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Not the right kind of paper to report both sides? About that story on fired Catholic teacher

Not the right kind of paper to report both sides? About that story on fired Catholic teacher

Just last month, I highlighted a quasi-piece of reporting by the Washington Post on a pastor "lighting into" President Donald Trump with Vice President Mike Pence sitting in a front pew.

I noted that it's often difficult these days — even in the Post — to tell what's supposed to be real news and what's simply clickbait and/or aggregation.

Well, here we go again ...

A reader emailed us about a new Post story that raises some of the same "What is this?" questions as the earlier piece.

The latest story — with the headline "‘Not the right kind of Catholic’: Private schoolteacher fired days after same-sex wedding" — prompted a GetReligion-style analysis by the reader who emailed us.

I thought I might share highlights of the reader's thoughts and respond to each.

From the reader:

The article is about a teacher fired from a Catholic school after she married her same sex partner. The opening few paragraphs make it clear whose side the writer is on by carefully describing the upcoming wedding, then dropping the bombshell of her being fired.

Certainly, the lede is sensitive to the teacher's situation and seems designed to evoke a response from readers. But honestly, I don't have a major problem with the lede. It's the rest of the story and the much-delayed and incomplete reporting on the other side that concerns me, from a journalistic perspective.

More from the reader:

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This is why the media just can't resist a chainsaw-wielding nun helping after Hurricane Irma

This is why the media just can't resist a chainsaw-wielding nun helping after Hurricane Irma

It's clickbait.

Take that back — it's chainsaw bait.

As NPR put it, "(N)o one, it seems, can resist a story about a chainsaw-wielding nun."

And you know what? I don't blame them. What's not to like about this story?

The basics from Emily Miller at Religion News Service:

(RNS) — Now here’s something you don’t see every day: A Carmelite nun, in full habit, cutting trees with a chainsaw.
Sister Margaret Ann, principal of Miami’s Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll High School, caught the attention of an off-duty police officer, who posted photos and video of her at work on the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Facebook page on Tuesday (Sept. 12).
The post said acts of kindness like hers “remind us all that we are #OneCommunity in #MiamiDadeCounty” and included the praying hands emoji for good measure.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, snagged an interview with the nun:

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So when is it OK for a bishop to call President Barack Obama a 'sodomite'?

So when is it OK for a bishop to call President Barack Obama a 'sodomite'?

This was certainly the strangest URL anyone sent me this week.

When I saw that an Episcopal bishop had called the president a sodomite I assumed that the problem in this story was that we were dealing with an "Episcopal" bishop -- a leader in some kind of fringe, buy-yourself-a-mitre church -- rather than a real, live leader in the liberal Episcopal Church establishment. As it turned out, the WLRN website was actually writing about a mainstream, and thus culturally liberal, Episcopalian.

So what the heck?

Eventually, this story or essay gets to the point, underneath the headline: "What Bishop Frade May Have Meant When He Called President Obama A Sodomite." But first, the story had to explain that this bishop was actually a good guy.

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That all-but-missing detail about Jeb Bush's life

Catholics here in America have a very intense and interesting relationship with the mainstream press.

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