More thoughts on the [i]Globe[/i] hit piece on orthodox Catholics

More thoughts on the [i]Globe[/i] hit piece on orthodox Catholics

The more I look at Charles Pierce’s article in the Globe magazine on Sunday, the more some disturbing thoughts pop up. First, it’s obvious this was a contracted hit piece. Someone decided that it was time to smear the conservative Catholics and perhaps even to throw a split in there between the neocons (represented by Deal Hudson) and the paleocons (represented by Fr. McCloskey).

Notice who receives not one word of criticism or approbation: the bishops. Not even those bishops known to be friendly toward conservatives. I wonder why that is.

But the most glaring and shocking part of the article, at least to me as a journalist, is what Pierce does to Deal Hudson.

Deal Hudson does not like John McCloskey. Before saying anything about him, and nothing that’s good, Hudson turns off a reporter’s tape recorder. After all, if one is trying to simultaneously renew the universal church and build a conservative Catholic political movement out of the ashes of scandal, it does not help to have someone baptizing leading political conservatives while waxing affably about the religious dissolution of the country.

This paragraph should shock every reporter, conservative or liberal, secular or religious. When someone who is interviewed tells you something off the record, it is off the record. But Pierce breaks that trust and reveals what Hudson says anyway. Either Hudson said something so shocking about McCloskey that Pierce couldn’t resist hinting at it (unlikely, I think, considering their shared history) or Pierce’s aim was to discredit both Hudson and McCloskey and this was his clumsy attempt to take them both down. I think it is a major breach of professional ethics for Pierce to reveal what Hudson said here and I’m surprised the Globe published it. And I’ll be surprised if Pierce doesn’t take flack from his colleagues for weakening the wall of trust between reporters and their sources. After all, I don’t think anyone Pierce interviews from now on will trust him to keep anything off the record.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli