Distorted reality in the media

Fr Dariusz Gronowski

I switch on television, watch the news, take a newspaper and begin reading… and I catch hold of my head, horrified. How can they write such nonsense? How can they insult the Pope? How can they tell such lies about the Church? I know such moments from experience. Many good Christians cannot control themselves then, they fly into a rage, curse and then speak about it with double regret during confession…In such cases it is easy to conclude that ‘the media tell lies’ or summarise it as ‘manipulation in the media.’ But you must be cautious about giving such opinions. In fact, lies and manipulations often happen; let me mention the disgraceful story concerning the legalisation of abortion in the U.S.A., but manipulation is not the main cause of the undeniable fact that the media are the false mirror of reality. That would be too simple and in long term easy to unmask. The research concerning newsmaking shows that reality in the media is distorted mainly because of the deep-rooted schemes in journalists’ work and other people working in the media. They want to meet the needs of receivers at all costs and make them buy this particular paper or watch this concrete programme (the media are companies that earn money and the competition is strong); they love sensational news, scandals, gossips and curiosities. Even serious and important topics must be presented in a light and attractive way because this is what receivers want! This is the brutal truth but the tastes of most people are not refined and what is profound, serious, what requires reflection, is seen as boring. Therefore, every day more people want to buy ‘Fakt’ than e.g. ‘Nasz Dziennik’. If we add constant rush in journalists’ work and often their ignorance in religious matters we have the result of false and shallow image of religion and the Church in the media. But that is not all. I feel sorry to say the secular media worldwide employ mainly those who have rather liberal views, which is connected with the character of journalists’ job. They have views concerning many important matters that are far from the Catholic views and their picture of the Church is distorted and full of prejudices. What can we expect from them? If they write positively about homosexual ‘marriages’, it means that they think so. If someone has views different than ours, no wonder that he selects, interprets and comments on facts in a different way than what we think should be done. This can worry us but it should not surprise us. After all, since the very beginning Christians have been rejected, accused of strange things and persecuted. The attitude of shouting in anger that ‘the media tell lies and manipulate’ is not Christian. It does not serve anything. We must rather realise that it is not enough to know the truth you should testify to it so that the truth shines in the world. In spite of appearances the media can appreciate the authentic light of the truth. That’ why John Paul II was so popular in the media…

"Niedziela" 12/2009

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl