Pope likens fake news to eating feces
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Pope likens fake news to eating feces

‘Disinformation is probably the greatest damage the media can do,’ Holy See says, after falsely reported backing Trump

Pope Francis holds his assistant Sandro Mariotti's arm as he walks down steps during his weekly general audience, in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Francis holds his assistant Sandro Mariotti's arm as he walks down steps during his weekly general audience, in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis on Wednesday warned about the dangers of fake news — likening it to “the sickness of coprophilia,” or eating feces.

Clearly, fake news left him with a bad taste in his mouth, after earlier this year it was reported — falsely — that he had endorsed Donald Trump for US president.

In an interview published Wednesday with the Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio, Francis repeated a frequent warning of his that the media can fall prey to spreading slander, scandal, defamation and disinformation.

Francis said people have a tendency toward “the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm.”

“Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth,” he said.

“And then, I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey – without offence, please – to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true.”

Francis was a victim of fake news spread on social media, including the false claim that he had endorsed Trump. Popes do not endorse political candidates, though he urged Catholic voters to “study the proposals well, pray and choose in conscience.”

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