First the “mainstream media” had a liberal bias, then “schools,” then “reality,” but all of that has been less difficult for conservatives to handle than Pope Francis, who has used his station to consistently shame the very kinds of ideas they hold dear.
First, there was an article on the political site The Hill which criticized the pope for “driving a wedge” between himself and Republicans by never taking their side on political issues (gee, I wonder why?). After it was reported that Pope Francis was integral to Obama’s historic shift in diplomatic relations with Cuba, conservatives reacted with a characteristic whine:
“But Francis’s agenda, which also includes calls to address income inequality and limit climate change, is putting him at odds with Republicans, including GOP Catholics in the United States.
Hours after President Obama announced moves to ease trade and travel restrictions to Cuba, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a practicing Catholic and potential 2016 presidential candidate, criticized the deal and Francis’s role in it.
“I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for a free people, for a people to truly be free,” Rubio told reporters.”
However, buried in the article is a brief mention of the fact that while Americans are absolutely fed up with politicians (and Republicans, in particular), the pope enjoys an incredible 78 percent approval rating among all Americans, and an even more astonishing 93 percent approval from Catholics. The pope’s popularity is so high that presumably the one or two Catholics polled who said they didn’t approve of his work had names like “Paul Ryan” and “Marco Rubio.”
But while some conservative politicians are angry, nothing quite compares to how livid Fox News is. The conservative network is having an absolute freakout because, at least from their perspective, the pope is making conservatives look like bigoted, anti-science, heartless monsters – and worse, if those poll numbers are to be believed, people seem to agree with him.
Things recently came to a head when Pope Francis wrote a papal letter to be sent to all the bishops in the church that insisted they do more to help combat climate change. Fox News, which trades exclusively in climate change denialism and oil company-approved talking points, didn’t take it well.
Immediately after learning of the pope’s stance on climate change, Fox ran an unabashed hit piece on Francis, calling him an “activist” (conservative dog whistle for “liberal”) and pulling quotes from Catholic leaders who have been critical of his leadership. It was a hatchet job and an incredibly tasteless one – a television network modeled around conservative propaganda devoted an entire segment to lecturing the pope on why he was so bad. “Surreal” doesn’t begin to describe it.
Media Matters preserved the clip:
Some of the “controversial” things Fox News criticizes the pope for: being more tolerant towards gays, helping Obama ease tensions with Cuba, believing in the existence of climate change, believing in the existence of evolution, arguing that greed and unchecked capitalism are bad.
It’s official: Conservatives are now more anti-science than the pope.
The conservative right has gotten left so far behind that now everything – from the Pope to reality – looks like it has a “liberal bias.” Rather than view that as a massive problem, Republicans have become more entrenched, more paranoid in their belief that they, and they alone, see things clearly. Science has abandoned them. And now so has religion. What do they have left? Just Fox News. And Fox seems fine with playing the role of spiritual leader to its aging, white conservative flock. It would be funny, if it weren’t so sad.
Feature image courtesy Wikimedia