The Catholic League got off to a fast start in 2011, clashing heads with the Huffington Post only a few days after the start of the year. After we registered a complaint with the Huffington Post about an erroneous quote attributed to the Catholic League, the decision was made to correct the record and to strike the false claim from the article.
It all started on January 5, when Huffington Post writer Michele Somerville wrote a piece about New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. Somerville, a professed Catholic who holds a deep seated animus towards the Church, said she likes Andrew Cuomo because he is like his father—a “protest Catholic.” By that she meant someone who identifies himself as Catholic, yet defies the teachings of the Church. In the case of the elder Cuomo, she cited his pro-abortion position. What she likes about Andrew Cuomo is more chic: “I love that my new governor stepped up to the altar of the Lord with confidence and received the Sacrament of the Eucharist with his beloved [an unmarried woman with whom he lives] and three daughters in tow.”
Speaking of the two Cuomos, Somerville wrote, “There is no other morally responsible way to be Roman Catholic.” That’s because she despises their religion, which she said is “propped up by corruption and tyranny,” and was partly built by “hegemony and brutality.”
Somerville also said that the Catholic League “classifies men like Andrew Cuomo (who divorce and continue to receive the sacraments) ‘self-excommunicated Catholics.’” Thus she flatly lied. Indeed, in a New York Daily News story, Frank Lombardi correctly wrote, “Even outspoken Catholic activist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League passed on a chance to decry what some religious conservatives would deem ‘living in sin.’ Donohue declined to be interviewed, saying through a spokesman, ‘We’re not one to pass judgment’ on how people conduct their personal life ‘or how people celebrate their religion.’” Somerville even provided a link to the Daily News article in her piece.
Soon after our release was issued, we received a call from a Huffington Post editor informing us that Somerville removed the lie about the Catholic League from her article. There was one area of contention, however, regarding the link to the Daily News article. Somerville contended that it was a different story on the same topic, we contended that the story Donohue was quoted as not taking a position on Cuomo was cited as a “related story,” making it implausible that Somerville never read it, and she put quote marks around a statement that we never made.
This fast result was accomplished in no small part by the efforts of our members who moved so judiciously to contact the Internet site.