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And in the twisted-reporting category...

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Dec 21, 2010

Today's award for the most flagrantly misleading reporting goes to...

(drumroll, please)...

Actually we have a tie.

Amanda Lee Myers, who wrote the AP story on Bishop Olmsted's statement that Joseph Hospital cannot be considered a Catholic health-care institution, shares today's award for starting out her report this way:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix stripped a major hospital of its affiliation with the church Tuesday because of a surgery that ended a woman's pregnancy to save her life.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the 2009 procedure an abortion...

Yes he did. And what would you call a surgical procedure that ended a pregnancy? 

But a headline writer at USA Today captures a share of the award for this gem:

Ariz. hospital loses Catholic status over surgery

The headline suggests that Bishop Olmsted was shocked to learn that the hospital does surgery. That's nonsense, of course. He was offended by a particular sort of surgery: the surgery that is performed to end a pregnancy by destroying the unborn child. There's a word for that surgery. Not a particularly fancy medical word. A word that we all know. Just one more letter than "surgery," so it would fit on the headline easily. Starts with an "A." Most journalists know the word-- and use it, on those increasingly rare occasions when they actually want readers to understand...


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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