Journalists and their Discontents

With the Vatican prosecuting journalists for publishing leaked information, Terry Mattingly thinks the pope may have some lessons for the press.

First Pope Francis:

The free press, secular and also religious, but professional; because the press, secular or religious, must be professional. It’s important that they are truly professional, that the news isn’t manipulated. For me it’s important, because the denunciation of corruption, of injustice, is good work, because there is corruption. And then the one in charge must do something, make a judgment, a tribunal.

The professional press must tell everything, without falling into the three most common sins: misinformation, to tell one half but not the other; calumny, which is not professional – when there is no professionality, you dirty the other person, with or without truth; and defamation, to take away the good name of the person who right now hasn’t done anything wrong to anyone; maybe it’s something from the past.

These are the three defects that are an attack against the professionality of the press. We need professionality, what’s right: things are like this and this. And on corruption? To see the data well and say it: this, this and this. If there is corruption, they should say it. And if a journalist, if they are truly professional, gets it wrong, he should excuse himself. Things go very well like this.

Mattingly comments:

However, it goes without saying that – in the age of Kellerism (click here for background) – I found it interesting that the first thing the pope mentioned was the tendency for modern journalists to act, when covering many hot-button news topics, as if there is only side of a debate that is worthy of coverage, accurate coverage or coverage that shows respect. This is especially true when covering issues of moral theology linked to sexuality and marriage.

Then again, perhaps Francis simply believes that he has, at some point, been the victim of reporting that actually turns information into misinformation.

So what happened to Mattingly when reporting on the press’ coverage of David Daleiden? At that point he faulted journalists for only regarding Daleiden as a politically motivated actor and overlooking the “documentarian’s” religion:

So, basically, the impact of his Catholic faith (which has quite a bit to say, doctrinally speaking, on the sanctity of human life) on his work received the same amount of space – in terms of word count – as his hybrid car (shocking, one must assume, since he is a social conservative) and less attention than his socks.

Perhaps Daleiden is the wrong kind of Catholic?

But the key: When a reporter asks Daleiden why he does what he does, how does he answer that question? Is the Post accurate in its assumption that his primary motives are political?

Perhaps his motives are personal, the kinds of motives that would be explored in-depth in this kind of profile? That would have meant taking the contents of this phrase – “he described himself as the result of a ‘crisis pregnancy’ ” – MUCH more seriously.

But here’s the catch. Why don’t the pope’s remarks about journalists apply to Daleiden? That is how he identified himself — as a reporter and a Roman Catholic to boot — and yet he seems to be guilty of the very errors that Francis says afflict the press:

1: a misrepresentation intended to harm another’s reputation
2: the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another’s reputation

I guess we need another Jesuitical casuist to resolve this one.

In the meantime, sometimes the folks who point out the inconsistencies of journalists might take their own into account.

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7 thoughts on “Journalists and their Discontents

  1. 1: a misrepresentation intended to harm another’s reputation
    2: the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another’s reputation

    We is lost? Who hacked OL? TVD, Grim or EC?
    Is this the OLNonSequitur Society? The Twilight Zone?

    Huh?
    Yeah, DD misrepresented himself, but the truth of the matter harm’s PP’s already reprehensible rep more than any malicious calculation on his part.
    PP’s running an illegal chop shop for baby parts cause all those legal abortions got to be properly recycled, wink.
    #jumpthesharkmuch?

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  2. here we go again

    abortion

    shrug

    http://www.christiananswers.net/q-sum/q-life020.html

    The Lord:“ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,”;thus says the One who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things.

    You formed my inward parts;You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

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  3. “The videos – In spite of Planned Parenthood’s favorite talking point that they have been “discredited” and are “heavily edited” – have been authenticated by leading forensic experts.”

    http://www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2015/12/04/yesterday-s-senate-vote-defunding-planned-parenthood-was-historic

    Until yesterday, the U.S. Senate had never passed a bill defunding Planned Parenthood. The House of Representatives has voted to defund Planned Parenthood many times. But in the Senate, the vote had always failed. As recently as 2011, a vote to defund Planned Parenthood failed in the Senate, 42-58. Planned Parenthood had successfully painted itself as a trusted and necessary provider of women’s healthcare – and a powerful political action committee that politicians should fear.
    That has changed.

