Emmett Tyrrell

Yet Bozell has found some snotty bishops who probably outdo any of Mencken's bishops (circa 1920) or any contemporary art curator, the American Roman Catholic bishops. From their battlements at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, they have been wagging a pettifoggers' war with MRC over a nonsense at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars to both and for nothing. MRC has a news service on the internet, Cybercast News Service. It uses the name CNSNews.com and has since 1998. Two years after it started, the bishops through their lawyers ordered MRC to cease and desist from using CNS in its name because the bishops' Catholic News Service had earlier used the letters.

MRC refused, noting that several other news organizations used the same letters, for instance, a Protestant group, Charisma News Service, the Cox News Service, the China News Service. Pick on them was Bozell's implicit challenge. Also, Bozell discovered that the Catholic News Service never had the letters trademarked and believes they probably could not because of all the other organizations using these three letters. MRC proceeded to acquire its own trademark, "Cybercast News Service -- CNSNews.com," along with a distinctive logo to distinguish itself from all the others. That did it. The bishops' lawyers commenced a legal battle that has run up until this very month. So far Bozell has beaten them twice. They tried to get revoked the CNSNews.com trademark. That case was subsequently dismissed. The bishops then sued in federal court. That suit has also been thrown out. What next?

The bishops have not sued the Chinese or Cox, only MRC. Some around MRC think this is politics. Petty bureaucrats in the Conference of Catholic Bishops do not approve of Bozell's politics, so they are going to harass him. I say it is just another example of the smugness of a group of men who have demonstrated colossal smugness for years. Their reluctance to respond when told for decades that there were priests in their parishes abusing young people is the most infamous example of the bishops' insularity. This stupid legal battle with MRC is another example, a pettier example.

All I know for sure is that MRC's media monitors continue to ferret out the bias, and the bishops continue to complain that they are sorely pressed to pay off their sexual abuse penalties. One way out might be for the bishops to end their nuisance lawsuits and apply the savings to more pressing problems. It is fortunate for both MRC and the bishops that the owners of the China News Service have yet to get into the act.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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