POLL: Which U.S. major secular network has the best Papal Conclave coverage so far?

Which U.S. major secular network has the best Papal Conclave coverage so far?

I am hearing great things about what CBS is doing this time around.

What are you hearing and seeing?  What are your reactions to the commentary?

Use the combox below.

Which major USA TV network has the best Conclave coverage?

View Results

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ReginaMarie says:

    Not a major network…but thanks to EWTN for great coverage!

  2. I watched the Fox News live feed of St. Peter’s Square. Just video feed and ambient sounds, no constant prattling. A person could watch the chimney and pray the Rosary at the same time. (I wish all the people standing around St. Peter’s Square were praying the Rosary.)

  3. Sodalis says:

    EWTN radio. They’ve got Father Z on Kresta In The Afternoon. :P

  4. Geoffrey says:

    I also have just been watching EWTN. I’ve watched Fox News a small bit, but even they cannot help but talk about “scandals” and “crisis” and “reforms”. I doubt I will see what other networks are doing.

  5. Jason Keener says:

    I flipped back and forth between EWTN and NBC in high definition this morning. George Weigel and Father Robert Barron did a good job on NBC, as did the EWTN crew.

  6. JKnott says:

    I don’t watch TV or the secular media but was happy to see EWTN’s live streaming. We need to support them $.

  7. racjax says:

    My husband and I are rather shocked but in general CNN did a far much better job (John Allen was very detailed in his descriptions) than Fox News. Shep Smith was sounding inane. So we are going to flip between CNN and EWTN going forward.

    Off topic, but really enjoyed EWTN’s coverage of the individual oaths – naming each cardinal and his country.

  8. tgarcia2 says:

    Fr. Robert Barron on NBC made the coverage their tolerable…will tune to FNC when I get home

  9. ckdexterhaven says:

    Father Barron and George Weigel on NBC were very good today. Just saw Shepard Smith harangue Father Jonathan (last name?) on FOX about women priests etc. I was disappointed in EWTN’s coverage of Pope Benedict leaving the Vatican. The commentator Joan Allen was talking over the ringingly the bells, and her observations were a little too folksy for my taste.
    *Can NOT believe I said something positive about anything NBC!

  10. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    For me, it’s less about networks (and their regulars) than it is about experts. CNN has John Allen, NBC has George Weigel. My brief forays into other networks is a bunch of boring nobodies.

  11. PatriciusOenus says:

    CNN’s coverage is **terrible**! And generally treats the issue with an aloof condescension. They often cannot get their terms right, confusing recently what a monsignor was. (No, it was not a case of lost in translation. It was an American monsignor guest on the program speaking to an American talking-head.) They set-up the false dichomoty over conservatives vs reformers. And again and again they suggest that the next Pope might allow “female ordination” and “gay marraige.” Haha!

    I’ve been disappointed with Fox’s coverage. In a report on Monday a reporter use the highly unidiomatic phrase “Cardinal X gave Mass ” six times! Who says that? In the same report the reporter claimed that only one of the Cardinals could be elected pope. Rubbish.

  12. Justin Martyr says:

    I was really shocked to see how terrible Fox News and Shepard Smith was today….horrible. He was so negative, critical & suspicious of the Church.

    I would have guessed FoxNews would have been most accurate and sympathetic to the Church….far from it. I won’t watch FNC for this anymore.

  13. acardnal says:

    “Just saw Shepard Smith harangue Father Jonathan (last name?) on FOX about women priests etc. “

    I am not impressed much with Shepard Smith any more. He has made anti-Catholic, pro-gay marriage comments before. And he’s doing it again. He is the wrong pick by Fox News to go to Rome for coverage of this papal election!

  14. Titus says:

    Why, for the love of all the Saints, is anyone watching a major network’s coverage? I would be more edified by going down to the local elementary school and watching children pull the wings off beetles, and I would learn more about zoology from that endeavor than I would learn about our Holy Mother the Church and her next Supreme Pontiff from watching a network’s yapping heads stare at St. Peter’s square.

