"Covering the Pope: a guide for journalists"

A tongue-in-cheek guide for journalists on the Catholic beat offers a critique of papal media coverage in "Britain's leading Catholic newspaper," the Catholic Herald:

If in doubt, be vague and waffly about the purpose of any protests – especially if there doesn’t appear to be one. Those nice Christian folk only “turn the other cheek” anyway; not like the protesters, who, if they don’t get due praise and coverage, will bombard your switchboard with anguished complaints and flood the blogosphere with manufactured outrage at your lack of thoroughness.

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Any rumour of a potential walk-out from politicians or other religious leaders in response to an appearance by Pope should be reported as fact - in other words, as though it had already happened. Don’t correct your story if it turns out only that a tiny proportion of the loonier fringes of Government failed to show up. That’s just splitting hairs.

Deploy the trinity of divided, divisive and division. These words should be on the tip of your tongue at all times. Remember, the Pope’s opinions are dangerous and alarming: don’t let him get away with expressing an opinion without slathering your copy in withering invective. It’s also useful to mash up different sorts of Christianity: the readers don’t know the difference between Archbishop Rowan Williams and Archbishop Vincent Nichols anyway, and it helps to convey the sense that the Church is fractured and damaged.

Read the full piece here.

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Stephen SCHEWE
7 years ago
Hmmm... I suppose a 41 year old who's reported for Der Spiegel for 10 years could be considered young.  How about the facts of her reporting, David?  Those don't seem as easy to dismiss.

Undoubtedly, there are slacker journalists out there writing about the Pope.  But some of the slackers appear to be just going with the Vatican line, either to preserve their access to sources, their jobs, or both.
Thomas Piatak
7 years ago
A very good piece. 
ed gleason
7 years ago
To those dissidents /reformers out there... 'It's the media stupid'
Stephen SCHEWE
7 years ago
I wonder what we should make of this report on Benedict's visit by Spiegel Online:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,788388,00.html

Fiona Ehlers describes an informal visual opinion poll in Freiburg of "tens of thousands of young people" conducted visually, using red and green clap sticks that had been handed out to the crowd.  "The Vatican journalists who'd tagged along on the journey seemed stunned..."

This incident hasn't been reported in any of the coverage in U.S. outlets that I've seen so far.  Should we dismiss it as an example of the ignorant, anti-Catholic reporting Yiannopoulos seeks to lampoon? Or perhaps there's another narrative at work among Catholic journalists, similar to the story of the Emperor's New Clothes?

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