All three broadcast morning newscasts devoted full stories on Monday to the first day of public viewing for the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. CBS’s Chris Livesay was the most antagonistic to Benedict’s legacy, regurgitating once again the “God’s Rottweiler” epithet, and tagging Benedict as an “arch-conservative” vs. the merely “more liberal” Pope Francis.

Livesay suggested Benedict created friction by his mere presence in the Vatican after he retired: “Having two men wearing white created the impression of two competing ideological camps — Francis the more liberal, Benedict the arch-conservative.”

But over on ABC, correspondent Terry Moran — who tagged Benedict as “a conservative icon” — rejected that premise: “When Pope Benedict resigned, he pledged unconditional obedience to his successor, and he kept that promise. It could have been awkward; there were those among conservatives who tried to use him to parry the efforts of progressive Pope Francis, but Pope Francis said it was like having an old grandfather living on the premises….”

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NBC’s report, from correspondent Molly Hunter, mostly hewed to recounting the events of Monday; her only nod to the ideological fissures in the Church came when she described Benedict as “a man who held a wildly different world view” than current Pope Francis.

Here’s a video excerpt from Livesay’s report, followed by the complete transcript from the January 2 edition of CBS Mornings, as well as partial transcripts from ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today (click expand): Note: Rich Noyes writes for the Media Research Center, a non profit research and education foundation dedicated to studying and analyzing the bias in the mainstream media. This column originally appeared in its Newsbusters blog.

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