Watch: Shapiro Lays Into Media Over Lack of Coverage on Vatican Sexual Abuse Cover-Up


Following a bombshell grand jury report in Pennsylvania and a subsequent allegation by a high-ranking official that Pope Francis knew of at least one claim of sexual abuse, scandals plaguing the Catholic Church have once again become front-page news this week.

In the opinion of one conservative pundit, however, the media have been lenient on the Vatican because of an inherent admiration for the progressive pontiff.

Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, was a guest on Fox News Channel’s “The Story with Martha MacCallum” when the topic turned to news coverage of the church controversy.

He told host Martha MacCallum he had “rarely seen a more disgusting example of press behavior than this,” going on to describe what he believes is the hypocrisy of some reporters willing to cover for the pope’s alleged wrongdoing.

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“It’s pretty astonishing,” he said.

Referencing what he sees as a double standard based on partisanship, Shapiro said that “several years go, when the media started to delve into all of the sex abuse allegations against the Catholic Church, there was a great deal of enthusiasm” among reporters for investigations.

Under Pope Francis, however, Shapiro says that coverage has changed in tone. He said the “left-wing press” approves of the current approach to the papacy more than the pope’s predecessor.

“And The New York Times ran one of the worst headlines I’ve ever seen today, talking about how as the allegations against Pope Francis mount, ‘conservatives pounce,'” he said. “‘Conservatives pounce’? How is conservatives pouncing on sex abuse allegations the story?”

Do you think the media have covered for Pope Francis?

The apparent direction of the story as indicated in its headline, Shapiro argued, was evidence that The Times was interested in pursuing a partisan angle.

“It’s an amazing accusation that the story is not actually, ‘Serious allegations levied at the head of the Catholic Church by other lead members of the Catholic Church over a cover-up of sex abuse of children,'” he said. “No, the real story is that conservatives might use this to go get an icon for the political left.”

According to Shapiro, the anecdotal headline “demonstrates that for the left, it does make you wonder whether it’s an actual priority to protect children or whether the higher priority is to protect the politics that they see as imperative.”

He went on to criticize the media for its perceived reluctance to cover remarks by the archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who said in reference to the growing scandal that the pope “has a bigger agenda” than going “down a rabbit hole on this.”

Among the items on that agenda are “talking about the environment and protecting migrants,” according to Cupich.

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“How exactly is what Cupich just said not the headline on every major paper in the United States?” Shapiro asked. “The only possible rationale is that a lot of the members of the press actually agree that when it comes to choosing between leftist politics in the Catholic Church and protecting children, leftist politics have to take center stage.”

Cupich also said he believes critics are unfairly harsh toward the pope “because he is Latino.” Francis is an Argentine-born son of Italian immigrants.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
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