The American Media and the New Pope

The American media and the new pope: that is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" Memo.

Last night, we promised you analysis of how the elite media handled the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to pope. Let's run it down. The New York Times did five articles, four with negative headlines, and mentioned that the new pope is conservative 18 times. In case you missed the first 17 mentions, they threw in the 18th to make sure you got the message. The Times had two opinion columns, one negative, one positive. Wall Street Journal was basically neutral-positive about the pope, but The L.A. Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe were all negative on the editorial page.

Cokie Roberts (search) on "Nightline" was negative. "The CBS Evening News" was very negative, calling Pope Benedict "an arch conservative, an unswerving hardliner, and a polarizing figure."

But The New York Times outdid "The CBS Evening News" in hard news coverage, calling the pope "uncompromising, bland, upsetting, divisive and an enforcer." At one point, I thought I was reading about John Gotti (search).

But the cheapest shot was taken by Times columnist Maureen Dowd (search), who wrote, "Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler youth."

Wow. The Third Reich seizes Vatican City? Well not exactly. According to a book by Vatican reporter John Allen, membership in the Hitler youth was mandatory in Bavaria (search) where Ratzinger grew up and after he was drafted into the German army at age 16, he deserted. -- But Miss Dowd neglected to mention that. And therein lies the problem with the elite media.

It simply will not report fairly. It's far more interested in demonizing those with whom it disagrees than providing you accurate information.

Now I enjoy reading Maureen Dowd. She doesn't have to resort to dishonest tactics. She's smart enough to make her points honestly.

By the way, the inquisition ended in 1820.-- Somebody better tell Maureen.

So once again, the media pack has met at the Kool-aid stand and launched a jihad against another dreaded conservative. Did anyone mention that the new pope, I should say, is conservative?

"Talking Points" remains appalled by the steep decline in standards in American journalism. It is fine for Ms. Dowd and others to object to the new pope, but do it fairly, for God's sake.

And that's "The Memo."

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day"...

As you may now, Ann Coulter (search) is "Time" magazine's cover subject this week, but Ann is not happy. She says the picture is unflattering, and she's right. Taken with a distorted lens, it naturally distorts how Ms. Coulter really looks.

My question is, why does "Time" and other publications do stuff like this? You may remember Newsweek (search) put a phony body below Martha Stewart's face recently.

The article on Ms. Coulter is fair and interesting. Why does "Time" have to muck it up with a foolish and unfair photo? It's ridiculous, and I don't blame Ann Coulter for being teed off.

I—You can watch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel. Send your comments to: