Media discover Planned Parenthood is controversial

Earlier this week, I noted the surprisingly restrained coverage of the Obama Administration’s mandate that religious institutions provide health insurance that includes subsidized contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if that coverage would violate their religious beliefs and consciences. Even when Catholic bishops came out en masse against the Health and Human Service’s regulation, the coverage was pretty subdued, if it was even found.

Turns out that the media restraint wasn’t due to lack of interest in abortion or related issues (you probably already knew that). See, on Tuesday, Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced a new policy about which groups it would fund. The prominent breast cancer charity is one of the best funded and most popular charities out there and it has raised and distributed nearly $2 billion in funds for breast cancer research, education, advocacy and health services.

The new policy, which implements more stringent performance criteria, means that Planned Parenthood is not currently eligible to receive funding from the group. Now, Planned Parenthood is, of course, the country’s largest abortion provider, a $1 billion operation that ends about 330,000 pregnancies each year. This makes them unbelievably controversial. That Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammogram services (unless you count referring women to go get mammograms at places that do offer them) made the relationship with Susan G. Komen quite troubling to many people. All of this, however, was apparently completely unknown to the mainstream media.

Allow me to share a brief story. The woman I called my grandma (out of great affection rather than actual familial ties), died of breast cancer in 2004. Her awesome son made a goal of walking in all 14 3-day Susan G. Komen walks in 2011 (a goal that was almost derailed when Grandpa H. died on the eve of one walk in mid-November). He succeeded in that goal and you can read about it here or watch him talk about it here. When he started his fundraising, I offered some ideas and put a note about the goal on Facebook with a link to his donation site. Instantly, I was bombarded with alarmed notes from friends and family. Did I know, they asked, about Komen’s grants to Planned Parenthood? They gave me links and documentation and I shared them with my friend. He felt that the money offered to Planned Parenthood would not go to support abortions and therefore was not a dealbreaker. I could not in good conscience support a group that supported Planned Parenthood, even though I really wanted to support him in honoring his mother. Now, I can (and already have and will continue to do so). See, Planned Parenthood is an extremely controversial organization that inspires strong feelings from those who support it and those who don’t. If you were familiar with Susan G. Komen for the Cure but weren’t familiar with the fact that this funding arrangement was extremely controversial, something is off. If you are currently uncertain about the polarizing or political nature of Planned Parenthood, you might check out the video below, put out by a Planned Parenthood affiliate a few years ago.

And yet the mainstream media apparently only realized that Planned Parenthood was a lightning rod after Komen made changes to their funding policy. I’m not exaggerating. Take this amazing Politico story by Kate Nocera headlined:

Did Susan G. Komen turn itself into a lightning rod?

Turn itself into? Turn itself into? Help me out here. Funding a group that terminates 330,000 pregnancies a year is not controversial but deciding not to fund that same group is? In what world? It’s important to note that Planned Parenthood doesn’t just do abortions. But many of the other things they do — teaching kids about sex through a text-chat program, receiving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, spending high sums on fundraising and public policy to fight political opponents, selling or otherwise distributing contraception and abortifacients — are also controversial. Giving a woman a slip of paper to get a mammogram somewhere else is not controversial, unless by the standard that it’s not sufficient work for scarce breast cancer dollars, but you have to put the controversy in context.

Kate Nocera knows none of this controversy about Planned Parenthood, apparently. Here’s the top of her report:

Susan G. Komen for the Cure says there wasn’t anything political about its decision to stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood.

But in Washington, every decision is political — and now the cancer-fighting organization may have turned itself from a “safe” charity into just another political lightning rod.

It may have ruined its fundraising, too, as its Facebook page filled up with messages from Planned Parenthood supporters promising they’ll never give a dime to the charity again.

There’s a word for so many unsubstantiated uses of the word “may” in the first three sentences of a report and that word is not journalism. It’s unfiltered advocacy. Clueless and unfiltered advocacy. Now, perhaps people who prioritize funding Planned Parenthood over funding Komen’s breast cancer work will lower their funding. People such as myself are only now eligible to fund Komen in light of this week’s reform. Will it all balance out? Will it cause problems? Who knows? But using, of all things, Facebook rants to predict funding streams is not reporting.

