NY Times Misleads Readers, Carries Water for SNAP

The New York Times' Laurie Goodstein

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is slowly being exposed as the dishonest and mean-spirited organization that is it, and this reality appears to be upsetting the New York Times.

Today's paper (Tue., 3/13/12) has plastered a front-page article by religion editor Laurie Goodstein that is largely a sympathetic portrait of the anti-Catholic organization.

Goodstein's narrative is predictable: Big Catholic Church: bad and mean. Little-ol' SNAP: innocent and good.

Goodstein ignores SNAP's lengthy history of deception and nastiness. For example, Goodstein writes:

"[I]n 2002, American bishops met at their conference in Dallas with [SNAP] members who gave emotional testimony about the toll of the abuse. But relations have deteriorated since then, and SNAP members say bishops now refuse to meet with them."

Goodstein does not divulge the very obvious reasons why most bishops rightfully shun SNAP. The organization's relentless malice – which we have extensively chronicled – makes it impossible to collaborate with the group.

For example, as her own paper reported in 2010, then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, when he was in Milwaukee, was making a parish visit when a SNAP member spat in the archbishop's face.

The SNAP member then roared that he would not be silent “until there was a ‘going out of business’ sign in front of every Catholic parish, church, school and outreach center,” according to Dolan.

“That’s when I knew I should have listened to those who told me that working with [SNAP] would not be helpful,” recalled the cleric.

Then, as recently as a month-and-a-half ago, SNAP's national director David Clohessy awfully suggested that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, was faking his painful cancer and dementia to avoid testifying at a trial. Bevilacqua passed away in his sleep less than 36 hours after Clohessy made his repulsive and inflammatory remark. (A coroner later determined that the cleric had "significant preexisting natural disease" and "fairly advanced" dementia.)

Clohessy has never apologized for his awful statement.

Does Goodstein wonder why "bishops now refuse to meet with them"? We hope not.

Goodstein also misleads her readers by mitigating the open defiance of court orders and subversion of the law by David Clohessy.

For decades, SNAP's director has incessantly railed against Catholic Church officials for alleged "lack of transparency," "hardball tactics," and "avoiding tough questions," Meanwhile, despite the order by a judge, Clohessy has steadfastly refused to answer relevant questions and turn over mandated documents for an important abuse case in Missouri.

Hypocrisy? Absolutely, but Goodstein fails to note this.

Indeed, as Goodstein reports, SNAP and Clohessy have recently attempted to defend itself against court orders to provide important information by claiming it falls under the privacy protections of a "rape crisis center." But lawyers have effectively shredded this defense. (SNAP has never promoted itself as a "rape crisis center"; SNAP has no licensed counselors; Clohessy works out of his home and has no formal training as a counselor; the list goes on and on.)

And here is the photo that accompanies today's article in the Times:

This is a "rape crisis center"? This filthy basement? C'mon …

[A final note: Goodstein writes that the text of the deposition that Clohessy gave in January was "made public on March 2." No, it wasn't. It was made public for the first time here on TheMediaReport.com on March 1. Clohessy did not want people to see his deposition, and it is highly unlikely that he ever would have released it himself publicly unless we had done so. Now you know.]

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