Catholic LeagueBill Donohue is up in arms against the New York Times for giving the business to bad Catholic priests while shielding bad rabbis. I fear Bill has overlooked some important coverage.

The casus belli is N.R. Kleinfeld’s story on Msgr. Kevin Wallin, who in three years fell from star of the Bridgeport hierarchy to alleged drug-dealing gay sex orgiast. A classic tale of decline and fall, the 2,745-word feature ran on the front page of Wednesday’s Times. Plus there was a 751-word article that ran on page A-19 a month ago.

Meanwhile, Donohue points out, two New York rabbis have been arrested this year for sex offenses against teenagers, and all the news about them that’s fit to print is one inside story each, with a combined total of but 828 words. Obviously, the Times (Jewish-owned, dontcha know), is sticking it to the Catholics, covering for the Jews.

But soft. There, in the last graph, he notes that the arrest of one of the accused rabbis

came less than two weeks after another member of his ultra-Orthodox Jewish group, an unlicensed therapist, was sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a young woman from the time she was 12. By the way, a rabbi who publicly criticized this rapist had a cup of bleach thrown at him, burning his eyes and face. It never made the front page of any newspaper.

Ah yes, that would be Satmar rabbi Nechamya Weberman. Back on December 11, the Times devoted just 671 words on page 30 to the bleach-throwing incident. As it happens, the incident was also mentioned in a same-day editorial, which proclaimed that Weberman’s conviction “sends a strong and overdue message to Williamsburg’s tightly knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, which has shielded such abusers from legal scrutiny.”

And then, on January 29, there was Joseph Berger’s 1,174-word story on the Satmar “modesty police,” shadowy goon squads who enforce dress codes and rules of conduct and who regularly referred the objects of their attention to Weberman. “They operate like the Mafia,” Rabbi Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University, told the Times. The modesty police had drawn excellent coverage from the New York Jewish Week. Let the record show that the Times story appeared on the front page.

Lest we forget, the Times also published a 1,080-word report in December on two rabbis accused of abusing boys at the Yeshiva University High School for Boys back in the 1980s. That story, which was broken by the Jewish Daily Forward, led to Marc Oppenheimer’s January 4 religion column, “No Religious Exemption When It Comes To Abuse.”

So, in fact, the Times has not been burying stories of rabbinical abuse of late. So, as is too often the case, Bill Donohue’s is a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Categories: Beliefs

Beliefs: ,

Mark Silk

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

5 Comments

  1. david clohessy

    The Times also wrote a long, prominently placed story within the past few days about abuse by a Buddhist figure. . .

    David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

  2. Silk wrote, “Lest we forget, the Times also published a 1,080-word report in December …” Wha-?? You mean *two months ago*??

    Meanwhile, look at what the Times has been writing about Catholic abuse just in the past *two weeks*: http://www.themediareport.com/2013/02/19/ny-times-unhinged/

    Donohue is entirely correct. There is disproportionate coverage by the Times on this issue, and it’s not even close. The Times has it out for the Catholic Church, and this can be empirically demonstrated.

    TheMediaReport.com

    -

  3. Nanabedokw'môlsem

    Mr Donohue is a person whom I sometimes suspect of leading a League of One, himself, or maybe a la the anti-gay Texas gang ‘Church’ a League of himself and his immediate family. Who knows, maybe there are some employees, at least a web person — or maybe that’s on contract.

    Being retired from a responsible position in the Church on an Indian Reservation, where first hand I was learning about why we need the Franciscans and progressive public servants, I am often dumbfounded at what Mr Donohue spouts. He’s a one man religious Fox News, excuse me, Faux Spews (with apologies to whomever it was on Facebook who coined that term).

    • Billy the Bully Donahue gets his funding for the Catholic League from a number of bishops.

      When have we seen a priest or bishop sentenced to 103 years for raping boys?

  4. Carolyn Disco

    Bill Donohue has become the caricature of a bullying blowhard whose credibility is nil. Ditto for David Pierre, a partner in overblown rhetoric.

    Example: Pierre’s defense of Donohue, who also disapproved of the criminal conviction of Bishop Robert Finn in Kansas City, MO for failure to report under the law. See Pierre’s comment at 12/6/12 9:50AM, where he blames a Commonweal assoc editor of “deceit and guile. It is palpable that the exploitation of children does not really bother Gallicho.”
    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=22164

    See Gallicho’s rebuttal demolishing Pierre’s charges at 12/06/2012 – 11:31 am (2nd para), 11:48 am, 8:44 pm and my comment at 12/09/2012 – 1:38 am.

    The Donohue-Pierre duo can be relied upon for charges of anti-Catholicism in just about any context. Pierre even claims that 32% of accused Boston priests were false allegations; almost five times what the John Jay research study found.
    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2012/01/the-truth-about-falsely-accused-priests-4/

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