  15. Justin Martyr says:

    I have to imagine some of the votes for Fox in the poll above are from folks who didn’t actually watch FNC today (but based their vote on past reputation). Shepard Smith was so awful in his comments about the Church. He made a complete fool of himself….at one point he claimed the Church was irrelevant in Africa and that less than 1% of Africans were Catholic…I’m pretty sure that’s not close to true.

  16. Charivari Rob says:

    I watch very little TV these days, especially for news, so… I think my TV watching so far was being home sick on the 28th and watching BXVI departure via CBS special report.

    I’ve been following some radio. Our little station near here is part of the Station of the Cross network, gets some EWTN programming. Pretty good local program here that the rest of the small network has picked up. Websites – Whispers and Deacon’s Bench to get some of the news and features, Boston archdiocese blogs and websites for local angle, and Father Z and the Forum for chitchat and commentary. Web gets me video from Vatican or EWTN or CatholicTV. Oh – and the Boston Herald for some Margery Eagan columns (comic relief).

  17. Laura says:

    Haven’t watched any mainstream coverage, Fr Z. Sticking strictly to EWTN tv and radio — they are doing a fabulous job! Besides, with the Pope App, EWTN and WDTPRS who needs anything else?

  18. no MSM coverage for me…

  19. Former Altar Boy says:

    OK, EWTN may not be a “major” network but they have excellent coverage by people who love the Churchg and now what’s going on. Fox has had good visuals but I echo Justin Martyr and the others above that Shepard Smith’s veiled anti-Catholic comments and questions were shocking only exceeded by the fact that Fr. Jonathan Morris proved what a wimp he is when he didn’t immediately go on offense in response to Smith’s loaded questions. (What’s the matter, Father, they paying you too much and you’re afraid you’ll lose your sweet gig?) Instead, he folded and made a watered-down defense of the all-male priesthood and basically agreed with Smith that the Church was anti-woman. Shocking!!

  20. Peggy R says:

    I couldn’t watch video at work today so I didn’t vote. I listened to some EWTN in the car. Good as always. I’ve read online reports at NBC and CNN. CNN is almost always better at REPORTING and having feet on the ground in nonpolitical or global stories. CNN can’t go wrong w/John Allen, as long as he’s allowed to speak. NBC online and in prior broadcasts has had Weigel on. Again, when he’s allowed to speak, he increases the quality of the broadcast. FOX just doesn’t cover non-political or global stories well in my view. Not enough feet on the ground or expertise on hand. Fr. Jonathon is fine, but not the expert Weigel or Allen is.

  21. OrthodoxChick says:

    I’m going to wait to vote because I haven’t checked out all of the networks yet. I’ve mainly been watching EWTN. I did catch a bit of CBS this morning and they had Fr. Rosica on. I wanted to compare them to NBC, so while Fr. Rosica was on CBS, I flipped to NBC and they had Fr. Barron on. I kept flipping back and forth between those two for a minute and it was interesting. I thought that Fr. Rosica had better info to give but his delivery was not “made-for-t.v.”. Fr. Barron’s info was more general than Fr. Rosica’s, but he came off as much more polished and broadcast-ready.

    I’ve been very disappointed with Fox this time around. I think that Lauren Green seems very nice and pleasant, but to me, it doesn’t even sound like she’s Catholic. She sounds really unfamiliar with the subject she’s reporting on. Fr. Jonathan Morris seems very nice and pleasant as well, but his info is nowhere near as in-depth as our own Fr. Z. I missed Shep today and based on other’s comments here, I’m glad I did. I like Shep in general and I probably would have been very disappointed in him.

    I’ll check out CNN and the others in the list and come back to vote, but honestly, between EWTN and Fr. Z., what more do I need?

