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Does the media know the Pope better than the Pope does?
All too often, the media adds its own reasons to explain the Pope's and the Church's actions; reasons which are often biased.
- October 24, 2012
So, earlier in his career, heâ€™d written some copy for the on-air talent to read for that nightâ€™s show. The line was something like â€śClinton believes that the tax bill will pass.â€ť The guy who was supposed to read the line â€” he happened to be an old-school journalist with little time for silliness â€” excoriated him. He told Feist that a reporter can never know what a politician thinks, believes or feels. The reporter can only know what the politician says.
Politicians might be telling you something for any number of reasons. It might be because they believe it. It might be because they want to send a particular message to the opposition or to the ground troops. It might be for any number of reasons. But a reporter canâ€™t know what someone believes. He can only know what the source says. (The old-school journalist said this rule goes double for buildings, such as â€śThe White House believesâ€ť or â€śThe Vatican is hoping.â€ť)
Good reporting might be able to put the quote in context, but itâ€™s important that the reporter start by going with what the source says.
I thought of that when I read the first paragraph of this Associated Press story on big news in the Roman Catholic Church this weekend:
VATICAN CITY (AP) â€“ Some 80,000 pilgrims in flowered lei, feathered headdresses and other traditional garb flooded St. Peterâ€™s Square on Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI added seven more saints onto the roster of Catholic role models in a bid to reinvigorate the faith in parts of the world where itâ€™s lagging.
This seems to be a variation of the â€śbelievesâ€ť edict from above. Unless the Catholic Church has stated that they canonized these seven saints just to â€śreinvigorate the faith in parts of the world where itâ€™s lagging,â€ť why would the reporter say that?
Later weâ€™re told:
The canonization coincided with a Vatican meeting of the worldâ€™s bishops on trying to revive Christianity in places where itâ€™s fallen by the wayside.
At first it was just lagging. Now weâ€™re talking about those places in the world where Christianity has completely fallen by the wayside!
Full Story: AP knows what the Pope really thinks