Media Watch

Reuters Executive ‘Appalled’ by Email Remarks

THE WASHINGTON POST, Aug. 30 — A Reuters editor in Washington, D.C., sent a “stinging” email to Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, in response to a press release about a federal court ruling on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

According to Howard Kurtz's “Media Notes” in The Washington Post, Todd Eastham's email to Johnson asked: “What's your plan for parenting and educating all the unwanted children you people want to bring into the world? Who will pay for policing our streets & maintaining the prisons needed to contain them when you, their parents & the system fail them? Oh, sorry. All that money has been earmarked to pay off the Bush deficit. Give me a … break, will you?”

David Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor and head of editorial operations, told the Register that he was “appalled by the incident” and that it has been “handled robustly through our internal disciplinary process.” He quoted the wire service's code of conduct, which forbids employees from taking sides.

Said Schlesinger, “Freedom from bias is integral to all that Reuters represents, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Vatican Won't ‘Bully’ Them

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS, Aug. 21 — With a subhead that read, “Meeting in Fort Worth, leaders of Catholic orders say Vatican can't bully them,” the Dallas Morning News reported that 1,000 leaders gathered to talk about violence.

But attendees at the Conference of Women Religious and the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, in the words of the Dallas daily, “urged one another not to allow the Church to be hijacked by seemingly dictatorial pronouncements by a conservative hierarchy” and to be “bold, prophetic and, when necessary, even defiant.”

Attendees were told “not to be cowed into silence by the Vatican on issues such as the role of women in the Church and priests who wanted the celibacy rule lifted.” Not all were on board with the defiant agenda. Sister of Charity Constance Phelps, president of the sisters' conference, apparently recalled the original purpose of the gathering when she said, “In the face of escalating violence, let us be the face of escalating love.”

Bill's Bucks Help Usher in California Stem Cells

ASSOCIATED PRESS, Aug. 25 — Computer pioneer Bill Gates is one of several entrepreneurs who have contributed money to promote California's Proposition 71, which would allow state funding of stem-cell research.

The wire service did not say how much Gates contributed but noted that the $27 billion Gates Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world committed to curing disease. “Bill believes in the promise of science and research and development to create new ways to improve health and well being around the world,” a family spokesman said.

While the campaign to defeat Proposition 71 has received only $15,000 so far, EBay Inc. founder Omar Omidyar and his wife gave $1 million. Savings and loan billionaires, venture capitalists, Hollywood celebrities and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation have also made big contributions to the pro-stem-cell campaign.