Further, only seeing (and deriding) “political pressure” when viewing the issue from one side has colored not just this report but many others. You can probably pick any story at random to see that.

Take this New York Times report that begins:

Pink ribbons have for decades been a symbol of resolve and compassion in the face of the deadly disease of breast cancer. Now, that nearly ubiquitous icon has many women seeing red.

See, there’s this whole chunk of America who have been seeing red about the Planned Parenthood funding Komen for years. Did reporters cover that? I figure they must have, somehow, somewhere, but I don’t recall seeing it. I read a lot about it in the pro-life press. There were the LiveAction stings such as the one embedded above, for instance, although those were in response to Planned Parenthood claims about federal funding. Here’s a USA Today piece on that angle from last year, for instance. Anyway, at the very end of this article, after some dramatic language about betrayal and counter-betrayal do we learn:

Foes of abortion and Web sites critical of it have criticized the Komen foundation’s financing of Planned Parenthood for years. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and several bishops in Ohio issued statements last year raising concerns about donating to the Komen foundation. In December, LifeWay Christian Resources, which is owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, said it was recalling a pink Bible it was selling because a dollar per copy was going to the Komen foundation.

“We are very grateful Susan G. Komen for the Cure will no longer fund Planned Parenthood affiliates,” said Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay.

You don’t say.

It’s just so interesting to me that when millions of Catholics were read letters from their bishops about the HHS mandate targeting Catholic groups, it took days for a few stories to trickle out. When Susan G. Komen announces that roughly $700,000 in grants will be targeted to groups other than Planned Parenthood next year, it couldn’t be bigger news. There are thousands of stories already written. It says something about what the media prioritizes as well as what it considers sacred. There’s an almost religious fervor at play here. Looking at which stories capture that frenzy and fervor are interesting, no?

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  • James

    Well said.

    I just watched the PP video you embedded. It’s so ridiculous it was, honestly, difficult to believe they’d actually put that out themselves. It’s like a bad parody. And in truth, it confirms all the worst stereotypes of them that you’d think they would want to avoid, not propagate. The hero is named for the Greek god of ecstasy and drunkenness? Pro-life demonstrators are ogres that are then murdered? An abstinence proponent is murdered by drowning in a garbage can, after being portrayed as strangely creepy? AND she even admitted that abortion is to keep poor people from having children for the sole purpose of saving the government money?

    I could go on, but the video isn’t the main part of your piece so I’ll quit. I’m just a bit shocked at the brazenness of it, even for Planned Parenthood.

  • Bill

    There is presumption in much of the coverage that Komen is unfairly taking something that PP is entitled to. But it’s Komen’s money, not PP’s. Has Komen stopped funding any other organizations? No story there.

  • Martha

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there objections on the part of some to doctors who were not willing to provide contraception or abortion services themselves, but would recommend patients to other agents who did provide these services?

    The conscience clause was objected to, and it was stated that the rights of the patient over-rode the rights of the doctor? Apparently, not providing the service yourself but referring someone for an examination elsewhere is perfectly fine if it’s Planned Parenthood doing it.

  • Bill

    What James (#1) said.

    I love the disclaimer at the end about how PP welcomes everyone regardless of etc, etc, etc.

  • Martha

    Perhaps someone should send the makers of that video this article by Professor Jerry Coyne.

    Choice is impossible because free will and even the notion of the self is an illusion. We can’t even choose for ourselves what we’re going to eat for breakfast.

    “Psychologists and neuroscientists are also showing that the experience of will itself could be an illusion that evolution has given us to connect our thoughts, which stem from unconscious processes, and our actions, which also stem from unconscious process. We think this because our sense of “willing” an act can be changed, created, or even eliminated through brain stimulation, mental illness, or psychological experiments. The ineluctable scientific conclusion is that although we feel that we’re characters in the play of our lives, rewriting our parts as we go along, in reality we’re puppets performing scripted parts written by the laws of physics.”