    Wait – PBS??? They have news reports on PBS??? Who knew?! In our house, PBS is watched by the children. Maybe they should just stick to kids’ programming and British shows. That’s all anyone I know tunes in to watch. That, and the pops, of course!

  22. anna 6 says:

    Ever since Greg Burke left FOX they have been pathetic (except for Lauren Green, when they give her a chance).
    Shepard Smith is abominable! The day Benedict left Rome, Smith responded with shock when a young guest stated that Benedict XVI was well-loved. “WHAT?!” He said. “Nobody in Rome loves him…they didn’t like him when he was a cardinal and they didn’t like him as pope.” He continued, “I know a lot of people in Rome and NO ONE ever like him!”

    How’s that for journalism?

    May I suggest, if anyone knows Fr. Morris personally, that they ask him to speak to Smith and to his boss.

  23. Laura R. says:

    I’m a bit divided — I thought CNN did a better job with the departure of Pope Benedict and have appreciated John Allen’s commentary on the conclave. But this morning I was flipping back and forth between CNN and ABC where my archbishop is contributing, and found myself settling with ABC. I liked Diane Sawyer’s tone, and thought Archbishop Gregory did very well. Tomorrow I’ll try CBS and maybe NBC. I agree that Fox is a big disappointment — I remember liking Shepard Smith’s coverage of Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.S. but this time around it’s a different story.

  24. Jean Marie says:

    I hardly ever watch our media anymore. When it comes to something like today, it’s EWTN all the way. I find that if want to get the truth, you have to go outside of this country to get it. Just today I found this information at Canada Free Press. After reading this, I have some serious misgivings about Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley and Cardinal Peter Turkson. In short, the brother of Obama’s National Security Advisor works for Cardinal O’Malley and has a connection to Cardinal Turkson. No wonder the MSM is promoting these guys.

  25. StJude says:

    I am going to have to watch EWTN on line. I cant stand the medias coverage of anything related to Catholics. turned on Fox earlier.. ugh.. Shep Smith… I couldnt watch him for longer than a few minutes.

  26. lizaanne says:

    I don’t feel qualified to vote — this is a crummy time to give up evening television for Lent.

    So since the question is NOT about EWTN….

    I am watching ABC in the morning (Good Morning America) and I was happily impressed to see it was the top story of the show this morning. They have correspondents in Rome (though I grit my teeth through Diane Sawyer). The feeling I got though is that they were “schooled” in what to say and how to say it, but it was quite clear that Josh Elliot and Diane, and others, were just saying the pretty words, and not meaning anything they were saying. They know it’s news, and they have to cover it, but that’s it. They PERSONALLY are not really interested in what’s going on.

    Otherwise I’m getting all my daytime and evening news online.

  27. inexcels says:

    Can’t vote… don’t watch TV. Don’t even get TV. My tellie exists exclusively to play videogames on.

  28. Peggy R says:

    Jean Marie,

    I am sorry to read such things about Fr. Hehir. He was in residence at our very conservative NoVa parish in the early 2000s. Now, from the pulpit, he was not as firm on some basic Catholic teaching as our other priests, and I was disappointed in him. But when I went to a lecture by him at the parish, I was very impressed and had a much higher opinion of him. He may very well be on the progressive side of the Church. We may not really want him in Rome. We don’t know that he’d go there anyway. O’Malley may not be elected either. While I am a conservative and dislike Obama’s agenda as much as CanadaFreePress does, the site is a rather screechy conservative outlet that desires to excite anxieties often.


  29. Lori Pieper says:

    After listening to the commentary, I’m glad my TV is broken and I had to stick to EWTN streaming from the internet. They did a good job spotting and naming all the cardinals. All the images were great, but commentary/analysis was middling. I suspect things are a bit different from 2005, when Fr. Neuhaus was commenting, but I didn’t get to see that one. At least they thoroughly understood the spiritual nature of the event.

    (I’m worn out already. How can I stand even another 2-3 days of suspense!!??)

