For many years at TheMediaReport.com, we have been saying that SNAP and its leadership – so beloved by the media for its constant bashing of the Catholic Church – was little more than a contingency lawyer front group disguised as a victim support group.
Then along came Gretchen Hammond.
A few weeks ago, Hammond, a former director of development at SNAP, filed a blockbuster retaliatory lawsuit against SNAP alleging that SNAP was funded by illicit kickbacks from plaintiff lawyers like Jeff Anderson, had little or no regard for actual abuse victims, and was driven by an ideological hatred of the Catholic Church. What's more, Hammond had a trove of internal SNAP documents to substantiate all of her claims.
Almost immediately, National Director David Clohessy resigned, claiming that that he really resigned weeks earlier but forgot to tell anyone about it. Then, last week, SNAP's very founder, Barbara Blaine, announced her resignation, claiming too that it was in the works and had nothing to do with Hammond's lawsuit. Uh-huh.
Better late than never
In the wake of Clohessy's and Blaine's resignations, we are happy to report that some in the mainstream media have finally acknowledged SNAP's questionable operations and sleazy connections to plaintiff lawyers.
While reporting on the demise of SNAP and its leadership, most of the media did note Hammond's lawsuit and the unusual timing of the resignations. Kudos to the coverage from The Daily Beast and the video interview of Hammond by NBC affiliate WMAQ in Chicago:
Wall of shame
Sadly, however, many in the media downplayed or outright whitewashed Hammond's lawsuit in the coverage of Clohessy's and Blaine's resignations. Some journalists, who for years have practiced extreme cynicism when it came to any statement by Church officials, were happy to suspend their cynicism when it came to Clohessy's and Blaine's explanations for their sudden departures in the wake of Hammond's lawsuit.
Of particular note is the coverage of Mark Mueller at the New Jersey Star-Ledger, who blithely accepted Clohessy's explanation that he resigned in part due to "high cholesterol" (yes, really).
Following closely behind Mueller are Jim Salter at the Associated Press and David Gibson at Religion News Service, both of whom largely sidestepped Hammond's lawsuit and swallowed Clohessy's and Blaine's nonsensical reasons for their departures.
Oh. And, of course, Laurie Goodstein and the New York Times – who have practically acted like publicists for SNAP for the past two decades – have completely ignored the entire story.
Same as it ever was.