    So campaigning for “choice” is nonsensical – and you can’t argue with that, because it’s not religion, it’s science!

  • Jupiter

    “selling or otherwise distributing contraception and abortifacients — are also controversial”

    In what universe is contraception controversial? Not in the universe where 99% of Catholic women use contraception. Maybe your statement stands a better chance of being true on some other planet.

  • Jupiter

    “That Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer mammogram services (unless you count referring women to go get mammograms at places that do offer them) made the relationship with Susan G. Komen quite troubling to many people. ”

    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/womens-health/breast-cancer-screenings-21189.htm

    Face it, you are trying to destroy Planned Parenthood, because 3% of what it does is perform abortions. The fact that this will hurt many people who want mammograms and/or “controversial” contraception doesn’t bother you one bit.

    It appears that being against abortion clouds one’s perception of reality. Either you are lecturing people on a subject you are ignorant about, or you are trying to deceive your readers. Neither possibility would surprise me, over the years, one learns how unprincipled anti-abortion folks are.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jupiter,

    Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms. As for the 3% claim, NPR debunked that last year.

    Everyone,

    Please keep comments focused on media coverage rather than personal support or opposition of Planned Parenthood/abortion/etc.

  • Amy P

    Jupiter,

    I read your source and this is what it says:

    “Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses teach patients about breast care, connect patients to resources to help them get vital biopsies, ultrasounds, and mammograms, and follow up to make sure patients are cared for with the attention they need and deserve.”

    See, they are primarily referring patients for services elsewhere.

  • Jupiter

    One person is talking about abortions as a percentage of services provided, the other is very specifically talking about the percentage of PP clients who receive abortions. So much for the debunking of that claim. It appears that you did not read the transcripts of the actual conversations, only the editorializing by theocrat Jill Stanek.

    Planned Parenthood offers breast cancer screening. That’s the point.

    If you want us to talk about media coverage, it’s useful to stick to facts that are true – it saves people the time necessary to debunk them.

    P.S. The fact that you call contraception controversial kind of takes the shine off your claim that PP is controversial. If contraception is controversial, then whether the moon landing was real is controversial.

  • Mark Baddeley

    The bishops of the Roman Catholic church go to the unprecedented step of having letters read out simultaneously in churches across America over the issue of contraception, and it *still* doesn’t count as controversial?

    There’s the answer to that question as to why the media was nonplussed by the bishops’ action. They were writing for people like Jupiter.

  • Julia

    I read the actual transcripts. There were several people speaking for PP; the last mentioned PP spokesperson said only 3% of their clients receive abortions. NPR corrected that the next day. PP’s own statistics say they have about 3 million clients a year and about 300,000 abortions are performed. That’s 10%.

  • http://friarsfires.blogspot.com Brett

    If the disparity in coverage is as wide as it looks like on first glance — relatively little notice taken of the bishops’ actions but widespread reporting on the Komen decision — that would seem to me to bear out one of the gaps that unfamiliarity with religious life brings into much news coverage today. Both stories tread on the potentially troublesome ground of reproductive issues and policy, but one was acted out primarily in a religious arena and the other was not.

    If I recall correctly, tmatt has frequently referred to the late Peter Jennings’ belief that religion has been a blind spot for a lot of major newspapers and broadcast media outlets and Jennings’ years of lobbying that finally prompted ABC to hire a religion reporter. I wouldn’t say that the coverage levels would be more equal if Jennings were still alive, but I don’t think he would be at all surprised at the source of the gap.

  • Jupiter

    Mark, I suggest that you read what was written, instead of responding to something you just make up. The Catholic bishops weren’t talking about contraception. If they were, because no one listens to them anyway – including 99% of Catholics. They were talking about mandating that Catholic institutions cover contraception.

