When it comes to the awful abuse of children, it sure seems like the Boston Globe doesn't get too worked up unless the words Cardinal, bishop, or priest is in someone's job title.
Over seven years ago, beginning on January 6, 2002, the Boston Globe initiated a relentless, no-stone-unturned investigation into terrible abuse in the Catholic Church. By the time the calendar year 2002 ended, the Globe had published a mind-blowing 989 articles. (That's not a typo. Yes, the paper ran an average of over two-and-a-half articles a day on the scandal in a single year. See for yourself.) And the Globe still takes joy in hammering the Church, even if it means reporting clergy abuse in Ireland.
Yet this past week, the Globe's response to the apprehension of Roman Polanski has been a proverbial shrug. No stinging editorials about the despicable abuse by Polanski. No blistering op-eds about the callous Hollywood celebrities who actually ran to the defense of the sick Polanski. The Globe has not even devoted any of their own columnists to the story. Rather the paper has simply run a few news pieces from other newspapers.
A number of columnists have aired the same thought that I also had when the news of Polanski's arrest surfaced last week: If Roman Polanski were Father Roman Polanski, he would have been in jail ages ago, and no one would be arguing about it. (The closest that someone at the Globe actually comes to formulating this thought is in Michael Paulson's blog at boston.com.)
Non-Globe readers may be surprised that the Boston paper fawns and swoons for celebrities just as much as the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times do. Is the Globe downplaying the rape of a minor because of the abuser's vocation? It sure seems so.
Double standard? Yup.
(**UPDATE, Sun. 10/4/09: To be fair, the next day (Sun. 10/4/09) I picked up the Globe toÂ see that the paper published Michael Paulson's "What if Polanski were an abusive priest?" on page B3.**)
TheMediaReport.com: Los Angeles Times: Clergy Abuse and School Abuse
TheMediaReport.com: Falsehoods and Outrageous Statements by Abuse Attorney John Manly