Friday 22 March 2019

Pope Francis: Fake news is like getting sexually aroused by faeces

Andrew Griffin

Writing fake news and stories about scandals is like being sexually aroused by excrement, Pope Francis has said.

And since people tend towards coprophagia, or eating faeces, then the media should avoid spreading it, he said in an attack on the spread of disinformation.

Francis apologised for his use of precise psychological terms that describe when people are aroused by excrement.

He told the Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio that spreading fake news is "probably the greatest damage that the media can do". To use their platforms to do so, rather than to educate the public, is a sin, he said.

"I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into - no offence intended - the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true," he said in the interview.

"And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done."

The interview was distributed to reporters in an Italian translation from the Argentine-born pope's Spanish. It is the strongest and most blunt language ever used by the pope about the media or any other group.

He also cautioned that the media should not be used to slander political rivals.

"The means of communication have their own temptations, they can be tempted by slander, and therefore used to slander people, to smear them, this above all in the world of politics," he said. "They can be used as means of defamation..."

"No-one has a right to do this. It is a sin and it is hurtful," he said.

Disinformation is the worst thing the media can do because it "directs opinion in only one direction and omits the other part of the truth", he said in the same interview.

The comments come in the wake of discussion about fake news and its effect on the election, which some have claimed was so potent that it was resposible for Donald Trump becoming the President-elect.

Francis hasn't directly commented on the election, issuing only vague statements that appeared to take issue with some of the President-elect's positions.

It isn't the first time that the Pope has discussed sexual interest in excrement. In March 2013, he warned that journailsts risked becoming ill from their coprophilia, and that they could be "fomenting coprophagia" in their readers.

Independent News Service

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