Archbishop Chaput on the News Media

Here is Archbishop Chaput with a worthwhile reflection on how Catholics should think about the media. A few excerpts:

Most of what we know about the world comes from people we’ll never meet and don’t really understand.  We don’t even think of them as individuals.  Instead we usually talk about them in the collective – as “the media” or “the press.”  Yet behind every Los Angeles Times editorial or Fox News broadcast are human beings with personal opinions and prejudices.  These people select and frame the news.  And when we read their newspaper articles or tune in their TV shows, we engage them in a kind of intellectual intimacy in the same way you’re listening to me right now….

…The media’s power to shape public thought is why it’s so vital for the rest of us to understand their human element.  When we don’t recognize the personal chemistry of the men and women who bring us our news – their cultural and political views, their economic pressures, their social ambitions – then we fail the media by holding them to too low a standard.  We also – and much more importantly — fail ourselves by neglecting to think and act as intelligent citizens…

…Visual and electronic media, today’s dominant media, need a certain kind of content.  They thrive on brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings.  But thinking requires the opposite.  Thinking takes time.  It needs silence and the methodical skills of logic.  Today’s advances in technology have increased the sources of human information that the average layperson can access.  That’s a good thing.  But they’ve also undermined the intellectual discipline that we once had when our main tools of communication were books or print publications.  This is not a good development.  In fact, it’s a very dangerous thing in a democracy, which is a form of government that demands intellectual and moral maturity from its citizens to survive.

Read the whole thing here.

h/t: American Papist

3 Responses to Archbishop Chaput on the News Media

  1. Rick Lugari says:

    Excellent letter! Thanks for posting it.

  2. Elaine Krewer says:

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I used to be a “media person” 🙂

  3. catherine KENNEDY says:

    Yet again Grace Archbishop Chaput hits the nail on the head here -he makes such good points here re the book/ print vs the internet age
    Now there are pluses and minuses in this high tech internet age as with the book / print/age too.
    BUT the human dimension should never ever be discounted
    it is such an intrinsic element!
    The discipline demanded in previos eras eg that of the book was a good thing it would be good if we could somehow revive some of these practices to get optimum results for the high tech age!

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