Why the Mainstream Media gets so Wound Up over the Pope

As highlighted by James Taranto in the WSJ, a lot of journalists have been expressing their dismay that the new pope is, in fact, Catholic. Apparently, newsrooms around the country are rife with shock and astonishment the the man who has dedicated his life to Christ and ascended to the highest post in the Catholic church doesn’t share the attitudes of an eighteen-year-old clerk at the local Golden Temple Nutritional Supplement and Organic Food Shoppe.

But the bad coverage isn’t just the result of the ignorance of certain members of the media. Modern news media itself is poorly constructed for covering the Vatican.

The Catholic church is all about permanence. They’ve been around a long time, and they know, in every move they make, they are playing a very long game.

The mainstream media can’t even begin to understand that, because they only look at the world through the lens of what’s hot now. And the time period described by “now” keeps getting shorter and shorter for them. At this point, their sense of historical perspective only goes as far back as the last pot of coffee in the breakroom.

The idea that a pope might be more concerned with Eternal Truth than with the latest public opinion polls (the ones from 10:30, because the 9:30 ones are so played out by now it’s ridiculous) is so far beyond them that it’s like Kanye West trying to understand a sensible, low-risk mutual fund retirement plan.

Media coverage of the Catholic church–and any other institution that’s built to last longer than the summer movie season–it going to continue to get worse and worse as the media pours more and more resources into covering the latest and the newest; as technology and social media squeeze the news cycle down to an infinitely small point.

But the truth is not just the latest tweet. The truth is the truth, and some can see it better than others.

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