Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Bad, bad Pope," says world media

Every time a pope makes a widely publicized visit to another part of the world, the media swings into action, talking almost exclusively about the dissident reaction. When John Paul II visited the United States in 1995, it was preceded by headlines about anti-papal protest. When Benedict visited England, there was supposed to be massive demonstrations by atheist groups that would undoubtedly embarrass the Catholic leader.

Instead, of course, the visits were stunning successes, with the respective popes on both occasions surprising their detractors with the unforeseen popularity. John Paul's visit to the U.S. was as successful as such a visit could be, and Benedict's recent visit to England brought out massive crowds just to see him pass by on the streets of London, dwarfing the anemic bands of protesters. Not that you can find much comment about that from the secular media.

Now Benedict is visiting Germany, and, as Tim Drake points out, we're getting the usual pre-visit propaganda:
On the eve of Pope Benedict XVI’s trip to his homeland, he’s unable to find any friendly press. The worldwide media is eager to seize on any tension to undermine the trip before it has even begun.
Read more here.


Singring said...

Well, all I as a German living in Germany can say to Mr Drake is that maybe he should actually do some research.

Our local paper, which gets its regional part from the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, which in turn serves most of South-West Germany, is very conservative and has been running one pro-pope editorial after the next in the past few weeks. Just today Wolfgang Molitor, the resident right-wing shill of the paper, wrote an apologetic for the Pope and the CC in which he condemned those members of the Bundestag who didn't attend the Pope's speech out of protest.

One of the two main evening news outlets, the ZDF 'heute' Nachrichten at seven, ran two long reports on the Pope, one on his visit to the Bundestag, one on his general reception. The reporting on the protests came last and was the shortest of the three.

Finally, just to show you how wrong Mr. Drake is, take a quick look at the homepage of Germany's largest circulation newspaper - the populist 'Bild - Zeitung'. It's a shoddy rag of a newspaper, but its what most Germans actually read:

The headline for the Pope is (as you can see, he is somewhat overshadowed by football news, but such is the importance of football in the European working class):

'K├╝sse und Segen - Der Papst liebt unsere Kinder'

Translated: 'Kisses and blessings - The Pope loves our children'.

I've got to say - that's a really 'unfriendly press'.

But hey - maybe Mr. Drake can't read German and who can blame him? I can't speak Spanish. But then maybe Mr. Drake should have checked his facts?

It is easy to pick headlines from the 'international press' that seem to support his ideological point, but I can do the same:

Here are some of the other headlines on the Pope from Der Spiegel from the past few weeks:

'Fighting the Dictatorship of Relativism
The Pope's Role in the New Battle for Religion'

'The Pope Comes Home
Benedict Criticizes Lack of Religiosity in Germany'

'The Pope in Germany
Financial Crisis, Religion and a Bit of Protest'

and (my personal favourite):

'Vats for the Vatican
Pope Beer Commemorates State Visit'

I wonder why Mr. Drake only chose the headline that supported his particular thesis?

Yes, there have been a number of critical or questioning articles as well. Maybe you and Mr. Drake aren't aware of this, but that is what journalism is for - its not an organ for the church to spout its propaganda, its there to report facts and question authority. Any and all authority.

M.A. Wenig said...

Please read the speech Benedict delivered before the Bundestag.
It's so much more edifying than any issue of celebrity. Martin, my daughter is taking "your" political philosophy course at Memoria Press, as did her older sister two years ago. So much to mine in the speech on the role of the politician, politics, the state.