Pope Francis On Communication and Truth, And Birdwatch

OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

The past few days of 2021 have ushered in such unity and abundant Biden blessings, I’ve begun to lose count.

In the latest Catholic and global news: Pope Francis graced us all with a letter on ‘communications,’ and, after reading it, I’ve named it the Francis-watch. What a lovely sentiment from the Pope to share his deep thoughts on communication and news and truth immediately after the Biden inauguration.

Timing is everything.

The letter is titled: “Come and See” (Jn 1:46) Communicating by Encountering People as They Are. In his letter, Francis warns all of humanity about the perils of false narratives and ‘fake news.’ Francis pens us all, encouraging us to see the truth for ourselves before convincing ourselves of what we know for sure.

This year, then, I would like to devote this Message to the invitation to “come and see”, which can serve as an inspiration for all communication that strives to be clear and honest, in the press, on the internet, in the Church’s daily preaching and in political or social communication. [sic]
Let us look first at the great issue of news reporting. Insightful voices have long expressed concern about the risk that original investigative reporting in newspapers and television, radio and web newscasts is being replaced by a reportage that adheres to a standard, often tendentious narrative.

Suppose any fellow Catholics are reading this, especially liberal Catholics. Might you recall this messaging from our holiness during the three and a half years of the Trump-Russian narrative and Crossfire Hurricane political drama? Right. I didn’t think so.

Dear Francis, had you convinced yourself that President Trump was a Russian asset and puppet of Putin?

He continues:

This approach is less and less capable of grasping the truth of things and the concrete lives of people, much less the more serious social phenomena or positive movements at the grass roots level. The crisis of the publishing industry risks leading to a reportage created in newsrooms, in front of personal or company computers and on social networks, without ever “hitting the streets”, meeting people face to face to research stories or to verify certain situations first hand. Unless we open ourselves to this kind of encounter, we remain mere spectators, for all the technical innovations that enable us to feel immersed in a larger and more immediate reality. Any instrument proves useful and valuable only to the extent that it motivates us to go out and see things that otherwise we would not know about, to post on the internet news that would not be available elsewhere, to allow for encounters that otherwise would never happen.

Okay, so how about this one? Were you potentially convinced of ‘what you knew for sure’ during the Covington Catholic media scandal? The communications scandal that worked to immediately brand one of God’s Catholic children, a 17-year-old pro-lifer, and committed March for Life attendee as a deplorable racist dreg, evil-red-hat-wearing Trump supporter? I recall your loud silence and lack of support during a very toxic time full of more Anti-Trump narratives and lies. Thanks for speaking up about this issue now. Unity.

We really should be cautious before we judge, shouldn’t we?

Opportunities and hidden dangers on the web: The internet, with its countless social media expressions, can increase the capacity for reporting and sharing, with many more eyes on the world and a constant flood of images and testimonies. Digital technology gives us the possibility of timely first-hand information that is often quite useful. We can think of certain emergency situations where the internet was the first to report the news and communicate official notices. It is a powerful tool, which demands that all of us be responsible as users and consumers. Potentially we can all become witnesses to events that otherwise would be overlooked by the traditional media, offer a contribution to society and highlight more stories, including positive ones. Thanks to the internet we have the opportunity to report what we see, what is taking place before our eyes, and to share it with others.
At the same time, the risk of misinformation being spread on social media has become evident to everyone. We have known for some time that news and even images can be easily manipulated, for any number of reasons, at times simply for sheer narcissism. Being critical in this regard is not about demonizing the internet, but is rather an incentive to greater discernment and responsibility for contents both sent and received. All of us are responsible for the communications we make, for the information we share, for the control that we can exert over fake news by exposing it. All of us are to be witnesses of the truth: to go, to see and to share.

Gosh, thanks, Francis. Trump’s tweets never frightened me, but big tech censorship scares the heck out of me. I am fairly sure you’ve blessed the big tech communist-based censorship of President Trump’s social media accounts. I could be wrong, so will you please address the topic of censoring pro-life conservatives who are bent on truth and peace and love and respect for all life? Maybe you can write about that in your next letter.

Oh, and one more thing. Will you please address China’s genocidal problems? I think I know the answer to that, and I completely understand if the CCP has censored you from doing so based on the terms of the China deal you recently signed. There I go asking questions again. Forgive me, Father.

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  • We think of how much empty rhetoric abounds, even in our time, in all areas of public life, in business as well as politics. 

Speaking of the empty rhetoric that has branded Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett as a Catholic ‘radical’ and President Biden as a ‘devout’ Catholic… What I know for sure is that President Biden is not a devout Catholic. Biden is a CINO. Please allow me to echo that again, here. No matter how The New York Times, or Cardinal Cupich, or you try to convince the world that Biden is a devout Catholic, you will never change my mind. You cannot sponsor full-term abortion and infanticide and be a devout Catholic. Full stop.

Moreover, if the Pelosis of this world choose to brand me as a radical woman because I respect all life, I suppose they can also brand Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior as too extreme. But as you’ve said, “Who am I to judge?” And yes, who are Pelosi and her media to judge? Unity.

Pope Francis, do you think it is radical for the Democrats under the Biden administration to force all American Catholic taxpayers to fund all abortions? Nevermind. Unity.

Now for Birdwatch. With almost spiritual connection, at the same time as Francis penned his warning letter about fake news, Twitter has launched Birdwatch to help “fight misinformation.” It’s almost as if @jack and Francis worked in harmony to ensure that all questions are reigned in. In the name of unity.

And like magic, we have instantaneous crowdsourced unity, empowering humans and bots everywhere to censor each other based on approved community news standards.

Twitter labels Birdwatch as a community-based approach similar to the process Facebook took with outsourcing censorship decisions to external “fact-checkers.”

As they say, “fact-checkers” didn’t exist before the truth started getting out. After all, Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself, did he?