You can catch a summary of that criticism at the ABC Media Watch website here. You can also read a rather sad attempt at a critique of Media Watch here.
Some people at The Oz think that criticising Catholic clergy on the eve of World Youth Day represents an assault on WYD pilgrims and Catholics in general. They seem to think that Catholics are so sensitive that they are unable to handle such reporting. They also assume that Catholics, by and large, are quite happy with the way the Church handles sexual abuse by clergy.
I can understand devout Catholics like Angela Shanahan asking why such matters should be covered at this stage. However, for The Oz editorial writers to ask such questions is sheer hypocrisy.
The Oz editorial writers and columnists had no hesitation in pilloring Hilaly when he made comments disparaging of rape victims. The Oz never cared about the fact that the breaking of its story virtually coincided with Muslims celebrating the holiest day of their religious calender - the Feast of Purity (Eid al-Fitr) to commemmorate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Worse still, The Oz sheeted the blame for Hilaly's comments to Muslims themselves. Neither ABC Lateline nor Media Watch suggested that ordinary Catholics should be held responsible for the insensitive remarks of Bishop Fisher about the rape victims and their parents.
Indeed, when I suggested that reporting overkill in The Oz was making it harder for ordinary Muslims to pressure imams and religious leaders to remove Hilaly, The Oz editorial accused me of seeking to cover up "Islamic excesses" and even claimed I condoned the kind of radical speech that led to bombings in London and Madrid and the assassination of Theo Van Gogh.
The Oz editorialists aren't against bashing of believers. Nor are The Oz editorialists concerned about defending rape victims. Rather The Oz editorialists will only defend the sentiments of believers it selects. However, The Oz editorialists are happy to do to Hilaly exactly what they accuse the ABC of doing to the Catjolic church.
I urge The Oz editorialists to grab a copy of the al-Mawrid and look up the meaning of the Arabic word nifaaq.
Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf