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CNN Responds to Criticism Over Catholic Church, Birth Control Mandate Story

CNN SVP and DC bureau chief Sam Feist fired off a letter to Brent Bozell, of the Media Research Center, after Bozell had criticized CNN, and other networks, for the lack of coverage of the Obama administration’s rule requiring religious schools and hospitals to provide employees with access to free birth control.

On Monday Bozell, founder of the conservative MRC wrote, “The broadcast and cable television networks need to report the current, unprecedented assault against freedom of religion in this country,” and singled out ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN as networks that had under-covered the story.

“We would respectfully request that you update your story and credit CNN with being among those that have been out front on this important story,” Feist writes to Bozell. “I would like to draw your attention to your own MRC/Newsbusters piece written by Tim Graham that credited CNN’s Candy Crowley with raising this issue on CNN’s State of the Union Program.”

TVNewser caught up with Bozell as he was catching a flight this afternoon. He’s gotten Feist’s letter and acknowledges, “Candy Crowley did a very good report, but one good report does not good network coverage make.”

“They were some 10 days late in getting into the story on CNN,” says Bozell, adding, “Everyone was minutes from reporting the Komen story. So, CNN could do a better job.”

See Feist’s letter after the jump…

Dear Brent,
I woke up to see this MRC press release/letter to network presidents criticizing the television networks for ignoring the fact that the healthcare law requires Catholic institutions to provide birth control as a part of their healthcare coverage.
I was surprised to see that your letter and press release included CNN and said that according to MRC, we (along with others) had effectively ignored the story. In fact, CNN has done that story numerous times on TV and online, particularly after the HHS secretary announced the administration’s position on the policy on January 20th. An important example was a lengthy piece on this subject by our White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar that ran a number of times last week and all weekend long. In addition, here’s a link to a CNN story on the controversy that appeared on CNN.com on January 20th; that story incorporated both the Obama Administration position and the statement of Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan. Beyond that, CNN did a separate piece about the political implications of the Obama Administration’s policy. And here is an additional piece that CNN’s religion editor did from the perspective of Catholic religious leaders.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to your own MRC/Newsbusters piece written by Tim Graham that credited CNN’s Candy Crowley with raising this issue on CNN’s State of the Union Program.

We would respectfully request that you update your story and credit CNN with being among those that have been out front on this important story. CNN’s mission is simple: to provide our viewers and our online readers news on important and controversial issues without taking sides.

Thanks very much.
Sam

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