21 August 2004

The Real Deal: How a Philosophy Professor With a Checkered Past Became the Most Influential Catholic Layman in George W. Bush’s Washington

From the National Catholic Reporter, regarding the Deal Hudson affair:

This
past March 17, having paid tribute to the saint who drove the snakes
from Ireland, George W. Bush — first lady to his left, Irish prime
minister to his right — bounded off the Roosevelt Room podium. As he
began to work the crowd of Irish Americans and Gaelic-wannabees, the
president noticed a familiar face, a fellow Texan, among those
assembled at the annual St. Patrick’s Day White House
gathering.”

Immediately after George Bush spoke,” recalled former U.S.
ambassador to the Vatican Ray Flynn, “the first person he greeted was
Deal Hudson.”

Heady stuff, perhaps, to be the first among the gathered
Catholic glitterati to be singled out by the most powerful man in the
world. But by now Hudson — publisher of the conservative Catholic
monthly Crisis, Bush political operative, and one-time philosophy
professor — was accustomed to the treatment.

Hudson, a 54-year-old,
thrice-married former Baptist minister, is a regular White House
visitor, a leading Bush campaign Catholic proxy, and a widely quoted
partisan unafraid to use his pen to serve the Bush cause.

In more than
two dozen interviews conducted by NCR over a four-and-a-half-month
period, mostly with former friends and Hudson’s ideological kin, a
complicated portrait emerged. Though few of those interviewed would
speak on the record, many of them painted a far less flattering picture
of Hudson than his public moralizing would suggest, and several raised
questions about the allegations that ended his academic career.

Also check out The Revealer, which generally turns out good criticism of reporting at mainstream and niche press, left and right.

UPDATE:
The National Catholic Reporter has just posted the article that sparked
the Deal Hudson affair — even before it was published. Joe Feuerherd’s
expose is what religion reporting should be: tough, theologically and
politically informed, empathetic, and attuned to the intersections of
faith and the world. Here’s why it matters to everyone, religious or
not: “The perception that [Deal] Hudson controls Catholic access to the
White House is widespread [and] largely accurate.”

This isn’t attack
journalism. Writes Feuerherd: “In my 20 years as a writer and
journalist I’ve written what could fairly be termed “favorable stories”
about such conservative Catholics as Cardinal John O’Connor, Opus Dei’s
Fr. C. John McCloskey, Patrick J. Buchanan, and Jim Towey, director of
the Bush Administration Office of Faith Based Initiatives. The notion
that this story was somehow politically motivated is incorrect. I went
where the story led me. “

Cross posted at Command Post.

Posted in Politicks on 21 August 2004 at 6:31 pm by Nate