    Yesterday, the United States Senate passed legislation (expected to be easily approved by the House) that defunds Planned Parenthood. The bill also repeals the core elements of Obamacare – including the employer and individual mandates – a law that is compelling both employers and individuals to pay for abortion-inducing drugs and even surgical abortions in violation of their conscience.
    For all the frustration many have had with Congress, they got it right yesterday. They got it done by using a budget reconciliation process that allows the Senate to send a bill to the President’s desk with a simple majority and avoid obstruction by pro-abortion Senators.
    What changed between the failed 2011 vote and yesterday? Planned Parenthood is losing its brand. Here are some of the reasons the debate shifted over the last four years:
    • We now know that Planned Parenthood has been audited in nine states, with all nine showing overbilling and improper claims to Medicaid — totaling over $12 million.
    • We have heard from Planned Parenthood whistleblowers, like Abby Johnson and Sue Thayer, who have revealed Planned Parenthood’s focus on its bottom line instead of women’s health.
    • We have seen with our own eyes the apparently illegal and definitely callous videos of Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the prices of baby body parts. The videos – In spite of Planned Parenthood’s favorite talking point that they have been “discredited” and are “heavily edited” – have been authenticated by leading forensic experts.
    • We now know that Planned Parenthood has failed to report the sexual abuse of young girls at least a dozen times, often performing abortions, receiving payment, and sending them right back to their abusers.
    • Planned Parenthood’s propaganda machine is now being forced to answer questions about its many deceptions that it never thought it would have to answer. And the more people know the truth about Planned Parenthood’s barbarism, the less they like Planned Parenthood.

    And perhaps as importantly, Americans – and our elected officials – now understand that Planned Parenthood is not a necessary evil. Of the over 187,000 Medicaid providers in America, only 665 are Planned Parenthoods. And there are thousands of federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics, many of which provide far more comprehensive care than Planned Parenthood. Some of them, unlike Planned Parenthood, actually provide mammograms.
    President Obama has already announced that he will veto this bill. But the fact that he will have to do so is an historic step. It means that Americans who object to their forced partnership with America’s leading abortionist can have hope that this will soon end. And for Planned Parenthood, it means that their half a billion dollars in annual contributions from unwilling American taxpayers is hanging by a single vote – the one in the White House.
    Sometime soon, Planned Parenthood will not be able to depend on the American taxpayers to subsidize its destruction of over 300,000 unborn children every year. Yesterday’s vote paves the way to that victory.

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  4. But here’s the catch. Why don’t the pope’s remarks about journalists apply to Daleiden? That is how he identified himself — as a reporter and a Roman Catholic to boot — and yet he seems to be guilty of the very errors that Francis says afflict the press:

    1: a misrepresentation intended to harm another’s reputation
    2: the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another’s reputation

    I guess we need another Jesuitical casuist to resolve this one.

    He would no doubt laugh at the dishonest framing of the premises.

    1: “misrepresentation” is being used in a different context
    2: there was no “malice” unless you would say that opposing Dr. Mengele’s crimes against humanity is somehow “malicious”

    There was no calumny: Planned Parenthood is guilty as charged, as Ali shows.

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  5. Michael Horton–“There are many Roman Catholic individuals-perhaps more than at any other time, with whom we can share significant agreement even on the nature of the gospel itself. Roman Catholic New Testament scholars like Joseph Fitzmeyer argue an essentially evangelical position on justification, while many evangelicals are rejecting such “Lutheran” exegesis! Rome’s official teaching is better than the Pelagian creed that seems to dominate so much of American Protestant religion …. While we will not be serving each other Communion any time soon, nothing should keep MATURE Protestants from taking advantage of the rich resources of contemporary Roman Catholic theologians and pastors .”

    Carl Truman urges us to look to Rome for “moral theology” –“For Roman Catholics, the challenges of our cultural exile are different. Rome has somehow managed to maintain a level of social credibility in America, despite holding to positions regarded as intolerable by the wider secular world when held by Protestants.”

    http://catholicmoraltheology.com/pope-francis-gets-political-in-mexico/

    But maybe accepting the water (and other resources) of Rome is not so much about getting more Romanists on the Supreme Court, but only one more way for confessionalists to insult evangelicals–each and everyone almost all of them are like those guys who wanted to take over Munster and set up their own Geneva…

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