Media Facepalm of the Day

Media Facepalm of the Day September 17, 2014

As a friend put it. The International Business Times seems to be a respectable newspaper, and it still publishes this: “Pope Francis Supposedly Claimed Virgin Mary Is Second Trinity, At Godhead Level.” The headline hints at how bad the story will be. I mean, “supposedly”? Who puts “supposedly” in a headline? And what the last six words mean is anyone’s guess. The story begins:

Pope Francis, with his open-mindedness and more humanist approach to Catholicism reportedly promoted that the Virgin Mary should be at the second Holy Trinity, even putting her at Godhead level.

The story, by a writer named Tanya Diente, who normally covers television shows, then summarizes a perfectly normal homily about Mary that (of course) says nothing about elevating her to a place in the Trinity. And then switches to a story from an extreme fundamentalist websiteand summarizes it badly.

The writer is probably very young, doesn’t read or speak English all that well, doesn’t have much sense of what’s valuable and what’s not, and was looking hard for a story and thought she’d found the controversy that would drive the story. Nothing wrong with that, if I’m right. She’s just starting. She has a boss.

But maybe she doesn’t have a boss who’s paying attention. What was the editor thinking who let this piece go up? Didn’t he look at it and think, “Wow, this is really, really bad?” And why is such a horrible piece of attempted journalism still up on the website?

Because it’s the website, and because the subject’s religion.

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