Media Distort Palin and the Pope

Jen Kuznicki
By Jen Kuznicki | November 14, 2013 | 1:22 PM EST

It's not fair and never will be, but it seems not enough people take the time and effort to check to see what media outlets do to change the message of a simple expression.

Pope Francis has been used by liberal media to argue for gay marriage, when what he has said was simply that loving the person is paramount.  He was used by liberal media to fault conservatives for being pro-life, when the example he gave of abortion was of a woman who had an abortion in her past, sincerely regretted it, and that her new life with a husband and five children be considered to be her finding a better path.

The Pope conducted a couple of interviews, one of them was a very lengthy 12,400 word publication by Antonio Spadaro, S.J., editor of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal, and one on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, which he references in Father Spadaro's interview.  Pope Francis acknowledges in his journal interview, that he did not, perhaps, feel prepared enough for the Rio flight interview, saying that he does not prefer giving on-the-spot interviews, and often thinks of the right answer after the opportunity presents itself.

Pope Francis talked about many things, but the liberal press picked out two things, gay marriage and abortion, made misleading article titles, and came to their own conclusions.

For instance, the Huffington Post referenced his interview, and did fairly treat a number of his positions, however, the title of their piece was, "Pope Francis: Gays, Abortion Too Much Of Catholic Church's Obsession."  That title is wholly inaccurate, and tricks the reader into believing that the Catholic Church, under this new Pope's direction will care less about abortion, and give in to gay marriage.  He instead said that those issues are not the ONLY things that pastoral ministry should be about.  He also reminded us that God is Love and loving someone who is a sinner and begins to search for God is the way.  He consistently says that we must love.

CNN's take on the interview was boiled down to this title, "Pope Francis: Church can't 'interfere' with gays."  When you read the piece, it acknowledges that he said "interfere spiritually."  Big difference.

The New York Times made a completely different message for the Pope, by titling their piece, "On Gay Priests, Pope Francis Asks, 'Who Am I to Judge?"  They added the priest angle, but the Pope had, in the journal interview, said that the on-the-spot interview on the flight from Rio made him, "not recognize myself."

So this week, during a Jake Tapper interview, Sarah Palin was asked what she thought of Pope Francis.  She responded, "Having read through media outlets, he's had some statements that to me sounded kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me. But there again unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I'm not going to just trust what I hear in the media."

Her comment was a big shout to not take the media's word for it, and do some digging before making a final judgment.  She said that, by reading the media's account of what he said, he sounded kind of liberal.  That having a Pope be such a liberal, again if you read the media's account, surprised her, and then she said that she won't trust the media until she does some homework on her own of what he truly said.

But, Jake Tapper put his own little spin on Sarah's statement.  His blog, The Lead was titled, "Sarah Palin 'taken aback' by Pope Francis's 'liberal' statements," and the video was titled, "Pope Francis too liberal for Palin?"

Again, she was taken aback by what it sounded like he said, from reading media accounts, which I already showed to be inaccurate, and she instinctively knew might be false.

The Hill titles their piece, "Sarah Palin says Pope Francis is a liberal."  Brent Budowski then starts the piece,

"Before anyone on the right gets excited by delusions of grandeur, let me ask: Do Republicans think they will win Catholic voters by sending Sarah Palin to CNN to say Pope Francis is a liberal?"

She didn't.

The Daily Mail titled their piece, "Sarah Palin says she is taken aback by Pope Francis' 'liberal agenda'."  And in the first sentence, changes the meaning altogether by saying,

"Sarah Palin has revealed that she is skeptical of the 'liberal' agenda that is being promoted by the new Pope, saying that she feels it is being influenced by the mainstream media."

They put the word 'agenda' in the title in quotes, but left it out in the lead sentence, and acknowledged that she was more commenting on the media than what the Pope actually said.  But they also got it wrong in that it is really the media that is "promoting" the Pope as a liberal, not the Pope, and not Palin.

The Independent got a little closer to the truth in its title, but again, like the Daily Mail, got it a little twisted.  "Sarah Palin fears 'liberal' Pope Francis being influenced by the 'sneering media,'" is the title, and it's backwards.

She did not fear that he is being influenced by the media, but that the media are distorting his message.

If you want to know what Pope Francis actually said, read the interview yourself, don't skim the titles and base your decision on whether the Pope is a liberal, in the political sense, on the media, who are pushing to consider the Pope a way to tear apart the American conservative movement.

That is what I see transpiring here.  The media is trying to create a wedge between Catholics and Evangelicals, by using the Pope as a promoter of their political agenda in America.

The only way it will work is if people don't dig for the truth.