In case you have been on another planet for a year or two, let me state something rather obvious.
Lurking behind all of the confusion about what is and what is not "fake news" (click here for tmatt a typology on that term) is a reality that should concern journalists of all stripes. It is becoming more and more obvious that readers are having trouble telling the difference between hard news and analysis/commentary work.
For example, consider the New York Times piece that ran with this headline, "Where Churches Have Become Temples of Cheese, Fitness and Eroticism."
At the top of this piece is this label -- "Montreal Dispatch."
Now, is that part of the headline or is that a clue to readers that this is some kind of ongoing analysis feature in which the reporter is going to be given more freedom, when it comes to using loaded language and statements of opinion?
I'll confess that I don't know. I do know that this feature is an amazing example of the GetReligion truism "demographics shape destiny and doctrine does, too." It's a great story and one that will, at this moment in time, cause further pain for Catholic readers. But there is one, for me, disturbing passage that I want journalists to think about, a bit. Hold that thought.
At the center of this piece is the sanctuary known as Notre-Dame-du-Perpétuel-Secours -- which was once a Catholic parish in Montreal. Here is a long, but essential, summary of the changes that have taken place there.
The once-hallowed space, now illuminated with a giant pink chandelier, has been reinvented as the Théâtre Paradoxe at a cost of nearly $3 million in renovations. It is now host to, among other events, Led Zeppelin cover bands, Zumba lessons and fetish parties. ... And it is one of dozens of churches across Quebec that have been transformed -- into university reading rooms, luxury condominiums, cheese emporiums and upmarket fitness centers.
At another event at the church, devoted to freewheeling dance, dozens of barefoot amateur dancers filled the space and undulated in a trance-like state in front of its former altar amid drums and chanting.