Monday, March 18, 2013
THE NEW MEDIAS, CATHOLICS AND OTHERWISE AND INTENTIONAL DISINFORMATION ABOUT POPE FRANCIS
MY COMMENT FIRST: Our new Holy Father, Pope Francis has spoken twice now about the devil. Isn't the devil the prince of disinformation? Our new Holy Father is going to be the pope of the people and seems to be an extrovert by nature whereas Benedict is an introvert who has to work at being outgoing. Italians and the rest of the world and the media prefer the outgoing style and this will help the Holy Father in the new evangelization. I see the importance of this given our celebrity culture; but make no mistake, the pope's message is far from that of silly celebrities. So far I see the new pope pointing to Christ, not himself.
Dr. Robert Moynihan wrote the following, the last part on disinformation:
Interestingly, Pope Francis has called on the Franciscan friars of Mt. Alverna in central Italy -- where St. Francis received the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ, in the year 1224 A.D., two years before his death (he was the first reported case of the stigmata in history) an event which led St. Bonaventure, writing in about 1260 A.D., to describe St. Francis as "the Angel of the 6th seal" spoken of by John in the Book of the Apocalypse -- to be present as assistants and servers at the Mass.
This clearly is intended to put an exclamation point on the "Franciscan" nature of this pontificate, which began with the Pope's choice of the name "Francis," never chosen before.
About 14 of the friars will take part in the ceremony, which will mark the official beginning of Francis' pontificate.
These Franciscan servers will remain under the direction of Monsignor Guido Marini, the Master of Papal Ceremonies who was so much respected and appreciated by Emeritus Pope Benedict.
Information or Disinformation
There have been many false rumors in the Italian press, and elsewhere, regarding the new Pope's views, and plans, including reports that Pope Francis had decided to set Marini aside and entrust the Tuesday Mass of Installation only to the Franciscans. This is not true. However, the number of these false reports, circulating very quickly around the internet, at a time when many journalists are writing under tight deadlines, so, under pressure while weary, as they try to provide as much "new" information to readers as possible, means that in these days special care must be taken in assessing what one reads, in seeing whether it is sourced, and, if it is sourced, in assessing the motives and reliability of that source.
On several occasions recently, I have tracked bits of "news" that turn our to be complete inventions, just simply "made up." For example, Pope Francis met Cardinal Bernard Law on the morning of March 14, on his unexpected visit to St. Mary Major (this was true, Francis did meet Law); but internet reports, which made it into some papers, said Francis had taken the occasion to ask Law not to set foot again in the basilica (this was not true, it was made up).
In such cases, it works like this: a British tabloid (for example) cites "Italian press reports," giving a website or newspaper name; at that particular website, one finds the information, but it is sourced to a blog; at the blog, the news in question can be found -- but it is simply in a comment posted by a reader, without any attribution whatsoever. So one has no way of knowing whether this is "information" or "disinformation." In other words, the trail runs dry. It is a "dead end."
And yet, some information based on such unreliable sources is picked up, circulated, and even gets into print.
So, it is necessary to double-check things, actually speak with real people to confirm that what they are said to have said is really what they did say, and so forth. In short, it is necessary, at least on some matters, to engage in real journalism, and to arrive, eventually, as close to the truth as possible.
So, readers, be warned: some things, perhaps even many things, being reported on the web are simply not true, but only disinformation.