An evisceration of the Rolling Stone Article

Heh heh heh.  Enjoy this piece by Damon Linker over at The Week that examines “9 Ridiculous Claims Rolling Stone’s Cover Story on Pope Francis.”

It’s 6:30 a.m. and you’re scanning headlines in the morning paper. Your eyes fasten on a major story about the recently elected prime minister of France. As you begin reading, you notice something strange. For one thing, the tone is off. Instead of a typically dispassionate profile of the head of state, the article comes off as arch and condescending, as if France’s government, institutions, and history are self-evidently worthy of mockery.

Then there are the strange gaps in knowledge displayed by the author of the story — or perhaps it’s a willingness to bend the facts to fit a predetermined thesis. Well-known speeches by the politician are interpreted tendentiously. The ideologies that prevail in French politics are distorted to make the new prime minister’s positions appear more radical than they are. The interviews are largely with subjects who openly express disgust at the prime minister’s predecessor, while others who express skepticism about the story’s thesis invite gentle disdain by the author.

Unthinkable, right? Surely no self-respecting journalistic venue would run such an article about a political figure.

That’s probably true. But it’s equally true that otherwise professional newspapers, magazines, and websites regularly relax their standards of accuracy and fairness when they publish stories about religion. Especially if the religion is Christianity. And above all if the form of Christianity is Roman Catholicism.

This week’s leading example is Rolling Stone‘s 7,700-word cover story on Pope Francis. Sure, on one level it’s the latest in what’s becoming a long line of mainstream-media puff pieces (some insurprising venues) that go out of their way to make the new pope look good. So why complain?

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1 Response to An evisceration of the Rolling Stone Article

  1. Pingback: An evisceration of the Rolling Stone Article | Catholic Canada

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