For over a decade now, we at TheMediaReport.com have likely reviewed several thousand news articles, television episodes, radio interviews, and documentary films in our mission to encourage accuracy in the media's coverage of the Catholic Church abuse story line.
However, we don't believe we have seen a piece of media as grossly inaccurate and irresponsible as a recent multimedia special presentation produced by Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), "Betrayed by Silence," which purports to chronicle the history of the Catholic Church abuse scandal as it relates to Minnesota.
MPR's not-so-hidden agenda
MPR's multimedia program is so loaded with flat-out falsehoods and misrepresentations that one hardly knows where to begin.
We have already cited reporter Madeleine Baran a number of times before for her biased and inaccurate reporting (1, 2). But with "Betrayed by Silence," it now becomes clear that Baran and her friends at MPR have absolutely no interest in honest journalism but rather wish to damage the Catholic Church for its refusal to march to the step of the "progressives" at MPR.
Just last year, MPR loudly and proudly championed the successful cause for gay marriage in Minnesota, a measure which St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt and the Catholic Church vociferously opposed. Thus there is no doubt that MPR's campaign against Nienstedt and other clergy has been a way to further malign the Church.
A heap of hypocrisyAnd whereas MPR dismisses each and every denial made by Catholic priests who assert their innocence – while also publicly degrading those who have done so – MPR never makes mention of the fact that a person who regularly appears on its station was herself arrested and charged with shocking child abuse.
Each and every week, MPR proudly broadcasts the weekly radio quiz show, Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me, which features comic Paula Poundstone.
As the folks at MPR should certainly know, California police arrested and charged Poundstone in June of 2001 after a lengthy investigation on three shocking counts of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a girl under the age of 14 and one count of child endangerment.
Poundstone later pleaded no contest to one count of felony child abuse and a misdemeanor count of "inflicting injury upon a child."
But MPR apparently has no problem at all with a person convicted of felony child abuse appearing on its station every week. In fact, it celebrates it.
The hypocrisy could not be more blinding and only underscores that MPR's new-found obsession with old claims of sex abuse in the Catholic Church actually has little to do with sex abuse and everything to do with wreaking vengeance upon a hated opponent in the culture wars.
**Important note** Madeleine Baran from MPR did not respond to repeated requests from TheMediaReport.com to answer questions about her reporting.