  30. Lori Pieper says:

    I suspect I’ll want to catch Fr. Barron especially, so maybe I will try the NBC news site’s archived videos.

  31. acardnal says:

    I have been Tweeting to Fr. Barron requesting that he, as the new rector of Mundelein seminary, ensure his seminarians are bene calleant, very well versed, in Latin per Canon 249 and are trained to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass as a Latin Rite priest. I request other readers do the same.

  32. Moro says:

    I haven’t watched the networks because I don’t own a TV. I tried EWTN for awhile but I prefer a live feed without all the distracting commentrary, so I tried CTV and I’m happy with it.

  33. Joe in Canada says:

    I figured I get everything I need, right here.

  34. NoTambourines says:

    I had EWTN’s live stream going for several hours in my office. A few times as I worked away, I forgot which broadcaster I had going and was surprised at how positive and knowledgeable the commentary was. Then I remembered it was EWTN!

    I’m also surprised and disappointed at Fox News (though I don’t have cable, so I’ll just continue not watching). I used to like that steely-eyed android-anchor, but it sounds like he’s going a long way toward alienating a large group of prospective viewers.

    My one foray further afield was reading coverage on the Grauniad Guardian. Their interactive “Pontifficator” feature was actually rather interesting:


  35. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Would have been interesting to see how many are skipping the major networks and using just EWTN or online streaming through the Vatican website.

    I decided to watch EWTN because I knew I wouldn’t have to listen to stupid questions about the role of women in the Church or hear about the lone protestor in the face of what looked like a couple hundred thousand enthusiastic people.

    Wanting to see it in HD, I switched over to MSNBC thinking I might catch Fr. Barron, but George Weigel was on. While EWTN was translating what was being said once the procession was done, Weigel and host were chatty about something else, talking right over a rather prayerful moment. But, I think you will get that with secular coverage, right along with some other baggage they *must* get in, which are the agenda liberal agenda items that don’t square with Catholicism.

    EWTN has split up some of their live coverage. Raymond Arroyo is not the only one reporting live from Rome. Plus, there have been some very good guests on and these guests don’t have agendas like the secular talking heads on the major networks.

    For that reason, I’ll stick with EWTN, even though I can’t get it in HD.

  36. q7swallows says:

    For us, watching MSM cover a papal event (or anything else of importance) is an occasion of sin
    (—-> anger, etc.). So the kids & I watched EWTN’s live coverage today on the computer. And quite happily, I may add. We learned a lot!

    We’ve also been enjoying the informative 1-2 minute videos about the conclave at http://www.RomeReports.com. Topics like “What does the Swiss Guard do during the Sede Vacante?” and “The Vatican’s Room of Tears is ready” and “How do sick cardinals cast their ballots?” So far, all the vids have been child-friendly and quite informative and interesting to all.

  37. Daniel says:

    I’ve been watching EWTN while they’re doing coverage. As far as others go, I find it interesting that nearly all of the experts being mentioned seem to be pretty decent. In the past, it seemed networks would have as their “experts” people like Frs. Andrew Greeley and Richard McBrien. I’ve not noticed anyone really complaining about the expert, just the reporters.

    I’d usually change the channel from Fox News when Shephard Smith comes on to report about anything. I did see a clip from Fox News during the swearing of oaths which featured another reporter with Robert Moynihan of “Inside the Vatican”. That segment was much better that the other complaints about Fox News coverage.

  38. PA mom says:

    Sorry, I did vote for Foxnews, but I don’t watch it, just read articles which were not ridiculous. I think the best coverage has been National Review.
    Our local papers has been spewing nonsense, I am usually disappointed by them , but thought they would do better than the have a woman pope stuff. :(

  39. Why are we surprised that Fox, which was the automatic vote, I suspect, for many Catholic conservatives in this poll, produced what amounted to anti-Catholic coverage? They are secular American conservatives and that position, the fruit of 18th century liberalism, is not going to be friendly to the Faith.

