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Pope Francis to media: Stop focusing on “bad news”

Pope Francis to media: Stop focusing on “bad news”

This week Pope Francis released a message asking the media to “‘stem the spiral of fear'” it causes by covering “tragedies and scandals.” From Religion News Service:

“I am convinced that we have to break the vicious circle of anxiety and stem the spiral of fear resulting from a constant focus on ‘bad news,’” the pope said in a message Tuesday (Jan. 24).

“This has nothing to do with spreading misinformation that would ignore the tragedy of human suffering, nor is it about a naive optimism blind to the scandal of evil.”

In a powerfully worded message, the pope said he wanted to encourage media professionals to engage in “constructive forms of communication that reject prejudice” and help create a world of “realism and trust.”

The pope’s message came days after President Trump launched a bitter attack on news media over its reporting on the size of his inauguration crowd.

In his message, Francis said he was concerned about the focus on “bad news” that included “wars, terrorism, scandals and all sorts of human failure” by a media industry that thinks good news doesn’t sell and where the “tragedy of human suffering and the mystery of evil” easily become entertainment.

From USA Today:

[Pope Francis] told the Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio that spreading disinformation was “probably the greatest damage that the media can do” and using communications for this rather than to educate the public amounted to a sin.

 

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Clark West

I am very thankful for this challenge by Pope Francis. I imagine it is rooted in his longstanding practice of the Ignatian Daily Examen beginning each time with gratitude. And the idea of the spiral of fear reminds me of the remarkable book The Upward Spiral by Dr. Alex Korb on daily practices to combat depression that have measurable neurological impacts--I imagine the same thing holds for anxiety and fear.

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