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Blind SpotWhen Journalists Don't Get Religion$
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Paul Marshall, Lela Gilbert, and Roberta Green-Ahmanson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195374360

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195374360.001.0001

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The Popes

The Popes

(p.107) 6 The Popes
Blind Spot

Amy Welborn

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes coverage of Pope John-Paul II’s funeral and appraisals of the incoming Benedict XVI. Direct coverage of the occasions themselves was usually very good, especially because experts were drawn in to comment. However, the assessments of the two men, especially in the print media, were frequently askew because journalists knew little about the history and the authority structure of the Catholic Church, and equally little about current trends within Catholicism. While there was considerable attention to the Pope’s role in undercutting communism, something that journalists felt more at home covering, much of the portrayal remained fixed within a template of “authoritarian Popes vs. American liberal Catholics.” The extensive criticism that John-Paul II received from conservative Catholics was neglected, as was the fact that in recent years the most important disciplinary actions were directed at conservatives.

Keywords:   popes, John-Paul II, Benedict XVI, funeral, liberal Catholics, disciplinary actions

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