    The News Hour (yes, PBS), has given the run up to the election the proper attention. Balanced consideration of the abdication, then nothing. Why? Because there was nothing to report except the assembly of the cardinals (which was mentioned). No silly “what does the Church need to do to be ‘relevant,'” etc. When there is news (an election), they will report it.

    Here was the report tonight: “In other news Tuesday, 115 Roman Catholic Cardinals convened a conclave to begin the papal election process. Their first first vote was inconclusive, but they will resume voting Wednesday. ” That is exactly what happened! The other news-companies should learn a lesson: When you don’t know nothing, don’t invent news.

    I am now convinced that my vote for PBS (i.e. the News Hour) was right.

  40. ghp95134 says:

    I just caught the last couple of minutes, but tonight’s CNN Anderson Cooper had Rev.[former Father] Albert Cutié on to express his opinion (my paraphrasing) that the new pope ought to listen to the people — and modernize the church; why “withhold communion” from so many who wish to be participants, but who are not allowed due to divorce-and-remarriage, homosexuality, etc. (or words to that effect).

    The real priest standing with AC was correcting Rev. Cutié, but not enough time, and they were cross-talking over each other.

    Wish I saw the full segment. Did anybody else see it? Did I get the exchange wrong?


  41. acardnal says:

    Fr. Thompson, I don’t agree. I would not describe Fox News as “secular”. Fox News has favored Catholic positions for years. Moreover, Rupert Murdoch, the Chairman of News Corp, the parent of Fox News, is a Catholic and perhaps that is one of the reasons. Fox News, on the other hand, made a poor choice in selecting Shepard Smith to report on the conclave. He is biased against the Catholic faith.

    Personally, I watched EWTN all day.

  42. Andkaras says:

    2 computers side by side ,one with Fr. Z and one with EWTN live feed also Ave Maria radio in the background. Caught Al Krestas interview with Fr. Z . MSM reporting still disappointing except for a few bright spots already mentioned. Most networks still need a course of “Catholic sensitivity training”

  43. campello says:

    I watch fox news in general, but other than some welcome interruptions from Megan Kelly, Shepard Smith was horrible! At one point he actually was describing the Curia and Non Curia as two distinct political parties inside the conclave doing battle over swing votes, it was so bad. I don’t know why they couldn’t just let Fr Morris do the coverage. Thank God I had Catholic TV and EWTN to flip back to.

  44. robtbrown says:

    The big change in all the networks seems to be that no one of Fr McBrien’s ilk is a commentator. Fr Barron, Fr Morris, George Weigel, and Bob Moynihan (who also has a PhD in Medieval History) all understand the liberal agenda is trash. Of those Moynihan probably knows more about what is going on than the others. He was interviewed last night and was excellent.

    The big mistake is to use someone like SSmith on Fox who doesn’t have a clue about this whole matter. Journalists often think that being skeptical and portraying events in an establishment vs anti-establishment paradigm will make up for lack of knowledge.

    My guess is that the Fox producers might be more Catholic than some of their on air personnel. Hannity is Catholic but proudly says he contracepts. O’Reilly used to be pro abortion but changed when he realized most of his viewers were not. Kelly is a nominal Catholic.

  45. robtbrown says:

    BTW, here in Switzerland last eve I was watching EWTN live streaming. They seem to have some knowledgeable people, esp. compared to the MSM.

  46. robtbrown says:

    BTW, Murdoch is not Catholic, although his second wife was.

  47. Katylamb says:

    Is there some kind of delay between EWTN and the Vatican live tv? My husband and son were watching EWTN at the time the smoke was released and I had the Vatican live on my laptop. I saw the black smoke on my laptop while some men were still chattering on EWTN. There was a little delay before they showed it or acknowledged it. We get EWTN through Roku if that makes a difference.
    I didn’t vote because we watched them go into the conclave on EWTN. Very nice I thought.

