On May 13, New York Times reporter Paul Vitello spent most of the day with Bill Donohue. He even followed him to the Time Warner Center for a live interview Donohue did for CNN. The result was an article on May 15 that featured three big color photos of the Catholic League president in his office.
Donohue issued a news release about the article the day it was published. He asked for a retraction regarding two errors: a quote attributed to him about “Angels & Demons” was never uttered by Donohue; and Susan Fani, the director of communications, was identified as his “assistant.” Fani is also a spokesman for the Catholic League (Vitello’s article said Donohue was the only spokesman).
The article gave the impression that the Catholic League has no connection to the Catholic Church. Yet as Donohue pointed out to Vitello, we are listed in the Official Catholic Directory. The article also said we have 50,000 members when, in fact, Donohue said we have a base of 50,000 households as our most reliable donors, and hundreds of thousands of others who contribute here and there.
Some liked the piece, while others did not. One thing is for sure: the kind of publicity it gave the Catholic League is something every advocacy organization would be pleased to have.