Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 1, 2006
Evangelize the secular media
Legion of Christ spokesman explains the pervasive liberal bias in the press
By GLEN ARGAN
Catholics should not expect the media to understand the Church on their own. The media needs to be evangelized seven days a week, says the head of communications for the Legion of Christ.
North American media report on the Church like a political campaign, complete with liberals vs. conservatives, "he said" vs. "she said," Jim Fair told local business people April 19.
Rank and file members of the media are overwhelmingly liberal in their views, he said. While the pope criticizes the dictatorship of relativism in the Western world, "The popular media have completely accepted (relativism) as an article of faith."
Fair made his comments to about 25 people at the St. Peter Speaks lecture series for Catholic business and other community leaders at the Marriott Hotel.
Fair is the Chicago-based director of media and communications for the Legion of Christ (an order of priests) and its lay movement Regnum Christi. He writes a regular column in the National Catholic Register, a U.S. weekly newspaper owned and operated by the Legion. Previously, he held high-level positions for 23 years in corporate communications for BP Amoco Oil.
In his talk, he drew sharp lines between liberals and conservatives in society on issues ranging from abortion to the role of business.
The media perspective is that anything liberal is good and compassionate, he said. "Anyone - or institution - that doesn't agree with these views is old-fashioned, insensitive, mean-spirited."
Politics - not prayer
He illustrated his point by saying the major media coverage last year of the election of a successor to Pope John Paul II was similar to the coverage of a political campaign.
Conservatives were pitted against liberals, Third World cardinals versus those from Europe and North America, he said. "It was kind of like a cloakroom in the back where people were cutting deals."
The notion that the cardinal electors would be guided by the Holy Spirit, prayer and universal truth was beyond the comprehension of reporters, Fair said.
He quoted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's analysis of the Second Vatican Council: "The council wanted to mark the transition from a protective to a missionary attitude. Many forget that for the council, the counter-concept to 'conservative' is not 'progressive' but 'missionary.'"
"This is not about changing the truth," Fair said. "It is about understanding the truth and getting the truth out to society."
"I bristle at the whole concept about being a liberal Catholic or a conservative Catholic," he said. "As a Catholic, I try to look to the pope and bishops for direction.
"It's not hard to figure out what the Catholic position is on anything. You can look it up in the book."