    On the other hand, Mollie claimed that “selling or otherwise distributing contraception and abortifacients” is controversial. Ironically, in an article blasting the media for not recognizing that PP is controversial. What next, blasting the media for not recognizing that contraception (or the consensus about the moon landing) is controversial?

  • Julia

    In addition to Catholic bishops speaking against contraception, there are many who still think it is unwarranted for the unmarried to be using contraception to enable care-free sex.

    The first S. Ct. cases were about married women wanting to get contraceptives. Once that was settled in their favor, using a “right to privacy” reasoning, the S. Ct. still had later cases addressing the issue of the unmarried and contraception. Believe it or not, not that long ago lots of people didn’t think unmarried people had the same rights of “privacy” as married people.

    In the early 60s it was difficult to find a doctor who would prescribe birth control pills for unmarried people. Today, there are many who don’t think they should be readily available to minors – with or without their parents’ approval.

    Young people are not aware of the big battles that went on over the birth control pill, and that some forms of birth control – such as IUDs – proved to be dangerous.

    There are still controversies about the prescribing and use of contraceptives – beyond what bishops may say.

  • Jupiter

    Julia, once again, straw man. I said that 3% of the services PP provides are abortions, and Mollie tried to debunk that with her link to the theocrat Jill Stanek, which it doesn’t, not in my reading, nor in your description – as your description concerns clients and not services.

  • Jupiter

    Julia (15), I care not if you consider birth control unwarranted, that does not make contraception controversial in any way, shape or form. Much to your annoyance.

    There are probably more people who believe that the moon landing was faked, than people who agree with you. While this is not an indicator of whether you are right or not, it does indicate that it is not controversial.

  • michael

    Jupiter,

    Just one question. If contraception isn’t controversial in any way, shape, or form, why (and with whom) are you arguing so ferociously about it?

  • Jupiter

    Michael:

    Why? I am not arguing about contraception, I am merely pointing out that claims made by people about it being controversial, are wrong. But let’s, for the sake of the argument, assume that I am. If you want to say that any argument taking place anywhere about anything makes something controversial, then everything is controversial. Congratulations, you just made the word meaningless.

    With whom? A tiny minority who would appear marginal in the presence of moon truthers.

  • Mark Baddeley

    Mark, I suggest that you read what was written, instead of responding to something you just make up.

    Why thank you, Jupiter, I appreciate the kind advice. Let’s see where my faux pas was, shall we?

    The Catholic bishops weren’t talking about contraception. If they were, because no one listens to them anyway – including 99% of Catholics. They were talking about mandating that Catholic institutions cover contraception.

    Ah, I see the problem here. It’s one of basic logic.

    For most of us, if the issue the bishops protested was the mandatory coverage of contraception then that is one item in the larger set of “contraception issues”.

    The term “contraception issue” involves a broad set, and it includes many items in it – any provision of contraception, mandatory requirements to provide contraception, any use of contraception, medical issues relating to contraception and the like. The key word is contraception.

    If the Catholic bishops were saying that it violated the conscience of the Church to be forced to provide cover for contraception then how can that not be about contraception and not an indication of how controversial the issue is in that part of society?

    Picking up this:

    If they were, because no one listens to them anyway – including 99% of Catholics.

    Actually, lots of people listen to them. If you look at this study you will see that religiosity among those who self-identify as Catholic does correlate to changes in contraception behavior. As regular attendance and ‘my religion is important to me’ goes up, women or their male partners are more likely to choose a one-off sterilization over and against regular use of other contraception methods.

    While that doesn’t mean that contraception has gone down among Catholics (and that’s an issue for the bishops), it does mean that the bishops have been listened to by more than 1% of Catholics, and hence that contraception is controversial among a wider group of Catholics.

    Catholics clearly do change their contraception practice in light of the Church’s teaching, even if it is in ways that the bishops don’t want. That change, even if it is not a drop, is a signpost that this is controversial in those circles.

    Basic logic, Jupiter, and some attention to the numbers ‘under the hood’ of a figure like 99% of Catholic women “use contraception”.

