157: The Scapegoating of Cardinal Pell—Andrew Bolt (Free Version)
If you think George Cardinal Pell is innocent, and you happen to be a Catholic, you’re open to the charge of protecting your a hero from your tribe or—worse—disbelieving victims. Andrew Bolt is a top TV journalist, and host of “The Bolt Report” on Sky News in Melbourne, Australia, and he is firmly convinced that the guilty verdict, when the facts of the case are closely analyzed, is dead wrong.
Bolt, who happens to be an agnostic, is Australian’s most prominent and controversial commentator. “Fascist reptile” is one of the more charming things he’s been called.
He says the mob mentality surrounding the Pell case resulted from the collision of two factors: a Victoria law enforcement system that trawled for “Pell victims” at least a year before any actual victims came forward, and a media culture which is knee-jerk and virulent in its anti-Catholicism.
Anyone who stands up to the mob does so at a price. Andrew Bolt is one of the rare exceptions to the “media rule,” as his reputation as a conservative contrarian in a left-tilting media industry has earned him the predictable kinds of enemies.
Sticking relentlessly to the facts and with special attention to the dissenting argument of Justice Mark Weinberg, Bolt further disproved the claims of the alleged victim by filming himself walking along the same path trod that December 1996 day when the double rape (in broad daylight, minutes after Sunday Mass with dozens of people milling around nearby) is supposed to have happened. The timing makes it obvious that the story falls apart.
If you know nothing about the Pell trial and its backstory, don’t miss this conversation.
In this episode you will learn
- On what basis the trial began in the first place
- Why the 2011 Rolling Stone article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely describing a Philadelphia case (which was also disproved!) is almost exactly the same story (getting caught swigging communion wine, sudden oral rape, same m.o, etc)
- Why the mob mentality, selective focus on certain elements and ignoring of others, took hold of the proceedings and led to the conviction of an innocent man
- Why the Weinberg dissenting argument must govern the High Court, which has agreed to hear the case (itself a rare event.)
- The reasons Bolt says it is physically impossible for Pell to be guilty of what he’s accused of doing
- The credibility of the accuser vs the powerful #MeToo movement
Resources mentioned in this episode
- Still Not Sorry by Andrew Bolt
- Catholic Herald background on the parallels with the Dreyfus case, by CC Pecknold
- The Decision itself, with Dissenting Argument from Justice Mark Weinberg
- Catholic Guilt? The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case, Newsweek article by Ralph Cipriano
- Episode #132 of The Patrick Coffin Show, my interview with journalist Peter Westmore, who was a witness to both Pell trials and the Appeal hearing.
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