By Tom Quiner

Terrorist plot against Pope Benedict XVI?

Five men were arrested in London early this morning accused of plotting an attack on Pope Benedict XVI. This is a big, breaking story. Details will be unfolding today. What is interesting is how CNN and Fox News’ websites have treated the story.

CNN’s headline is:  “Arrests amid pope’s visit to London.”

We don’t know what the arrests are about. Are they simply rowdy protesters? The word ‘pope’ is printed in lowercase, a way of downplaying the significance of the title. Lowercase is used throughout the news report.

Fox News’ headline is:  “Five Men Arrested in UK Over Potential Threat to Pope.”

Their headline suggest violence was intended.

CNN’s report leads with a paragraph about the sex abuse scandal. The second paragraph acknowledges that five men were arrested on suspicion of terrorism. Immediately, the reader wants to know who the terrorists are?  The report doesn’t say. It immediately veers back to coverage of the sex abuse scandal.

Fox News leads with details about the arrests.  It gives the ages of the five men arrested.  It reports that the men were apparently of Arabic origin, a huge piece of news, omitted by CNN’s early coverage of this story.

The entire story in the Fox News report involved the terror threat, not the sex abuse scandal.

CNN seemed strangely disinterested in the threat on the Pope, but acutely interested in rehashing the abuse scandal.

Over at the DEBKAfile, an award-winning website recognized by Forbes Magazine as “best of the web,” their headline was stunning: “Al Qaeda threat to murder Pope foiled in London.”  This Jerusalem-based, English language website, gives even more information, that the men arrested were not British nationals, but in fact Algerians. As a side note, ‘Pope” was capitalized in their headline.

Al-Quaea plotted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1999.  As reported in the Times of London on November 11, 2002:

THE POPE has been told that the al-Qaeda terrorists who masterminded the September 11 attacks in the United States planned to assassinate him during his tour of the Philippines.

The attack never took place because the Pope [note the capitalization] called off the visit in 1999 through ill-health.

Islamic terrorists have an ongoing goal to kill the leader of the Christian world. Why does CNN downplay such a big story? In fairness, this is breaking news.  Perhaps they’re understaffed.  Perhaps their coverage will pick up as the day progresses.


Watch how the various media outlets cover (or don’t cover) this story.

In the meantime, pray for the safety of Pope Benedict as he travels into hostile territory.

No Comments

  1. Nick on September 17, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I think the paragraph you refer to as the leading paragraph in the CNN report is an advertisement for a CNN show on what the Pope knew about the sex abuse crisis and when he knew it. The actual report begins with the city the story is being reported from.

    I read the CNN piece and found it to be about two things: (1) a potential plot against the Pope, including a statement by a Vatican spokesman that the arrests were “precautionary measures”; and (2) the Pope’s trip to England. The sex abuse crisis was only referred to in part 2, largely in the Pope’s own words, and was relevant because the Pope talked about it yesterday.

  2. maxine bechtel on September 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    This instance is clearly Media Bias? If a leading figure in any other religious group (say, Muslim, for instances,) all the talking heads in Big Media would be hashing and re-hashing and castigating all those “infidels” for their bigotry! HOW can any honest person even work for the so-called “mainstream” media?Thankfully Fox DOES try to be “fair and balanced!”

  3. Monte Gray on September 20, 2010 at 7:37 am

    On 1-19-10 I read a AP posting advising that all members of the alleged plot against the pope had been interviewed and released. It’s probably well that CNN did not go overboard with this “alleged” plot, unlike Fox News who’s mantra of course is “fair and balanced news!” Thats why I try to avoid TV news cast, and get my news from the Newspapers, and Associated Press notices on my website. That way I’m not subjected to “the sky is falling” news casts we get from TV!

  4. D Paul on March 11, 2011 at 10:42 am

    There is no doubt of the bias of CNN. They are a “mouthpiece” for a secular religion in the United States. Many Catholic bishops “worship at their altar”.

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