  48. robtbrown says:

    Geoffrey says:

    I also have just been watching EWTN. I’ve watched Fox News a small bit, but even they cannot help but talk about “scandals” and “crisis” and “reforms”. I doubt I will see what other networks are doing.

    I’m glad they’re talking about the scandals, etc. Maybe it will create circumstances for reform–and that includes re-Latinizing the liturgy.

  49. NoraLee9 says:

    NBC has been dreadful. You can’t turn them on without hearing that “Catholics hope that the new Pope will ‘modernize’ the church. Who are these Catholics? I don’t know any of them.

  50. Jim of Bowie says:

    I’ve only watched Vatican feed and EWTN. I’m sure EWTN is better than any of the major networks, however even they spend too much time in their time filling discussions and don’t give enough good information. For example, has there be one or two ballots this morning? Also, they missed the smoke this morning.

  51. Lynne says:

    I wish a pol option was none of the above. :-)

    Unfortunately, last night CBS interviewed Fr. Reese and a priest with Amaerica magazine (it wasn’t Fr. Martin). Ugh to both. Just when I was ready to throw something at the TV, they interviewed some group from the US who had been scheduled to sing in Rome. Scott Pelly asked one of the men about Gregorian chant and the man sang some. He did a very nice job. So, at least the story ended on a nice note.

  52. The Masked Chicken says:

    “In the same report the reporter claimed that only one of the Cardinals could be elected pope.”

    There can be co-Popes?

    I don’t watch broadcast tv. I haven’t for 10 years. I get all of my news from the Internet. It never lies :)

    The Chicken

  53. chantgirl says:

    I stopped watching Fox, in part due to Shep, who comes acrosss as a mean version of Fred Willard in “Best in Show”. I will read their page, but even that irritates me with the ample female cleavage plastered on their homepage. I certainly can’t read it in the presence of my children. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve also detected some disdain for social conservatives coming from Fox over the last couple of years. If I’m going to watch news, it is PBS. I don’t agree with a lot of their views as a network, but they do a decent job of reporting. I will say that Fox’s online feed of the chimney is nice because there’s no commentary. I can keep it up during the day without disrupting the kids’ schoolwork.

  54. CatholicMD says:

    Cardinal McCarrick, James Martin, and Thomas Reese just on Fox. Ugh. I’ll definitely be watching EWTN. Maybe NBC to get some HD and commentary from Fr. Barron and George Weigel.

  55. e.e. says:

    Now that the white smoke has been spotted, I really think CBS is doing the best job. (NB: We don’t have EWTN so I can’t comment on EWTN’s coverage.) I watched CNN briefly, and had to change the channel when they began seeking out women’s ordination advocates on St Peter’s Square. Then I switched to Fox, but Shep Smith was intolerable with all his snarky rather anti-Catholic comments.

    CBS is doing a fairly balanced job today. The reporters even stopped talking for about a minute to allow a full shot of St. Peter’s Square and all the cheering, the bells ringing, etc.

  56. Giuseppe says:

    Habemus papam!

  57. e.e. says:

    Oh, now CBS just interviewed the same womens-ordination ladies that CNN did. Well, they were doing great keeping the commentary to a minimum until now.

  58. Kathleen10 says:

    We mostly watched, to my utter amazement, NBC! NBC had Fr. Barron and George Weigel, and I felt in better hands with them than with the other pundits I had seen. Usually, EWTN would be my go-to, always really, but the coverage just didn’t work for me this time. Where was Raymond Arroyo?? I remember Raymond and Fr. Neuhaus (God rest his soul) and yes, they were superb.
    Lester Holt annoyed me beyond words when in anticipation of the announcement of Pope Francis that he knew alot of people were hoping for a Pope that would make the church “more inclusive”. We all now know what that code means.
    When talking heads started their own pontificating on sex abuse, scandals, time of division, and the usual points they relentlessly make, I changed to another network.
    We enjoyed the seagull also, very much.

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