Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Where to go for news on the papal transition

Speaking of media distortions, commentator Hugh Hewitt offers tips on how to avoid them if you're following the succession to Pope Benedict over the next month or so.

Noting that the Roman Catholic Church "has legions of foes spread throughout major media," Hewitt blogs:
Those critics will surface repeatedly between now and the selection of the new pope to use the occasion to sling their stones. It is a fun time, really, since they know almost nothing of which they speak, and their agenda journalism is of so little consequence unlike the MSM's recent interventions in the presidential election.

There are very good commentators on the Church and the proceedings at the Vatican, and they include Father Robert Barron, Father Joseph Fessio, Father C.J. McCloskey, Father Robert Sirico, Father Robert Spitzer and Benedict and John Paul II biographer George Weigel to name just six. There are others, though these scholars and very savvy media commentators are at the very top echelon of Americans who can offer genuine insight and commentary on this extraordinarily important moment in the life of the Church and the world it serves. Many protestant leaders, like Dr. Albert Mohler, can offer very informed judgments on the roie of the Church in the world.

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.
Hewitt also recommends John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter for factual reporting. I would add EWTN's The World Over with Raymond Arroyo to that list, as well as other programs on that network. For opinion, check out Patrick Buchanan's latest column on Benedict, which is titled, "A Godly Man in an Ungodly Age."

The "journalists" of which Hewitt speaks appear on the networks you know and write for wire services that run in the newspapers you know. Editors and TV news producers tend to think religion doesn't belong in the newspaper or on the broadcast at all, and if they have to cover it, they'll do so begrudgingly and exact their pound of flesh. That's their attitude.

I was in a big-city sports department a little more than 20 years ago when one of the reporters, on hearing some news about a priest in Central America who granted asylum to some political figure, blurted, "I knew there was a reason I hate Catholics!" I've heard comments like this in newsrooms way more than once in the course of my career. This hatred influences how stories are written, edited and selected, all the way down the line.

Whether you're Catholic or not, the church still has a lot of influence around the world, and the ascension of a new pope is still a big deal internationally. In these perilous times in which we live, now is not the time to be ill-informed.

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