Catholic League president William Donohue today accused Newsday columnist Jimmy Breslin of seeking to malign the Catholic League. Breslin called Donohue today making wild accusations. Donohue explains what happened:
“Jimmy Breslin called this morning around 9:30 a.m. asking to see the office of the Catholic League. He said he wanted to know how many members we have and who funds the league. I told him he could check out our website and consult the article by Winnie Hu in the New York Times that covered everything he needed to know. When I told him we had thousands of members in the New York area, it came as no surprise to learn that he never met one of them; league members are practicing Catholics.
“Less than a minute into the conversation, Breslin exploded. Screaming at the top of his lungs, he charged I was no different than Placa; the reference was to Msgr. Alan Placa, the Rockville Centre priest who has been implicated in the sexual abuse scandal.
“For many years now, I have been called by scores of journalists for interviews and have unfailingly honored them. But never has any of them, or anyone else, ever put me in the same category with a man who has had three accusations of sexual abuse made against him by adolescent boys. Breslin is the only person ever to have made such a wild accusation.
“Shortly after Breslin’s outburst, I called Newsday editor Anthony Marro. I told him that Breslin would not be welcome in my office because it was obvious that the man was utterly incapable of rendering an objective account. Marro was cordial as usual.
“The Catholic League is open to fair criticism. But what we are not open to is someone whose disdain for all things Catholic has distorted his vision of reality. We only deal with journalists who demonstrate professionalism and sobriety of thought. Breslin is not one of them.”