    And it’s not that much to ask that some of that shapes journalists’ reports.

  • Chris M

    Jupiter,

    Please provide some sort of documentation for your “99%” statistic. Thanks!

  • Chris

    It is important to clarify what constitutes screening, and who should be screened when discussing the impact of Planned Parenthood on breast health. Breast self-examination has not been shown to reduce mortality. Clinical breast examination alone does not rule out breast cancer. At present, the consensus evidence is that women younger than 40 should not have routine screening mammograms, unless there are other risk factors present. Breast cancer is a disease of older women, and is quite rare in women under 30. I suspect the majority of Planned Parenthood clients are not in the age 40(50)-70 age range in which the greatest impact would be seen. However, it would be interesting to know their statistics as to numbers and ages of patients referred for mammography. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/breast/healthprofessional/page1

  • slarrow

    Truth is, the big reason that Planned Parenthood is making such a stink about this is that Komen’s actions help pull the fig leaf away from PP. Planned Parenthood sells abortions. It’s what they’re known for. To diffuse that, they trumpet loudly their connection to “women’s health services” that, as in these cases, they don’t actually provide (given the referral system.) It’s a bit like Phillip Morris getting a contract for Meals on Wheels–only they don’t actually deliver the meals, they just tell them where people live. It’s a PR thing, and this just means a few more of the bubbles popped to show the nakedness beneath.

  • Susan

    Jupiter prefers to make no distinction between “services” — tallying up every mammogram referral and instance of birth control handed out as a “service” to get a large denominator of services to make the number of abortions seem like a small percent of the total services provided, when, in fact, it’s a billion dollar industry and is the bread and butter of PP.

  • Chris

    To hammer on my previous point–how frequent is mammogram referral as a percentage of Planned Parenthood services, and overall how many clients do they refer? Komen for the Cure makes their grants, presumably, with a view to maximizing the impact on mammographic screening and breast health. If Planned Parenthood is seeing the wrong age demographic (which I suspect they are), Komen’s grant money would be more effectively used elsewhere.

  • Steve

    97% of pregnant women who go to Planned Parenthood are sold an abortion. In the last numbers released 330,000 abortions, 977 adoptions. They are an abortion mill trying to disguise themselves as caring about women.

  • Peter

    The slant of the reporting on both the HHS mandate and the decision of the Komen Foundation is perfectly in keeping with the worldview, the paradigm if you will, of the editorial decision makers of most media outlets. It is not as simple as “liberal” vs. “conservative” or “religious” vs. “secular”, I believe it has to do with what news outlets consider to be within the range of what is the “normal”, who belongs in the category of “us”. The pro-life movement has for so long been deliberately relegated to the category of “other” or “them” that the media lacks both the will and the imagination to conceive of it otherwise. The prevailing sin of the media is not so much conscious bias as it is a kind of ingrained intellectual laziness that keeps them from going outside of their pre-determined narrative ruts. To acknowledge that PP might be legitimately considered to be anything but its corporate brand as a mainstream social service agency would raise too many uncomfortable questions and cause too much cognitive dissonance for most editors and journalists to handle. It would require them to do more than press release journalism on the issues of abortion, “choice” and PP’s eugenic origins, no matter how well documented they may be.

  • Will

    Actually, these comments illustrate another angle. Views and actions by Them that We disapprove of are “political”. We are never “political”. (Yet another of the observations I came to by watching things under the microscope in the internal bickering of an organization which shall be nameless here.)

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Friends,

    I just deleted a dozen or so comments going back and forth on Planned Parenthood. It’s a bit hard to stay focused on the journalism at hand, but please redouble your efforts. Your comment should be focused on the media coverage of the event rather than the underlying event itself.

  • sari

    Mollie,
    I was unaware of any affiliation between Komen and PP. This probably due to lack of involvement in either the pro-life or pro-choice movements. That and that no one close to me has had breast cancer. So at least one person on this site was ignorant of the connection. I suspect that many people had no clue until today.

