Accuracy

bubble levelMy friend Jeffrey Tucker has his response to his being David Gibson’s leadoff quote for a piece on the unsettled Catholic Right.

The complaint begins thus:

Being quoted by the press always creates an out-of-body experience, and I’m rather used to it. They never quite get it right, and invariably you are shoved into a camp of opinion that is not precise.

And ends here:

(How the pope is treated by the media) is pretty well lost on the reporters who stick to the existing template no matter what. Therefore, I am who they say I am and Francis is who they say he is. I’ve seen it too many times to be upset by it or take any of it very seriously.

There is a potential problem, as I have done here, in lifting quotes for a topic not exactly in alignment with the original.

Sure, Mr Tucker’s original post was largely about the media. But that wasn’t what Mr Gibson was writing about. More people who read the RNS care about religious issues, and not so much conservative scuttlebutt on how bad the media is.

It is also true that many commentators can’t stick to a topic 100%. Mr Tucker was accurately quoted as saying, “I’ve personally found many aspects of this papacy to be annoying …” And that is a significant quote, well worth parsing. Like some little-scrutinized remarks on the plane back from Rio about women or anything not-gay. It’s something much more interesting to a wider range of people than critique of the media. And really, why would the media write up criticism of itself?

And finally, as I think about this a bit more, the RNS isn’t exactly under the umbrella of an international corporation. On their “about” page, they admit:

RNS is owned by Religion News LLC, a non-profit, limited liability corporation based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Its mission is to provide in-depth, non-sectarian coverage of religion, spirituality and ideas.

Of Mr Tucker’s sites, NLM has no “about” page. The Café is associated with CMAA, and they do have a mission.

I suspect that RNS’s numbers are more in alignment with NLM than, say, CNN or the HuffPo. So is the complaint about the Big Bad Secular Demonic Media? Or is it about a fellow internet presence that doesn’t share the same political outlook?

Mr Gibson is working a piece that’s been explored a lot. Some conservatives have been very open about their Pope Francis misgivings. And it is a curious story. Other conservatives want to know who’s still  in the boat or not. Progressives like me have a daily laugh. Mainstream Catholics look and wonder.

There’s a parable in all this somewhere, but I’m not sure I want to go there right now. I think I’d rather sit back and watch for awhile.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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