By Kyle Drennen
After CBS and ABC ignored the WikiLeaks revelation that top Hillary Clinton staffers exchanged anti-Catholic rhetoric via e-mail and NBC only offered mere seconds to controversy, one would expect a major U.S. Catholic leader denouncing the comments would draw at least some media attention. However, after New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan condemned the “insulting” remarks and demanded an apology from the Democratic nominee’s campaign on Tuesday, the networks have remained silent.
In sharp contrast, during 7 p.m. ET hour pre-debate coverage on Fox News Wednesday night, anchors Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier provided full coverage of the new development. A report from correspondent Ed Henry featured a soundbite of Dolan’s statement:
“The remarks attributed to John Podesta, who is Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, are just extraordinarily patronizing and insulting to Catholics. What he would say is offensive. And if it had been said about the Jewish community, if it had been said about the Islamic community, within 10 minutes there would have been an apology.”
Henry reminded viewers:
Now, he was lashing out at an email where a Podesta friend went after our own chairman Rupert Murdoch for raising his kids Catholic, charging, quote, “it’s amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”
Clinton aide Jennifer Palmieri fired back to that, quote, I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friend wouldn’t understand if they became evangelicals.”
In the segment that followed, Kelly hammered Clinton’s 2008 campaign traveling press secretary Mo Elleithee on the subject:
“Cardinal Dolan coming out and not mincing words. I mean, you heard him there, ‘This is offensive, it’s insulting, it’s patronizing.’ And you tell me whether he’s right, that if this had been said, something equally offensive about Muslims, there would have been an apology within 10 minutes?”
Elleithee assured her:
“Tim Kaine…he’s an incredibly devout Catholic, takes his faith very, very seriously, and he said ‘I don’t think an apology is necessary because what they were essentially getting at here was just a difference in opinion with the Catholic hierarchy.’”
Kelly stopped him:
“With, ‘It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith,’ that the Catholics must be ‘attracted to systemic thought and severely backwards gender relations’?” Elleithee tried to excuse the offensive remarks as being part of the debate over ObamaCare’s contraception mandate: “…there was a lot of heated pack and forth within the Catholic community over this issue.”
Kelly shot back:
“But the government generally needs to shut the h_ll up about that. I mean, the government’s job is not to interfere with how people practice their religion or challenge the tenets of it.”
Baier turned to contributor Marc Thiessen, who rejected the lame defense:
“Yeah, apparently Hillary Clinton’s basket of deplorables includes all faithful Roman Catholics. This is anti-Catholic bigotry…”
The networks actually have the perfect news hook to cover Dolan’s remarks, since he, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump will all be attending the Al Smith Catholic charity dinner together in New York Thursday night.
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters.