. Although there is not a shred of evidence that attributes the nun's alleged recovery to any type of divine intervention, Thompson never took issue with her preposterous story. Why didn't Thompson ask doctors about the veracity of the nun's claim or seek some sort of legitimate medical explanation? This is supposed to be NBC News, not The Christian Broadcasting Network. Thompson should be exposing hoaxes, not perpetuating them. In fact, Thompson should have taken a broader view and discussed the hoax perpetrated by Mary (mother of Jesus) 2,011 years ago. Isn't that what a reporter should be doing instead of marvelling at the awesome power of the Catholic Church? Of course, that will never happen on Nightly News. With 75% of Americans identified as Christian--and a third of those Catholic (including Brian Williams)--it's obvious that Thompson and her producers believe it is their job to act as cheerleaders for the Pope and the Catholic Church. They are just shamelessly pandering to a portion of their audience without the slightest regard for the rules of objective news reporting. And that is sickening.

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