Trump Versus the Pope

Posted on May 3, 2016 by


MaryKate Wray


What had happened:

The United States always has a lot of interesting drama during elections but this time around something new has occurred. The Pope has weighed in on how he felt about Donald Trump and his declarations of Christianity in response from a follower of the church asking: ‘should we as Christians vote for Donald Trump?’ While the Pope never gave a yes or no answer, his response nonetheless incited a frenzied media response. Many news outlets are trying to justify what had happened while others attempt to rake in as many views as possible. On occasion one or two members of the media just want to try and get their facts straight.

BBC News:

  • Article Title- Pope Francis questions Donald Trump’s Christianity

At first glance ABC News’ title seems to be fairly straight forward as it simply states what had happened. The Pope had indeed questioned Trump stating: ‘A person who thinks only of building walls and not bridges…is not a Christian.’ From the title alone it is hard to tell what stance ABC News is taking. The first half of the article also seems to be clear cut and minimal in wording, focusing on the basics of the event and Trump’s policies regarding Mexico. There are many quotes from the Pope and the author’s voice is relatively absent. As the article goes on however it is clear that the author is siding with the Pope. Words such as: attack, and courting (in regards to voters) were used. The article even went on to discuss how Trump was not sincere in his religion and even gave examples and quotes on how Trump had contradicted himself in the past. This gives the reader the view that Trump is merely pandering to Christians in order to get votes, and that the Pope was correct in stating that Trump was not a real Christian.  This article drew from many different sources most being quotes from multiple people: The Pope, Donald Trump, Jon Sopel (A North American editor), Marco Rubio (A rival of Trump for the presidency), and Jeb Bush (Also a rival for presidency).

Article Source:

NY Daily News:

  • Article Title- Pope Francis says Trump ‘not Christian’ because of Mexican border plan, candidate calls pontiff’s remarks ‘disgraceful.’  

The NY Daily News title that has far more drama in it than the BBC article title. It high lights the idea of conflict in the hopes that it can immediately draw the readers in. A picture right below the title shows a rather sober looking Pope and Trump with a look of disdain. The article immediately starts off with very strong words choices such as: Holy war, erupted, enraged, blowhard, ferocious, and orange-hued (in regards to Trump.) It is painfully clear that the authors of this article -Larry Mcshane and Ginger Adams Otis- do not side with Trump. Unlike the BBC article this article has a very strong voice of the authors. Unlike the BBC article this piece does not have many outside sources and only quotes the Pope and Trump. The authors did however, attach a video to the article to further draw in readers/viewers. This article seems to be less about informing and more about fanning the flames or getting views.

Article Source:

ABC News:

  • Article Title- Pope Francis says Donald Trump is ‘not Christian’ 

This title is closer to that of the BBC title and lacks the flare of the NY Daily News. At a glance it appears to be as unbiased as possible while stating a simple fact. The picture beneath the title shows a smiling Pope and what seems to be Donald Trump trying to smile. This picture is far less provocative than the NY Daily one and seems to try and picture both the Pope and Trump in a better light. The wording of this article is also less inflammatory and airs more on the side of sophisticated: Umbrage, mogul, and dismissal. After looking through the article it seems to be less of the author’s words (Meghan Keneally) and more quotes. Most of the quotes are directly from the Pope or Trump, and the parts of the article that are not quotes, merely state in simple terms what had happened. This article does not appear to take a side and instead the author tries to remain unbiased. However, the author does bring up some of the past ‘shots’ Trump has made at Mexico and its citizens.

Article Source:

The Washington Post:

  • Article Title- What the media missed about the pope’s rebuke of Donald Trump

Right away this article stands out from all the rest. There is no Trump verses the Pope or any over the top media drama evident. Beneath the title is a picture of the Pope holding his hand out while speaking into a microphone. Like the previous articles the event in question is summarized in the first few paragraphs, but the wording remains rather neutral. What is interesting about this article is it also summarizes the general media response to the whole debate. The author (Callum Borchers) did not write this article in order to really tell viewers about what had happened-although that is covered- he wrote the article to analyze the media response and what may have been glossed over or missed entirely. The author’s voice is present in the article and he throws in some humor to keep the reader interested. Despite the article being a analysis of other media sources and the argument between the Pope and Trump; Callum does take a side. He pokes fun at Trump’s claim of being a Christian and seems to paint the Pope in a more favorable light. He also attempts to pick apart the attacks directed at the Pope by taking a different look at the pontiff’s words.

Article Source:


Despite there being many different articles on the subject, a few things remained steady across them. All articles gave background knowledge (which is to be expected) and used direct quotes from both the Pope and Trump. Some articles -NY Daily, and The Washington Post- were clearly bias and often poked fun at Trump. Other articles- BBC, and ABC News- attempted to remain a little more neutral but still brought up some of Trump’s past deeds. It’s honestly hard to say if this is because all media sources listed here dislike Trump or that Trump relies on constant media attention and thus makes a load of noise at the slightest slight (more likely).




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