Adventures in Media

So I’m just back from St. Joseph’s Cathedral but without the pleasure of having heard one of Msgr. Liptak’s amazing Wednesday homilies–or of attending Mass at all. The reason is that I ran smack into the middle of a protest against the Archdiocese in front of the building, full media entourage present  and no Church spokesman–at least initially–in sight. What’s a guy to do?

Courant columnist Susan Campbell kidded me after each of us realized who the other one was: “Should we throw down right here?” It was our first face-to-face encounter after several years of lobbing brickbats at each other (I hurled one just a few hours earlier). She is as professional in person as everyone I have ever dealt with at The Courant. (Well, ok. Everyone except Rick Green.)

Not so with some others. I did an interview with CNN, attempting to balance the legitimate concerns of clergy sex-abuse victims with our concern about other agendas that may be at play in the statute of limitations bill:

The legislature’s Judiciary Committee is fatally tainted by past shenanigans by Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, and Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven. They have shown an intense and abiding animus against the Roman Catholic Church, which stands to lose the most from this measure.

“We’re not interested” the CNN reporter told me, when I mentioned our concerns about the anti-Catholicism of the Judiciary Committee co-chairs. “Can you just talk about the bill?”

But someone else was interested. “Hey, didn’t McDonald vote against the bill?” shouted a man who appeared to be a media photog. Had I said he voted for it? I couldn’t be sure.

Assuming the man heard correctly, I replied “That’s right. I misspoke. Lawlor voted for it and McDonald voted against it.” That’s when it got interesting.

“He lied!” the man started screaming over and over again to the crowd (about 20 protestors and a media entourage that probably outnumbered them). Even as I was doing interviews with other outlets, he continued pointing at me and shouting: “He lied! He lied to national media!”

“Who are you with?” I asked him. “The New York Times,” he said. He repeated the claim a few minutes later.

I went into the Cathedral for the last five minutes of Mass. When I came back out, the CNN crew was still there.

“Still being stalked by a photographer?” the CNN cameraman asked me. “He said he was from the New York Times,” I replied. The cameraman shook his head. “He wasn’t from the New York Times.”

Being accused of lying by a liar. No wonder the Church’s official spokesmen weren’t in a hurry to join us.

One Response to “Adventures in Media”

  1. on 26 May 2010 at 2:49 pmJason

    The official spokesman was in a great hurry to get there, trust me on that! He didn’t hear about the protest until CNN and one of the local channels called us asking for an interview. It was a sneak attack by the people hosting the protest. Thanks for covering until the spokesman got there.

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