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Saturday, April 25, 2009
Conflict of Interest: CNS Hides MRC's Link to Conservative Catholic Group

An April 24 Washington Independent article describes the Cardinal Newman Society -- a conservative Catholic group that's spearheading opposition to President Obama giving a commencement speech at Notre Dame -- as "loosely affiliated with the conservative Media Research Center, whose president L. Brent Bozell III serves on the Cardinal Newman Society’s board of directors," adding: "–which, like the Cardinal Newman Center, is directed by L. Brent Bozell–published an enterprise piece asking whether the president would agree to wear the official robes at Notre Dame, since they are threaded with a prayer."

But CNS has never told its readers about the ties between it and the Cardinal Newman Society.

A search of the CNS archive reveals that 11 CNS articles or columns (as of this writing) dating back to 2004 promote or reference claims made by the Cardinal Newman Society. None of them, however, mention Bozell's link to both CNS and the society.

Further, none of the CNS articles accurately describe the society's place on the liberal-conservative scale. A March 24 article by Edwin Mora, for example, describes it only as "a group dedicated to promoting fidelity to Catholic teachings at Catholic universities in the United States." Another article notes only that the group "is not an official organ of the Church."

Similarly, a search of the archive at the MRC-operated NewsBusters finds three posts referencing the Cardinal Newman Society -- none of which disclose Bozell's connection to it.

CNS has normally been conscientious in disclosure when promoting ties to the MRC when promoting the causes of other MRC divisions. It's unclear why it has refused to do so regarding the Cardinal Newman Society.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:05 AM EDT

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