Fox News-style journalism is a form of terrorism, Pope Francis told a gathering of journalists on Thursday.
‘[…] terrorism, of how you can kill a person with your tongue. This is even more true for journalists because their voice can reach everyone and this is a very powerful weapon.’
Reuters adds the Pontiff also warned them against baseless gossip and stirring up fears of immigrants based on racist stereotypes:
‘Journalism cannot become a “weapon of destruction” against persons and even entire peoples […] Neither must it nourish fear in front of changes or phenomena such as migration forced by war or by hunger.’
No, Pope Francis wasn’t talking about Fox News specifically. He was in Vatican City with the top brass from Italy’s guild of journalists. But, as it turns out, the United States isn’t the only country with a yellow journalism problem. As Reuters explains:
‘In Italy, a number of newspapers are highly politicized and are regularly used to discredit those with differing political views, sometimes reporting unsubstantiated rumors about their private lives.’
Discrediting people with “different political views” also sounds a lot like Fox. Oh, and like Fox, Italian newspapers are perfectly happy to mock people’s appearance to make them look incompetent or untrustworthy. A magistrate who ran afoul of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and the pro-Berlusconi news outlets learned this the hard way.
‘The stories were filled with insinuations about the way he dressed, including the color of his socks, and the way he took walks in the park.’
Sound familiar? Oh, and then, according to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis also reminds journalists that they’re supposed to report things that are true.
‘To love the truth means not only to affirm, but to live the truth, to bear witness to it in one’s work.’
Fox also presents the news in black and white: Conservatives are right and everyone else is wrong. But Pope Francis declares that this isn’t how news should work.
‘Not everything in life is black or white. Even in journalism, one needs to know how to discern between the shades of gray in the events you are called to cover.’
In the U.S., the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine once put the brakes on partisan reporting by requiring that news stations either stay neutral or report both sides of the issue. Unfortunately, the Reagan administration failed to renew the Fairness Doctrine, and we still haven’t brought it back.
Twitter responds to Pope Francis’ speech.
Thank God no one listens to the Pope anymore! At least that's what Roger Ailes and Steve Bannon tell me. https://t.co/53a9oO0RGS
— Donald J. Drumpf (@RealDonalDrumpf) September 23, 2016
Pope Francis isn’t the first to weigh in against Fox News-style fear mongering. Media Matters produced a video on Fox News’ peddling of anti-immigrant lies and fear-mongering.
‘Fox News has spent years telling viewers that immigrants are taking their jobs, committing crime, and spreading disease.’
Here are just a few of the appalling anti-immigrant stereotypes that have been spewed forth by so-called journalists and pundits on Fox’s various programs.
- Justice with Judge Jeanine: “A crisis on our southern border, waves of illegal immigrants posing financial, public health, and law enforcement risks to the U.S.”
- The O’Reilly Factor: “Hundreds of thousands of bad people have entered the U.S.A.”
- Fox News Live: “We don’t know if they’re criminals or fugitives or terrorists.”
- Fox & Friends Weekend: “Allowing millions more low-wage workers to work legally in the United States will depress wages for working Americans.”
- Fox News Live: “All immigration should stop until we know what the heck is coming into our country, how many more of these terrorists are coming into our country.”
- Fox & Friends: “Sadly, people are murdered all the time by illegals.”
- Outnumbered: “It’s not just crime that occurs, and then they don’t deport the criminal, it’s also disease.”
- Outnumbered: “Donald Trump is not going to allow illegal aliens to come into the U.S. and murder our women.”
Even more disturbing is the fact that the GOP’s presidential candidate has been using Fox News’ lies as the main platform for his campaign.
Watch: Media Matters calls out Fox News’ anti-immigrant lies.
— Chat Sue (@McChatSue) June 22, 2016
Photo: Vatican Pool via Getty Images.