I haven’t seen so much anti-religious bigotry since the Taliban were back in the news last summer.
And when it comes to anti-religious bigotry of the anti-Catholic variety, I am a veteran of those sad trenches. I grew up in the Deep South. I love my fellow Southerners, but I know that many Protestants, especially those in the Bible Belt, have wild notions about the Catholic Faith. Worshipping Mary, worshipping statues, “whore of Babylon”—I’ve heard it all before, a thousand times at least. After a while, I just began to feel sorry for people. It’s not that they hate the Catholic Church. It’s that, as the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, they hate what they “wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church.”
The internet was melting down with reactions to the Atlantic essay anyway, so I decided to take a different tack. I e-mailed the author of the piece, a man living in Canada named Daniel Panneton.
So, when I encounter someone as completely clueless as the author of the Atlantic piece on matters Catholic, I try to reach out and learn a bit about how, to put it as delicately as I can, he or she came to hold such fascinating opinions.
The internet was melting down with reactions to the Atlantic essay anyway, so I decided to take a different tack. I e-mailed the author of the piece, a man living in Canada named Daniel Panneton. I had never heard of him before, so I tried finding his contact information online. I discovered he was listed as the “Manager of the Online Hate Research and Education Project” at the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto.
On Thursday, August 18, at about twenty minutes after noon Japan time, I sent the Neuberger Centre the following message.
Dear Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre Staff,
Greetings. My name is Jason Morgan. I do some writing for The Remnant, a traditionalist Catholic newspaper in Minnesota. (I myself am based in Japan.)
Mr. Daniel Panneton, listed on your website as an affiliate of the Neuberger Centre, recently published an essay at the Atlantic about the Rosary. As you may be aware, the piece has generated considerable controversy.
I would like to interview Mr. Panneton for The Remnant so he can tell his side of the story. I’d like to learn more about his views on the Rosary and on Catholicism and Christianity in general. I would also like to learn from him more details about his work overall, and how he sees the Rosary (and Catholicism and Christianity) fitting within the context of his research.
The interview could be by Zoom or Google Meet, or by FaceTime if that would work better. I’m on Tokyo time, so on the other side of the world from Toronto, but I am happy to work with Mr. Panneton to find a good time to speak. This is not a TV interview. I will do a write-up of the interview for The Remnant, but I won’t make a visual recording of the interview (although you are welcome to do so). I will just use a sound recorder so I can get quotes right.
Others from the Neuberger Centre are also most welcome to join the interview. My objective is to get a fuller picture of Mr. Panneton’s ideas and his outlook, so it would be very helpful to have other voices in the conversation to help provide additional perspectives and dimensions.
I’ve found that accusations of hate are best met with encounter and dialogue. I want to know more about Mr. Panneton, and about the backdrop to his views. Where there is confusion, let us together counter it with mutual understanding. I am praying the Rosary today for Mr. Panneton and for the Neuberger Centre. May God bless you all.
Thank you for considering. I am looking forward to communicating with Mr. Panneton and with others from the Neuberger Centre at your convenience.
In the meantime, I began going through the links in Panneton’s Atlantic essay to see where he was getting his “information” from. What I found was not at all surprising. Panneton appears to be learning about what he wrongly believes to be Catholicism from a slew of other people who are perhaps even worse informed than he is.
Panneton appears not to have tried getting anyone who potentially disagrees with him to offer their side of the story.
There’s this, for example, which contains a screen shot of a Michael Matt video and bears the hysterical (in both senses of the word) headline, “IS THE GROWING ANTI-POPE ‘RAD-TRAD’ COMMUNITY POISED TO BECOME ‘QATHOLICS’? HISTORY ISN’T ENCOURAGING.” The writer of this piece of unintentional comedy cites such renowned experts in the Catholic Faith as “journalist Kathryn Joyce,” who writes for Vanity Fair, and—even better—Novus Ordo globalist sock puppet Bishop Robert Barron. The all-caps-headlined essay—you will be shocked to discover—parrots “journalist Kathryn Joyce” and Bishop Barron in attacking the Latin Mass. According to “IS THE GROWING ANTI-POPE ‘RAD-TRAD’ COMMUNITY POISED TO BECOME ‘QATHOLICS’? HISTORY ISN’T ENCOURAGING,” The Remnant, in particular, is BAAADDDD NEWS. The essay authors, Dr. Joshua P. Hevert and Thomas Lecaque, even do me the honor of linking to my Remnant work. And if Morgan’s involved, you know Q-ANON can’t be far behind.
