Pope Francis is joining the assault on so-called “fake news,” with the pontiff reportedly making an appeal to journalists that they stick to reporting the truth and avoid sensationalizing.
Pope Francis told reporters over the weekend that bringing up old scandals in the press and resorting to sensationalism is a “very serious sin,” with the pontiff purportedly seeing the “fake news” issue as so important that he plans to dedicate his annual communications message to addressing it, the Guardian reported.
During his remarks, the pope praised the role of media in democratic cultures, but pushed back against biased reporting and what he called the “sins of communication.”
“You shouldn’t fall into the ‘sins of communication:’ disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalised, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today,” he said, according to The Guardian, going on to say that these sins hurt journalists and others, alike.
He also said that there is an urgent need to use “serenity, precision, and completeness” as well as “calm language” when reporting on news. The goal, the pontiff said, is to spark “fruitful reflection,” according to Fox News.
“It is important that, methodically and with patience, criteria of judgment and information be offered so that the public is able to understand and discern, and is not stunned and disoriented,” Pope Francis continued.
These comments are intriguing as they seem to corroborate, to a degree, some of the claims that have been made by President Donald Trump — a politician whom Pope Francis has voiced some disagreement with on other issues such as immigration.
In the end, though, the pontiff simply seems to want to see reporters and media taking a higher road when it comes to reporting.