Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Pope, Bush, and the Media

Arriving a couple of hours ago in Rome, President Bush is leading the high profile American delegation including the first lady, SecState Rice and Presidents Clinton and Bush 41 to the Vatican for Pope JP II's funeral. Here's how AFP reported the President's visit to the Vatican to pay his respects:

"US President George W. Bush knelt before the body of Pope John Paul II, rendering homage in Saint Peter's Basilica to one of the leading critics of the US-led war on Iraq.
...

"Although the two leaders clashed over the US-led war in Iraq, Bush hailed the pontiff earlier this week as a "great world leader."

The lede graph just says it all about the international media, whether it be Agence France-Presse, Reuters, the BBC, or the AP for that matter. Is it really necessary to make the point about JP II's opposition to the war in the first line (and again later in the story)? Why don't they say, if they want to include the pope's politics, "...rendering homage to the fiercely anti-communist pontiff who was seen as instrumental in helping to bring about communism's demise in the 1980s"? Or, if they want to stick with Bush's politics, they could have said something about the pope's social conservative teachings on gay marriage, abortion, and morality. But, mustering a semblance of respect for the pope, the news agencies (who would trash both the pope and Bush if they could) take the cheap swipe at Bush. No big surprise, just kind of annoying.

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