instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Want accurate reporting? Be careful what you wish for.

I am so far inside the bubble that it never would have occurred to me that Pope Francis's granting to all priests the authority to forgive the sin of abortion would be noticed, much less featured, by secular news.

Silly me. I was thinking about what the news was, rather than what it would sound like to someone who doesn't know the from that Pope Francis is changing to. Journalism has evolved from saying, "Lord Jones is dead," to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive to saying, "Lord Jones's death confirms our readers' biases." In this case, the biases are that the Church is medieval and heartless, and Pope Francis is changing everything.

Couple that with the Pew survey about Catholics who don't believe Catholicism, and it's little surprise that NPR's Morning Edition spent several minutes Wednesday morning talking about the Church.

I braced myself for bias, but I don't think the NPR reporters honked up any worse than the Catholics they interviewed. I've seen a lot of reporting with such basic errors that I've wondered if there is not a single practicing Catholic on the whole news staff, but it can be said that, as a class, we American Catholics don't practice all that hard.