    Mark B,
    Thank you for writing about the study of contraceptive use among RC women and for providing the link. The preliminary results were fascinating, particularly the writers’ analysis of what may drive behavior.

    I think it’s interesting that so many here seem to equate pro-life with the RCC. Aren’t other Christian groups also heavily involved in the movement?

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    If the media had regularly published even a bit of the historical racist roots of PP it wouldn’t get a dime of taxpaer’s funds for anything. But when it comes to the history of PP, the media is supremely silent.
    As for the coverage of the Obama Admins latest war on religion (following its class warfare strategies) it appears the media is going to continue being a propaganda arm for Obama as it was in the last presidential election.
    The biggest power the media has is its ability to frame the political debate by deciding what is worthy of major and continued coverage. What is not covered quickly becomes a dead issue.

  • Dave S

    I think Mollie hit the nail on the head when she talked about the media favoring what they consider sacred. The media we’re talking about here are secularist, and their god is self indulgence. What better example is there of self indulgence than a mother murdering her innocent child because its birth would be inconvenient?

  • Jim

    The answer: no one, probably not even most of the Catholics forced to listen to their letter, cares what the bishops say. They are still trying to ban contraception, for God sake.

    But take away poor people’s mammograms, then the American people rise up. In their infinite wisdom.

  • Jim

    And what a weird website: banned if you are “disliked” or banned if Mollie thinks you are off topic. Talk about an echo chamber.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jim, you are not banned here if you’re disliked but your comments are deleted if they go off-topic.

    So stay on topic — media coverage — and enjoy the conversation!

  • http://returntorome.com Francis J. Beckwith

    Jim writes: “The answer: no one, probably not even most of the Catholics forced to listen to their letter, cares what the bishops say.”

    Jim that is a test for receiving religious liberty in our republic. If it were, then minority religions would have no rights because very few people listen to their leaders. Not being listened to, by the way, is an old Christian tradition, and can be found in the OT as well. Adam didn’t listen to God, and neither did Lot’s wife. The Egyptians didn’t listen to Moses, and sometimes the Israelites didn’t listen either. Moses, at the end, didn’t listen to God, and for that he missed entering the promised land. Jonah initially didn’t listen to God, but eventually he did. Job did listen, but to his friends. Bad move. Most of the prophets were not listened to, until it was too late. And, of course, David didn’t listen to reason until after he listened to Nathan (but only by the indirection of an apt analogy). The Pharisees didn’t listen to Jesus, but Romans listened to the mob that called for Barabbas. Peter should have listened to Jesus, and he might have not denied him.

    In fact, it seems that not being listened to is a sign that one is speaking prophetically. For that reason, I don’t expect you to listen to me.

  • Mimi Stratton

    It is not believable that Komen defunded PP because they don’t offer direct mammogram services. NOBODY offers direct mammogram services, including a lot of hospitals. In DC, as well as most other major cities, there’s ONE place where everybody goes. Every single provider sends their patients there. Was lack of direct offering of mammograms honestly supposed to be the reason for this poor business decision?

  • Hannah

    What I find particularly disturbing about this website is that any comment that is ‘disliked’ is hidden from view. I came here to seek an opposing view on the Susan.G Komen/PP issue. I feel that the only logical way to decide my opinion on an issue is to look at both sides of the story. I’m lucky to be in the medical profession and have volunteered at planned parenthood while in medical school (now before anyone gets antsy… no I did not perform and have never performed any abortions… nor did I recommend any. My volunteer activities were actually geared towards breast screenings and talking to homeless women about their options with womens health care, whether that be birth control (condoms or the pill), yearly pelvic exams and pap smears and self breast exams – I hope we can all agree that these screenings are extremely necessary for a woman’s health.)
    So I felt had one side pretty locked down, and so I came here to see what the other side thought. I was quite shocked to see that any comment of a differing opinion had been ‘hidden’ because of dislikes… I feel that this isn’t exactly conducive to a open discussion. Maybe it is just me, but I feel that every article should be subject to criticism and praise…

    Also, going along with trying to understand both viewpoints… it makes me wonder if the article’s writer, or anyone with this viewpoint has ever spent time in planned parenthood… to see what happens there on a day to day basis. Obviously there are abortions there, and that goes against many peoples belief of where life begins, which is understandable. But what I don’t understand, is a blind bias against a subject (regardless of its topic) unless there has been an attempt to understand why other people believe it is right. Lets be honest here, it is not like pro-choice people believe that their view is wrong, just like pro-life don’t believe they are wrong.