“Hate” researcher Daniel Panneton also links in his Rosary essay to “The Alt-Right and Medieval Religions,” by Brandeis English professor Dorothy Kim, “How Catholicism Became Alt-Fashion’s Saviour,” by one Biz Sherbert, and—another one from Kathryn Joyce!—" White nationalists get religion: On the far-right fringe, Catholics and racists forge a movement.”
And so on. In the world of the smug liberal, this all counts as serious scholarship and journalistic investigation. Never mind that none of it bears the slightest resemblance to Catholicism as you’ll find it practiced at any Latin Mass parish on any given Sunday. Never mind that the portrait of “Catholicism” these poor, misguided people paint is laughably false. Never mind about all that. These “experts” write for left-wing outlets, so they must be, well, right. That they’ve probably never set foot in a Latin Mass community or prayed a single decade of the Holy Rosary doesn’t mean they don’t know everything there is to know about “rad-trad” Catholicism.
While I found plenty of self-referential non-research like the above in Panneton’s missive, what I couldn’t find were any quotes from the people he was attacking. Panneton pulls quotes from other internet sites, and from a speech by Pope Francis as well as from comments by Barron and other bishops. But Panneton appears not to have tried getting anyone who potentially disagrees with him to offer their side of the story. It seems all he did was sit as his computer and copy links.
My guess, and I hope he’ll correct me if I wrong, is that he just copied-and-pasted URLs to salacious clickbait he found amusing.
I reached out to the Knights of Columbus, to the Diocese of Phoenix (three times), and to Roman Catholic Gear (twice) to confirm whether Panneton, who links to these organizations in his piece, ever tried to contact them. I got no reply from anyone. Fair enough. As a journalist, the best you can do is try. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, then you just put that in your write-up so readers will know you have done more than simply recycle talking points.
Panneton says nothing in his Rosary-as-AR-15 essay about ever having picked up a phone or typed out an e-mail to anyone at all, however, so my guess is that he didn’t practice basic journalistic ethics. My guess, and I hope he’ll correct me if I wrong, is that he just copied-and-pasted URLs to salacious clickbait he found amusing.
If this were the extent of it, then it would be just another day at the office for your typical fake-news outlet. If Panneton’s article were just routine-level incompetent and uninformed, then Panneton, and the “editors” at the Atlantic who signed off on his nonsense, would be solidly in the company of thousands of other “journalists” and “editors” who do nothing resembling journalism or editing in their daily fiction writing.
But there’s something interesting buried in all this fake-news pantomiming. Panneton, as his Neuberger Centre title indicates, styles himself as a “hate” researcher. TownHall reporter Mia Cathell (finally, a real journalist!) notes that “Panneton is the manager of the Online Hate Research & Education Project (OHREP), an 18-month venture funded by a generous $340,000 grant from the Canadian government's Anti-Racism Action Program.”
Dear reader, I think you and I are beginning to understand how this works. Daniel Panneton is not a “hate” researcher. He’s a hustler. The “hate” Panneton writes about is a foregone conclusion. Whether he finds actual “hate” in his “research” doesn’t matter. “Hate” must exist in order for people like him to continue bilking taxpayers and gullible donors out of their cash. (And Protestants think selling indulgences was bad!) The catch is that if Panneton and his fellow scam artists tried speaking with, say, Michael Matt at The Remnant, or people from the Knights of Columbus or the Diocese of Phoenix or Roman Catholic Gear—or even with little ol’ me—then they might have to admit that, goodness, the “haters” aren’t really hating after all. They’re regular people living peaceful lives and praying for their enemies. I would love for Panneton to show up at a soup kitchen run by volunteers from the local Latin Mass parish and document how those haters were hating on the homeless with free coffee, spaghetti, salad, and bread. I would love for Panneton to stop by the house of a “rad-trad” family in his neighborhood and catch them in hateful prayer to the Blessed Mother while reciting the hate-speech of the Our Father and the Hail Mary. All that hate—more than could fit in one Atlantic article for sure.
