Sunday redux

Dateline: Mon 26 Jan 2009

Here is a comment from a blog reader about Sunday's Indianapolis Star:

"There are more IndyStar reporters on the Miss America from Indiana thing than covered legislative happenings this past week.

It deserves to die."


But then, I fully ackowledge that I puzzled over the lead Page 1 "Star watch" investigative story re: a former Roman Catholic priest Harry Monroe. What was the news value? The Star had obtained "new documents" via a court order indicated that Catholic bishops and the higher-ups in the Indianapolis archdiocese knew about allegations against Monroe "as early as 1976." So? This is new news?

While Star staff reporter/religion writer Robert King does provide a chilling paper trail of concerns and treatment efforts, I fail to see how this particular story advances what is already a well-known and well-documented and unfortunate history in the church: the cover-up by bishops of priests who were in fact pedophiles or ephebopphiles (those who prefer sex with adolescents aged 15-19).

The story did note that 13 lawsuits against the former priest and the archdiocese have been filed since 2005, but there is no information about the progress of those lawsuits.

My point? I suspect an editor had an agenda in the story, and the news has not been as thoroughly reported as it could have been. I also suspect that the Star, sensitive to charges of anti-Catholicism, has predictably allowed the reporter to write a blog entry about a "good priest," the Rev. Tom Fox. King's story about Fox's jail ministry is on the Star's web page.

Good balance, or cynical journalism?

All that said, far more egregious were the almost unintelligible on-line comments from Star readers regarding the priest story. Where are these readers coming from? A story about problems with a priest and a church has produced a dialog -- and that is far too gracious a word -- about the Holocaust and other unrelated topics. As pathetic as the logic is, the spelling is even worse....

Oh, for a real newspaper in by good editors and reporters, not Gannett, with its always transparent crass agenda of selling.


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