“Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do,” said Pope Francis.
In an interview for the Wednesday issue of a Belgian Catholic weekly, Pope Francis called the act of spreading false news a “sin.” The pope condemned the misuse of media by powerful entities to spread fake information for their own vested interests and compared the people who love doing so to those who desire to eat fecal matter, or those who suffer from coprophagia, “that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true.”
Pope Francis has always been very direct about his views and has shared his opinion on matters such as politics and journalism. A few months ago, the pope directly called journalists “terrorists” for spreading fear and hatred at an audience with famous figures from the media. From the pope’s behavior, it’s very obvious that he’s not afraid to address issues directly, without trying to beat around the bush.
This interview is another example of the pope’s radical way of addressing issues.
Pope Francis acknowledged the power of the media as being a very influential force in shaping opinions and empowering people through knowledge and information. However, he expressed his disappointment that this same power has been exploited to spread lies, thereby causing widespread misery and untold suffering among people.
The monarch of the Vatican believes that the media should be absolutely transparent and honest in how they function. He observed that in today’s world, companies and governments are constantly trying to cover up scandals and crimes through media. The pope said that people who work for the media and journalists should resist being used by vested entities and report issues in all honesty, as they are.
— David Berlin (@3d3dave) December 8, 2016
Pope Francis warned journalists against falling prey to various temptations in their careers. He calls the desire to spread faulty information, to spread lies about someone and to defame someone as temptations in journalism. The pope exhorted journalists to overcome these temptations and to stick to the truth at all times.
“Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth.” -Pope Francis
The pope’s words were prompted when the issue of the shooting at a pizza parlor in D.C. came up. The incident was a result of false information that was spread by a Trump supporter, Michael G. Flynn, who said Hillary Clinton was using the restaurant to run a pedophilia ring.