“The mass media can and must promote justice and solidarity according
to an organic and correct vision of human development by reporting events
accurately and truthfully, analyzing situations and problems completely, and
providing a forum for different opinions. An authentically ethical approach to
using the powerful communication media must be situated within the context of a
mature exercise of freedom and responsibility, founded upon the supreme
criteria of truth and justice.”
A “final word” from a Jan. 24 letter issued by Pope John Paul II
shortly before his death. The apostolic letter “to those responsible for
communications” was to commemorate the Feast of Saint Francis DeSales, the
patron saint of journalists, as noted on B&C's Web site.
“What a difference a quarter-century makes. The first papal death in
the age of 24-hour cable news and minute-by-minute Internet updates has become
an epic media event, focusing unprecedented attention on centuries-old rituals.
Never before has live television shown the announcement of a pope's death, or
his body being borne into St. Peter's Basilica, all juxtaposed with scenes of
grief and reflection from around the world.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Ken
“It strikes me that this is the story of the moment. What cable does
and ought to do is cover it as completely as we can.”
CNN anchor Aaron Brown, in Rome on assignment for the funeral of Pope
John Paul II, quoted in the Detroit Free
“The pope's passing defines Big Story—a religious icon who left
the world a changed place is about to be replaced—but the pace of the story
has left 24-hour news channels, which did not exist the last time the Vatican
chose a new leader nearly 27 years ago, searching for ways to fill all that
The New York Times' David Carr
“I want to take you back to what happened here a little while ago. As
way of explanation, I am very sorry, which is all I can say except that we were
listening to Italian television.”
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, apologizing for prematurely announcing
the death of the pope on April 1, noted in The
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