On April 17, after addressing the Catholic Church’s failure to act responsibly in handling the sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the social context in which the scandal took place, asking, “What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?” CNN’s Lou Dobbs took issue with the pope’s words and blasted him on two separate occasions. Following Dobbs’ outburst, Bill Donohue challenged him to a debate. Here is what Dobbs said on April 17:

· “The idea that the pope would come here and criticize the United States this way is, I think, first of all bad manners. I don’t care if you’re infallible [sarcastically].”

· “It is absolutely out of all proportion with the world scale. The most welcoming nation, the most generous nation on the face of the earth. And for the pope to have this attitude and to make these comments is, in my opinion, absolutely repugnant.”

· “It seems to me that if one is going to reach to the level that he did, you have to have some moral standing for it. And what has been happening to this Church… seems to leave open his standing, cleaning up his own house.”

On April 19, Dobbs bashed the pope again:

· “Well, he’s in America, partner. And you know what, when we’re in Rome, we’ll do as Rome does. But when Rome comes to America, how about a little salute and stay out of our politics.”

· “I don’t care if he listens or not, but I’m going to send him the message [of staying out of politics] because I really don’t appreciate the bad manners of a guest telling me in this country and my fellow citizens what to do.”

What Dobbs didn’t mention was that  magazine (the flagship publication of Time Warner—the parent company of CNN) ran a cover story entitled “Why the Pope Loves America.” During a speech at the White House (given before Dobbs’ outbursts) the pope praised Americans for their charity saying, “America has traditionally shown herself generous in meeting immediate human needs, fostering development and offering relief to the victims of natural catastrophes.” If the pope was so accusatory of the United States, how does Dobbs explain this?

Furthermore, what the transcripts of Dobbs’ remarks don’t reveal is the sarcastic and insulting tone he delivered them in. In a news release Donohue said, “Dobbs can either apologize for his offensive remarks, or he can invite me on his show to debate him.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email