A word on the quality of reporting on the Pope’s retirement
posted at 1:46 pm on February 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
That word comes from my great friend, mentor, and Steelers-Browns antagonist Hugh Hewitt, who knows how to spot quality reporting in everything except a Cleveland Browns prediction for a win. The word in this case is discreditable:
But do beware of lefty, ill-informed, or simply outright anti-Catholic “journalists” dressing up their agendas as “reporting,” and attach zero importance to location of the byline being Rome.
Today’s lead piece on the succession in the New York Times is a perfect example. Authored by Rachel Donadio and Elisabetta Povoledo, and originating in Vatican City, it contains this whopper of a paragraph:
The resignation sets up a struggle between the staunchest conservatives, in Benedict’s mold, who advocate a smaller church of more fervent believers, and those who believe that the church can broaden its appeal in small but significant ways, like allowing divorced Catholics who remarry without an annulment to receive communion or loosening restrictions on condom use in an effort to prevent AIDS. There are no plausible candidates who would move on issues like ending celibacy for priests, or the ordination of women.
This is so silly a paragraph as to rank in some annual competition for naked bias somewhere.
Note these two reporters do not cite a single name of one of those staunch conservatives, nor of a cardinal or even an advisor to a cardinal who wants to allow divorced Catholics who remarry without annulment to receive communion.
They made up this “struggle” because they either do not know or do not want to report on the real issues facing the Church. If even one cardinal can be quoted saying he wants a smaller church of more fervent believers, I’ll send the reporters roses, but it is just absurdity with a byline, passed on by at best ignorant editors.
Some outlets have tried to get things right. Matt Lauer, for instance, has actually asked Catholic clergy to come on Today the last two days to get an accurate perspective on Benedict XVI’s retirement. I’ll have a post on that later on the main page.
Much of the reporting, however, is as nonsensical as Hugh describes, either out of ignorance or something worse. Part of it, though, comes from the narrow contexts in which work and analyze the news, especially through the prism of American politics. That produces “analysis” which in this case would have readers and viewers believe that the Church changes doctrine with each Pope, an absurdity that will end up backfiring when the next Pope is just as Catholic as Benedict XVI and every one of his predecessors.