Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Let the media distortions begin

Check out the lovely headline. It practically breathes: "Another missive from the nasty, elderly celibate men." Super, super objective. Way to be, AP!

Vatican Closes Door on Gay Seminarians

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican is toughening its stand against gay candidates for the priesthood, specifying in a new document that even men with "transitory" homosexual tendencies must overcome their urges for at least three years before entering the clergy.

A long-awaited "Instruction," due to be released next week, was posted Tuesday on the Internet by the Italian Catholic news agency Adista. A church official who has read the document confirmed its authenticity; he asked that his name not be used because the piece has not been published by the Vatican.

Conservative Roman Catholics who have decried the "gay subculture" in seminaries will likely applaud the policy because it clarifies what the Vatican expects of seminarians and their administrators.
You can read the full story here.

I noticed that while the article quotes one gay activist and one critic of the Vatican's stand, the writer forgot to get a quote from any of the "Conservative Roman Catholics... likley to applaud the policy." They must have accidentally left out the famous NYT online copy editing gaffe, "Need some quote from supporter." ;)

Judging from my personal experiences during my few recent ill-spent years of studying under the professional journalists at Scripps, I have to say that I doubt that Ms. Winfield deliberately left out "some quote from supporter." In the heat of the deadline moment, it probably didn't occur to her that there are actually people who, you know, actually admire the Pope, and stuff. Because the vast majority of the people she works with (and for) don't.

Contrary to popular conservative belief, most journalists do have a high-level commitment to objectivity. They don't write ridiculously-biased articles like this one out of malice (although some do). It's just that when you, a salmon, inhabit a tiny corner of the ocean occupied entirely by other salmon, who swim like salmon, think like salmon, and spawn like salmon, you don't often get the idea that somewhere out there in that big blue sea there could be... Tuna. Some of whom would make fantastic sources.

To finish with my painful aquatic metaphor: This AP article is pretty fishy. And it smells like it, too.

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