NBC has its chief news anchor go rogue, and instead of commissioning an independent investigation, it does an in-house probe. Just as bad, it keeps the report secret. Now consider its reporting on the Catholic Church.
- On 5-18-11, it reported that an independent investigation of the Church’s priest abuse scandal was flawed because the data provided to John Jay College came from the Church
- On 11-9-11, it said the Church was an institution of “secrecy”
- On 2-25-13, it commented on a “secret dossier” given to the pope
- On 2-26-13, it reported that “The pope decided that an internal report on that scandal [Vatileaks] would remain a secret….”
- On 3-7-13, it said “secrecy has become a top priority for Vatican officials”
- On 3-8-13, it quoted a journalist who said it was “dangerous” to expose Vatican “secrets” because some guy told him that its cameras were “so powerful they can even read the lips of people”
- On 10-1-13, it said the Vatican bank issued a report on its annual accounts “to boost transparency” and “rebuild its reputation”
- On 2-5-14, it said the U.N. issued a report on the Church’s “code of silence” in handling abuse cases. But it did not say that the 15-page report contained not a single footnote or endnote, nor did it say that the U.N. insisted that the Church change its teaching on abortion and other issues
Just yesterday, Fox News reported that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a panel to investigate sexual offenses against children committed by U.N. peace-keeping forces. NBC did not report on it. On May 21, I issued an open letter to Secretary Ban calling him to finally implement the “zero tolerance” policy that the U.N. adopted in 2004—after the U.S. bishops adopted one—or stop badgering the Holy See.
NBC cannot have it both ways: It cannot demand transparency from the Vatican while keeping secret its internal probes.
Contact Deborah Turness, President, NBC News: firstname.lastname@example.org