The spread of fake news has become a growing issue, and some are getting fed up with it — including Pope Francis. This may sound like a fake news story, but as the Pope told the Belgian Catholic weekly publication Tertio, both the media and the people who read or watch its publications have a sick obsession with fabricated news stories. He even equates it to those who participate in coprophilia — the act having interest in, or taking pleasure with, fecal matter. Yummy.
Most fake news stories prove harmless, but with multiple shares by associates of President-elect Donald Trump and popular conspiracies resulting in violent action, this is largely no longer the case. Facebook and Google recently announced plans to modify their policies to prevent these stories from going viral, but it seems the Pope has had enough. Falling for these stories, he claimed, is one of the worst things the media can do:
“I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into — no offense intended — the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true. And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done.”
Francis subsequently apologized for making such a comparison, but pressed on with his main point — that politicians and other public figures using fake news as “slander” against one another was a “sin”:
“The means of communication have their own temptations, they can be tempted by slander, and therefore used to slander people, to smear them, this above all in the world of politics,” he said. “They can be used as means of defamation… No-one has a right to do this. It is a sin and it is hurtful.”
Considering how the American presidential election season has played out so far, perhaps plenty of politicians will be repenting.