Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Media's Misunderstanding of the Pope . . . and Religion in General?

I'm not Catholic, but I think there have been a few notable and honorable actions taken by Pope Francis. I've also seen evidence of much of the media's inability to understand religion. An ethnodoxologist friend of mine recently posted an article by a Catholic columnist that has some interesting points that we should all heed when it comes to dealing with the media and understanding conversation and context.

 "While this continuing media failure exasperates Catholics who actually understand what Pope Francis says, it raises a more significant question of media credibility on religious matters, and perhaps even more broadly than that. Catholic doctrine and teachings are easily accessible and understandable, and yet the media don't appear interested in checking facts first before publishing news stories that inevitably mischaracterize the words of Francis and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Just how well do they report on other religions making news, whether that is Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or even atheism? Do they research those topics before publication, or are they building fact-deficient narratives on those topics, too — and at what cost to clarity?"