LA Times focuses on clergy abuse, downplays teacher abuse

LA Times focuses on clergy abuse, downplays teacher abuse

Newsbusters is once again asking, “Is the LA Times anti-Catholic?” The reason they ask is that it has recently published two articles railing against the Scandal, but has buried similar stories about public institutions.

For example, the Times ran an article on the Christ in the Hills monastery in Texas and a sex-abuse scandal there, which I blogged about recently, but it isn’t until more than halfway through the article that we’re told that the monastery is not Catholic, but affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Yet, until that point we’re given the distinct impression that this is part of the Catholic Church’s sex-abuse scandal.

Similarly, last November, the newspaper ran a front-page story with several photos and more than 3,800 words on clergy sex-abuse three decades ago in two remote villages in Alaska. Newsbusters asks why all the attention? Certainly, it is a tragic story, and if the newspaper had a track record of dealing with the Scandal evenhandedly no one would look askance.

But in fact, when the scandal involves teachers in taxpayer-funded government schools, it’s a different story. Nearly literally.

Last month, a substitute teacher who worked in 13 Southern California school districts reportedly told police he molested between 100 and 200 girls. Here is a story in the paper’s backyard, yet the Los Angeles Times reported the story (August 5, 2006) on page B3 with 723 words, less than one fifth of the word total of the story thousands of miles away and decades ago in Alaska. (And, yes, it was also fewer words than we had about Texas today.)

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Domenico Bettinelli

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