Daniel Panneton, I am sorry to say, would have to get a real job. Which, for a liberal, is a fate worse than death. The little people work. Work is for haters. Liberal hate researchers research.
But that will never happen, dear reader. Because if it did, then the 340 grand from the Canadian government, and all the other grants and checks and credit card donations and general cashflow going into the coffers of big-time hate hustlers like the Southern Poverty Law Center, would disappear. And Daniel Panneton, I am sorry to say, would have to get a real job. Which, for a liberal, is a fate worse than death. The little people work. Work is for haters. Liberal hate researchers research.
No fake hate, no hard cash. The Atlantic is merely the middleman—sorry, middleperson—in this cheap racket.
But if reality were to intrude on this scam, then it would all fall to pieces. I am guessing not even Ottawa, and maybe not even Washington, DC, would pay money to “research” desk jockeys like myself. I’m a run-of-the-mill hater who happens, to my disqualification, not to hate anybody at all. Heck, I don’t even own a firearm. (I do own a Rosary, though. Proof positive, Daniel?) The only things that bomb in my vicinity are my jokes. Even—and I’m going out on a limb here—the fascists at the FBI would probably be so bored raiding my home that they would give up in less than nine hours and go home with fewer than two-dozen boxes of planted “evidence.” Probably!
You get the idea. No hate here. Which is precisely why Daniel Panneton had no interest in speaking with me. And also, I suspect, because he’s a coward.
You get the idea. No hate here. Which is precisely why Daniel Panneton had no interest in speaking with me. And also, I suspect, because he’s a coward. He never had any intention of taking responsibility for what he’d written. He expected the force-field of liberal opinion to protect him from criticism. When the force-field failed, he disappeared. Haven’t heard from Panneton in public since the Assumption. (Maybe he’s praying the Rosary. I hope so, at least.)
By the way, I reached out to the Atlantic, too. And then, once more, to the Neuberger Centre. Here’s what I wrote to the latter on August 20 in the early afternoon Japan time:
Dear Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre Staff,
Greetings again. Please forgive a second message. I am approaching my deadline and would really like to have comment from your team about Mr. Panneton’s Atlantic piece on the Rosary, and about religious tolerance in general. Any comments are very welcome. I want to present as many sides of this story as I can.
I will need to have your input by close of business Monday (August 22) to have a chance of making the draft.
I sent the below message to Mr. Panneton via the Atlantic—I would also welcome your thoughts on any of these questions.
Hello. This is *not* a request for correction. I am trying to get in touch with Daniel Panneton, the author of the recent Atlantic piece on the Rosary. I am writing about his piece for another outlet and want to verify a few points. I also invite anyone at the Atlantic to comment on the below.
1/ Did Mr. Panneton practice basic journalistic ethics by contacting the organizations he attacks in his piece?
2/ Did anyone at the Atlantic fact-check Mr. Panneton's piece before it was published?
3/ Does the Atlantic have any guidelines on preventing hate and bigotry in Atlantic articles?
4/ Can you provide a rough idea of how much background research Mr. Panneton did on the Rosary, or on Catholicism in general, before submitting the draft for the Rosary piece?
5/ Does the Atlantic have any comment about Mr. Panneton's piece, about anti-religious bigotry, about anti-religious hate, or about journalistic ethics?
Thank you for considering! I will look forward to your reply.
So far, again, nothing. But I already knew that would happen. The Atlantic is in on the “hate” scam, too.
Prejudice + cowardice = the “hate” business.
—Jason Morgan is associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan
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