Pope Francis Compares Bad Journalism to Feces

Pope Francis Compares Bad Journalism to Feces

Pope Francis believes Spreading disinformation is a sin

On Wednesday, Pope Francis gave a declaration in regard to the responsibility of journalism, comparing media networks that spread fake news to people who get excited by feces. It’s a weird comparison, but it has some solid logic behind it.

During an interview given to the Belgian Catholic weekly “Tertio“, Pope Francis declared that scandal-mongering news fall prey to coprophilia, the abnormal interest and pleasure in feces and defecation, while consumers risk falling victim to coprophagia (eating excrement). As quoted by Reuters, the Pope said:

“I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into — no offense intended — the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true… And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.”

It has lately been argued that fake news, circulated through social media, actually contributed to the victory of President-elect Donald Trump. Without making any direct reference to this, however, Pope Francis also stated that the spread of disinformation “is probably the greatest damage that the media can do because it directs opinion in only one direction and omits the other part of the truth.”

It is, according to the pope, a sin to defame people by focusing on scandals and smears. Referring to the dangers of using the media to slander political rivals, he said, according to The Guardian:

“The means of communication have their own temptations, they can be tempted by slander, and therefore used to slander people, to smear them, this above all in the world of politics. They can be used as means of defamation. No one has a right to do this. It is a sin and it is hurtful.”

The colorful vocabulary used by the pope is not new. In fact, a year before he was elected pope, he made a similar comment in regards to journalism to the Italian newspaper La Stampa. In any case, whether you’re comparing it to feces, to a sin or something else harmful, the victory of Donald Trump and the fatuous Pizzagate conspiracy are certainly clear examples of the dangers of misinformation.

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