Pope Francis Said What?! Actually, No, He didn’t

From Selwyn Duke:

That NBC had doctored a 911 call for the purposes of making George Zimmerman look like a bigot was a shocking revelation. Yet cut-and-paste propaganda is a common media tactic, and I’m not sure anyone is victimized by it more than Pope Francis.

You’ve probably read the headlines. “Pope Francis urges global leaders to end ‘tyranny’ of money,” “Pope Francis’s stunning blow to conservatives,” “Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven,” “Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control”; rinse, wash and repeat. Yet these headlines range from delusion to, possibly, deception. By and large, he said, she said is not what the pope said.

Let’s start with the recent big news, the Jesuit magazine interview with Pope Francis called that “stunning blow to conservatives.” The stunned (and stunted) journalist who wrote that line, the Guardian’s Andrew Brown, used a Francis “quotation” prevalent throughout the media. To wit: “It is not necessary to talk about… abortion, gay marriage and [contraception] all the time.” Now, it’s not surprising Brown didn’t provide a link to the actual interview. Because not only is his cut-and-paste job missing an ellipsis (between “and” and “all the time”), it’s an elliptical formulation that omits 58 words — and 58 miles of meaning.

After saying he hadn’t talked about abortion, marriage and contraception much, here’s what the pope actually stated: “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time [emphasis added].” The media didn’t omit the italicized words merely for brevity’s sake.

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