    I just feel that everyone would benefit from a little more understanding here.

    Feel free to hide/dislike my comment… I won’t be offended, just wanted to have my little input! And also, please excuse any mispelling, or grammatical errors, I’m just coming off of a 32 hour shift and I’m a little fuzzy

  • Jim

    Francis, the bishops have religious liberty. Their letter was read, and no armed forces knocked down the doors. But the public, and the media, can only look upon their 1950s era opposition to contraceptives as just irrelevant when some huge part of even Catholics partake.

    Maybe they will turn out to be prophets, but I think not

  • Jim

    mollie did politely correct me: if disliked tou are hidden, not banned. You are banned if you are off topic, as defined by Mollie.

    Mollie, thank you for welcoming me to the site.

    But are you or were you once a teaching nun? I do remember hard nosed nuns in grade school who maintained similar attitudes about control of the classroom…

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jim,

    I’m not even Catholic! I would make the world’s worst nun.

  • Jim

    Mollie, why not permit a debate about, say, Catholic bishops and their place in our culture? That might be more interesting than a back and forth about how the media loves or doesn’t love them.

  • Jim

    With an Irish RC name like Mollie, you must have once been Catholic. Like myself.

  • Jim

    For instance. How long did it take the media to discover that the bishops were covering up pederasty on a grand scale? Was there pro-catholic media bias there?

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jim,

    As it turns out, the boss just posted on this issue — what we discuss and why — today.

  • sari

    With an Irish RC name like Mollie, you must have once been Catholic. Like myself.

    He he. Had to laugh, Jim, since Mollie was once a very common name in the Jewish community, an Anglicized take on Malka (queen). In fact, it has enjoyed a resurgence as young people name their daughters after deceased grandparents and great-grandparents.

  • Mollie

    Sari,

    I have an Orthodox Jewish friend whose infant cousin has my exact name — Mollie Ziegler. Or what used to be my exact name before marriage.

  • Jon in the Nati

    With an Irish RC name like Mollie, you must have once been Catholic. Like myself.

    What robust logic. I lived in Minnesota, and have a big-time-Swedish last name. Must be Lutheran…

  • Will

    Yep. Molly Goldberg must have been Catholic. And William F. Buckley must have been Protestant.

  • Will

    Mimi Stratton: If “NOBODY offers direct mammogram services”, who does them? What is this “one place”?

    I’m nobody. Who are you?
    What? Are you nobody too?
    Don’t tell! They’d banish us, you know.

  • Jim

    Looks like no one except Mollie has a sense of humor around here…

  • Jim

    So Mollie, how should the media cover Komen’s apology today?

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Jim,

    I never went to journalism school, but it seems to me that the media shouldn’t cover Komen’s apology by, um, thanking a pro-choice senator for her advocacy on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

  • sari

    I have an Orthodox Jewish friend whose infant cousin has my exact name — Mollie Ziegler. Or what used to be my exact name before marriage.

    Ziegler is not uncommon among the Ashkenazim; it’s a German name appropriated to Yiddish. Mollie dates back to the huge influx of European Jews who sought to anglicize their own and their children’s Hebrew or Yiddish names. Many a Malka became a Mollie, even though the traditional diminutive is Malkie. Likewise Batya or a Basya, a beautiful Hebrew name which means daughter of G-d, became Bess or Bessie. Names recycle in those communities which continue the custom of naming to keep a person’s memory alive.

    All of which is tangential to the topic at hand


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