In the first few frames of the new movie Spotlight, it declares, "Based on actual events." The film then begins ominously with a late-night scene at a police station in "Boston – 1976." A single mother and a livid uncle are in the back room of the station complaining that the notorious pedophile, Rev. John Geoghan, has molested the family's children. They are there to press criminal charges.
But, lo and behold, with help from a local district attorney, a local bishop is at the station to quietly assure the family that Rev. Geoghan will be taken out of the parish and will no longer be a menace to their children. The bishop and Fr. Geoghan then quietly slip out of the station, into the back seat of a black sedan, and into the dark night. Crisis averted.
The problem? No such episode actually occurred. Ever.
By all accounts, this very first scene in Spotlight is a complete fabrication.
Another Hollywood machination
TheMediaReport.com has examined the Geoghan case extensively. Indeed, the crimes that Geoghan committed were abominable. For this, we must be very mindful and ensure that such crimes never happen again.
But here the Hollywood creators of Spotlight have simply manufactured an incident out of thin air.
None of the hundreds of the The Boston Globe's articles on the scandals ever reported or even hinted that such an episode ever happened in the Geoghan case.
None of the articles by the Boston Phoenix's Kristen Lombardi, who reported on the sex abuse story in the Archdiocese of Boston nearly a full year before the Globe did, report this event either.
The reason that the makers of Spotlight began their film with this bogus scene is simple: It reinforces the ages-old anti-Catholic bigotry of the Church as a corrupt, all-powerful institution able to exert its influence across all sectors of society, including law enforcement.
That the scene didn't actually happen is of little consequence to the makers of Spotlight and their fans in the movie industry, as long as the scene reinforces this bigotry against the Catholic Church.
Same as it ever was.
[There is even more. See the headlines. See the editorial cartoons. See the photographs.
Check out the most talked-about new book, Sins of the Press: The Untold Story of The Boston Globe's Reporting on Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church (Amazon.com)]