On Tuesday’s edition of "Nightline," anchor Martin Bashir interviewed businessman Tom Monaghan, founder of a new Catholic university in Florida and also a community called Ave Maria that will be based around Catholic values. Bashir parroted criticism that the town has "been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
Earlier in the segment, Bashir asserted that the community, which will encourage traditional values but be open to all, has "been called a Disney World for Catholics, a country club Christianity."
The "Nightline co-host began the segment, which aired at 11:35pm, by wondering if Ave Maria would be as "welcoming to unbelievers" as it is to Christians. (Would it ever occur to ABC to ask, for instance, if San Francisco would be welcoming to conservatives?) He then proceeded to regurgitate criticism from a nearly two-year-old Wall Street Journal column that featured a quote maligning the proposed community as a "Catholic Jonestown":
Martin Bashir: "But not everyone is delighted at the prospect of a town so avowedly Catholic, especially those concerned with civil liberties. You know that’s it’s been described as a Catholic Jonestown, a kind of Catholic Iran, where individual rights and liberties are curtailed."
Tom Monaghan: "That was a statement made in the Wall Street Journal for which I got an apology in writing from the publisher of the Wall Street Journal for. That was a very nasty statement, because it’s nowhere near what were about."