Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Catholic Courier’s Comment Policy (Diocesan Controlled Media)

May 15th, 2011, Promulgated by benanderson

If you’ve ever attempted to leave a comment on the Catholic Courier’s website, you’ll find that your comment is judged against some pretty strict criteria to determine whether it merits publication on their site.  I’ve left a few comments from time to time – some have made it through while others haven’t.  I always try to be respectful, but don’t hold back my opinions.  I’ve also never had any luck with their subscribe button.  So, if I’ve wanted to follow up to see if my comment actually made it through, I have to make a note to myself to check back in a few days.  On September 13th 2010, I contacted Karen Franz (General Manager/Editor of the Catholic Courier) asking her what their comment policy was so I wouldn’t waste my time writing comments that wouldn’t get published.  She responded with a long, convoluted policy which seemed to me rather at odds with Bishop Clark’s continually expressed desire of wanting to truly “listen” to his people (especially outsiders).  I would post that policy, but Karen mentioned it was an informal policy meant only to help me as an author of comments.  Their official comment policy was still working it’s way through the attorney’s office.  Over the last couple of weeks, I went through the routine again.  I had left a couple of innocuous comments which included links (one comment linked to this site – another linked to Elizabeth Scalia’s site).  When inquiring of Karen why my comments were not published, she said I violated the part of the policy that restricts “linking out to anything other than a recognized news (vs. opinion) site”.  I responded by asking a few questions (red text was not in my message)

  1. Does the “strictly news reporting” restriction apply only to the article being linked or the entire site on which the link exists?
  2. Do you have criteria for what constitutes “strictly news reporting”?
  3. Does the Catholic Courier publish anything other than “strictly news reporting”? [what I’m wondering between questions #1 and #3 is if a link to catholiccourier.com is permitted in a comment on a catholiccourier.com article]
  4. Are you aware of any other online media that enforces a similar policy?
  5. May I have an official public statement from you in regard to the CatholicCouriers’s comment policy on one of my opinion friendly websites?

She responded by saying their comment policy remains under review.  When the policy is ready, it will posted it on their site (this is now 8 months after my initial inquiry).

In the spirit of not wanting to be misinterpreted – let me clarify.  The Catholic Courier does some really great work.  They have some really talented writers.  Besides what I believe to be an archaic and controlling comment policy, I think there is also a problem with a lack of the “freedom of the press”.  Where can one get the full and balanced story of the Diocese of Rochester?  The Catholic Courier is controlled by and funded (through a mandatory parish tax) by the diocese.  When they attempt to tackle a real issue, such as they did with their somewhat recent Polarization series, it is left completely one-sided.  One gets a sense that they were almost written by left-leaning Bishop Clark and Fr. Hart.  If one turns to the local media outlets like the D&C or TV news, you’re left with a major simplification of complex issues (usually along of the lines of “The Catholic Church continues to decline because of it’s clinging to old and tired ways”).  We certainly express opinions here at CleansingFire, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we truly desire to serve and tell the truth – nothing else.  Here I’ll fall back on a comment Mike made that actually made it through the CC’s comment policy (link and all):

Mr. Latona quotes from an article by the late Father John Hardon, S.J. I find it interesting that this article ends with the following words:

“The holder of the Petrine Office is the direct descendent of Peter to whom were handed the keys of the kingdom. His mandate is clear; our duty as Roman Catholics is to adhere to both the letter and the Spirit as the Holy Father delineates them for us, not pick and choose those aspects of Catholicism more to our liking. As 2 John 9 reminds us, anyone who ‘does not remain rooted in the teaching of Christ does not possess God, while anyone who remains rooted in the teaching possesses both Father and the Son.'”

I know of no local blogger who wants anything more – or less! – than this.

 

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10 Responses to “Catholic Courier’s Comment Policy (Diocesan Controlled Media)”

  1. avatar Scott W. says:

    It’s quite simple. Like Robocop, they have a secret Directive Four: no commentary offered by a Cleansing Fire shall be published no matter how trenchant and edifying.

  2. avatar Dr. K says:

    I have an idea to throw out there… How about if your comment is rejected by the Courier, and it isn’t something completely off the wall or heterodox, we will print it here at Cleansing Fire so that your voice can be heard.

    Thoughts?

  3. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    great idea, Dr K.

  4. avatar Anonymous says:

    Why? You guys censor opinions too.

  5. avatar Dr. K says:

    Why? You guys censor opinions too.

    We’re not going to allow posts, like your comment from a few days ago, which call the bishop an ape.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    I have never had Cleansing fire reject any of my postings— even though some are in opposition to the majority of the opinions posted on the site.

    I think there should be a commentary section.

  7. avatar Scott W. says:

    We’re not going to allow posts, like your comment from a few days ago, which call the bishop an ape.

    Exactly. No one here disputes that the Courier ought to censor some stuff. The dispute is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why Ben’s comments don’t pass muster.

  8. avatar Mike says:

    “On September 13th 2010 … Their official comment policy was still working it’s way through the attorney’s office.”

    That was 8 months ago! Someone needs to check that attorney for a pulse.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    But theis newspapre allows dissent with all the baggage but it does not tolerate criticism of dissent or of the dissenters. A real kangaroo court!

  10. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I posted a comment to 2 separate articles (as far from controversial as could be) earlier this week (Tues I think) and neither have been posted. Maybe the moderator is just out to lunch.


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