Friday, November 30, 2007

Freedom of the Press in the 21st Century

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The Curt Jester points out how receptive the Main Street Media outlets are to things coming from the Vatican. Here are some headlines from various newspapers in reaction to the new papal encyclical, Spe Salvi, "Saved by Hope."

Pope attacks 'cruel and unjust' atheism in his message of hope (revised to "Marx had Great Ideas; His Error was forgetting God: The Times of London

Pope Benedict and the Crusade Against Atheism: U.S. Politics Today's Russian News Service

New Papal encyclical blasts atheism, promises hope: Washington Post

Pope criticizes atheism and Marxism: United Press International

Papal encyclical attacks atheism, lauds hope: Reuters

Pope Criticizes Atheism in Encyclical: Associated Press


The AP claims that the encyclical has 76 pages; the UK Telegraph correctly says it has 26 pages, and led with a headline that said: Spe Salvi, says Pope Benedict. I see now a concrete reason why I find the Telegraph to be the best European newspaper.

It is interesting that the Yellow Press concentrates on the encyclical's trashing of "atheism." I did a count of the 26 page document. The word "atheism" appears three times in sections 42 and 43, near the end of the encyclical. "Hope" appears 200 times throughout it.

What kind of an editor would allow a headline like you see above to appear in print? For starters it would be one who didn't bother to read the encyclical himself. In addition, it probably is one who told one of his writers a week ago what to write as rumors as to the subject matter of the encyclical began to appear outside the walls of the Vatican.

Newspapers continue to lose circulation. They contain fewer and fewer pages. And the pages are smaller. Their newsroom staffs continue to shrink. The solution? Make up some news!


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