US News: Anti-Catholic, Fact-Challenged Screed Is 'Fair Commentary'

In response to US News and World Report Publishes Vicious Anti-Catholic Screed, Inflaming Readers:

In a weak statement released Friday evening, US news and World Report editor Brian Kelly, finally responded to the deluge of criticism the news site received following syndicated columnist Jamie Stiehm’s offensive, anti-Catholic rant.

Perceived bias on the court is a legitimate issue that U.S. News & World Report has covered for many years, from many perspectives. Our Opinion section has published pieces on the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage from all sides of the debate and, just this week, included pieces from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of New York and Concerned Women for America. We are committed to publishing a diversity of views on a variety of topics. Jamie Stiehm’s piece is within the bounds of fair commentary. We have run letters rebutting the piece and will continue to feature a diversity of opinions on this topic and others.

It’s good to know that US News considers blatant Anti-Catholicism simply “diversity of views.” Would this same publication run an oped by Fred Phelps, or David Duke, or Anjem Choudary? 

As Deacon Greg Kandra of the Deacon’s Bench said, “We will eagerly await, then, thoughtful and penetrating essays in the pages of U.S. News & World Report that belittle Jews, mock Muslims, sneer at African Americans, taunt gays and deride any chosen ethnic, racial or religious minority.”

Elizabeth Scalia, writing at Patheos, argued that US News needs to come clean with their readers about their tolerance for hateful screeds in the name of diversity.

Their readership certainly deserves to know what they stand for, and if U.S. News is going to embrace such a radical editorial policy, they might as well put it out there and say, “yes, we would be just as content with Stiehm’s column if she had expressed exactly these sentiments about Lesbians, or Jews, or African Americans, or Gay men, or Muslims, because we agree that there are some kinds of people who simply should not be trusted to participate in American governance, and it’s time to stop being so politically correct and say it.”

But Scalia suspects (and I agree) that that standard exists for only one group.  

…if America is headed — as I believe she is — to a more statist, over-controlled place, then someone in the press was going to have to begin identifying the officially unacceptable people, so the rest of the country could start falling in line (or standing in them), convinced that they know who the real enemy is. I would have laid odds on the New York Times getting to it first, but then U.S. News always has always had an upstart vibe to them.

Still, if I’m surprised by the outlet, I always knew that the acceptable enemy would, in the end, be the Catholics. To paraphrase Luther, we stand where we stand, and can do no other.

Commenters at US News are unanimously panning Kelly’s feeble statement, rejecting the notion that Stiehm’s screed was “fair commentary.” 

As Hugh Brennan wrote, “sorry, but until you have piece about the disproportionate influence of Jews on the court, I’ll call you a bigot and a liar.”


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