Bias in news articles and Pope Francis -Rick Lopez

Posted on December 12, 2016 by

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Bias in the News and the POPE  -Rick Lopez

 

When one thinks of the pope what comes to mind tends to be small characteristics.  The hat, the robe, his mannerisms or even just his message. However, when it comes to making a clear picture of who the representative of the catholic church is and what he values, many make quick judgement based on their news sources of choice. Unfortunately, the agendas, bias, or audience the station is trying to impress is not only selective of the information given but tends alter the mood and convince the reader on how one should feel about the situation.

Recently the pope has spoken up about the corruption in the media and a society in search for scandal that promotes this corruption. According to N.P.R., the pope responded to a question during an interview with Belgian Catholic Weekly Tertio about his feelings on the media. The pope believes the media should be very clear and transparent and went on to say how those who try to shed light on dramatic situations equate to that of committing sin. He believes that these sources of information have a strong power in forming opinions and the responsibility for these media sources is to be concise and to the point.

many imagine the pope as a holy icon, while others see him in a different light and with today’s technology and media frenzy culture, different views of the pope are very clear and observable. From different large news articles depicting the topic of female priests, we will see how It can become difficult to create an opinion without thorough investigation.

In November, the pope brought to light the issue concerning ordaining women in the catholic church. For a few decades, women have been ordained as priests and performing baptisms and other rituals in defiance with Pope John Paul II’s letter stating women are banned from becoming priests. Pope Francis has for while been an advocate for equality and the message of acceptance so many were hoping for a word on lifting the ban and a future for women in the church. Unfortunately, in November during a conference that took place on his plane ride from Rome to Sweden, he referenced Pope John Paul II’s letter stating his message was clear and is already set. However, he did go on to reassure women and stated that women are still part of the church and are useful elsewhere.

Many news articles covered this story including large companies and organizations such as CNN, NPR, and New York Times. These online news articles made an effort to show the main points but highlighted in specific items. It is important to note even subtle differences that would suggest otherwise.

For example, in the online article from CNN, “Why has the Pope said no to women priests?” we can see a very minimal story unfold. The title itself, is a question that the writer expects to connect with the reader and perhaps answer any concerns. The bulk of the article is concentrated on answering why the pope decided on his answer but not the relevance of that answer and what it meant for the women in the catholic church. The article seems to put the pope in a great light by mentioning his progressive motives but at one point in the article they mention a pestering journalist who questioned him. “Forever? Never, ever?” said the journalist after the pope spoke. This small insert seems a bit irrelevant to the article but helps with the perception that those who question the pope are bothersome. The article overall hit the main points of the topic but without giving their obvious audience the story they were expecting.

 

for the NPR article, we receive a feminist feel from the article. From the title, it seems they tackled a larger issue instead of just presenting the news as it was. The title reads “Seizing on Pope’s Remarks, Women Meet in Rome To Discuss Female Priesthood” and as the title suggests, the article was also centered around the opinions of the women who were being affected by the discussion. Although the article has a strong knowledge on the social issue, it still contains what seems like bias within the article. Perhaps to spark some conversation or to give the readers a “heads-up” on something negative, the decision of using “remarks” in the title to describe the pope’s comments is received with a sense of remorse.

The New York Times article just like the CNN article hits all the points and tends to focus on the actual event then to burrow further into the social issues. The bulk of the article however, focuses on the entire event. The article titled, “Pope Francis says ban on female priests is likely to endure” answers the topic introduced by the title, but only briefly. The rest of the article goes further into the rest of the conference and everything that was covered. By the end of the article one would either be introduced to more questions or left without a strong understanding of the issue that is on everyone’s mind. This article seems to have the least amount of involvement with the presentation of the pope.

Each article contains very strong useful information but as we see through all these differences even subtle ones can influence how one feels on the topic or person depicted before one even reads the article. having more than one view point can only improve the view.

 

Sources

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/world/europe/pope-francis-women-priests.html?_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/02/europe/analysis-pope-female-priests/

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/06/04/480624491/seizing-on-popes-remarks-women-meet-in-rome-to-discuss-female-priesthood

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/12/07/504701652/pope-francis-warns-media-against-infatuation-with-scandal-citing-coprophilia

 

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