One of America's great privileges an individuals is considered innocent until proven guilty. The press is obliged to respect this privilege when reporting but often times it can be tempting for publications to slyly abuse this privilege by either under or over reporting certain aspects of the story.
Because of the seriousness of an allege crime and the position of authority these priests hold, the Canon Law of the Catholic Church treats these situations as though the accused were guilty until proven innocent, but this does not mean American publications should follow this trend.
After reading a number of stories regarding accusations made against Father John Corapi I noticed they all had very similar coverage. Most of the publications covering the story were Catholic and I noticed that a number of mainstream media did not touch his story. However I did stumble across Modesto Bee, which tried to be an objective story but unfortunately did meet the requirements.
I was a bit confused when they included a brief section of Father Corapi helping to expose a hospital that allegedly performed unnecessary heart surgeries.
The story also included more sources and I believe tried to do a better job of presenting both sides. Unlike the Catholic publications, Modesto Bee included a quote from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest.
"David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest, said in a press release that, "We've been skeptical of these sort of 'freelance' travelling priests who seem to foster a cult of personality."
I came to the conclusion, basing this on reading the same story in a number of publications, that the reporter did not do any personal interviews but wrote the story soley on press releases. Even his "own" source was based off of a press release as is mention in the quote above.
One of the most noticeable differences between this story and others like The Catholic Post was it seemed to avoid some major quotes by Father Corapi. One quote which I thought was vital to the story was the priest's response to these accusations found in the The Catholic Post.
"I'll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty 'just in case' then through the process, determining if he is innocent," Father Corapi said. "The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known."
Other publications contained more quotes from the priest and how he would handle these accusations but I found it interesting that Modesto Bee would not print a reaction. In some respects, under reporting could be a form of bias since the publication is making the priest look guilty by not adding his quote.
I want to point out that I am not trying to glorify the Catholic publications for doing the "better coverage" for I saw that philyBurbs also had a complete and clear story of Father Corapi.
It is only fair for the individual who is being accused to receive fair coverage of his/her story for the power of the press can label a person for better or worse for the rest of his/her life.