The BBC appears to be the source of the misrepresentation of the Pope’s recent speech to the Roman Curia (this column, 27/12).
That misrepresentation has been taken up by most of the world’s media. Assuming that they are not being malevolent in repeating what a commentator in the London Daily Telegraph describes as “very close to an outright lie,’ this is surely an indictment of the sheer laziness of those journalists involved. If they checked the source they would not have repeated the BBC’s misrepresentation.
Compare the videos here first from the BBC and then Sky News, which is preceded by the excessive reaction of the person who posted the extract. Rather than making the preliminary and abusive slides, he or she could have consulted the text.
When you have viewed the videos, you could go back to the Pope's actual words (this column,27/12).
You will find there a rather opaque, unsurprising and restrained re- statement of traditional Catholic and indeed Christian doctrine.
Few commentators apart from Damien Thompson in the London Daily Telgraph have actually checked what the Pope said. It was good then to see John Heard’s piece in The Australian on 30 December, pithily headlined “Critics of Benedict misheard the Pope.”
Criticising what he graciously terms the "mass media’s paraphrase", he points out that “The Pope did not compare homosexuals with the destruction of the planet. He did not say homosexuals were a threat to mankind. He didn't even mention homosexuality.”
The sad fact is that we cannot now rely on even an outlet of the eminence of the BBC to report the news accurately, objectively and truthfully, and perhaps more importantly, to correct immediately any errors it has made.
Nothing seems to have improved since this nation faced an unprecedented degree of media bias in the 1999 referendum.