Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Media and "the Holy Father"

Pity poor Cincinnati. We are sadly lacking in unbiased print media. The daily newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, is so rigidly conservative that their corporate logo should be a robot. On the other end of the spectrum, the alternative weekly Citybeat is so kneejerk leftist that their editorial meetings probably look like can-can rehearsals.

One of the latest absurdities from Citybeat comes from media watchdog Ben L. Kaufman (formerly with the Enquirer) who writes:

Why did reporters death-watching the pope call him "Holy Father"? That's an honorific among Catholics only. Reporters for secular media should eschew such religiously partisan and divisive language.

Oh, come on. Maybe they should have just called him "Mr. Wotyla." By the same token, no one should have referred to "Mahatma" Gandhi or "the Ayatollah" Khomeini. These are also religious honorifics. The media should have used their given names Mohandas Gandhi and ... um ... what was Khomeini's first name anyway?

UPDATE (4/11): Charles Jones e-mails (subject: Mr Mousavi): "Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, born Ruhollah Mousavi." Glad to get that straightened out.

Let's also make sure that no one refers to "the Dalai Lama." Or "Mullah" Mohammed Omar. Or "the Reverend" Billy Graham. Or "Saint" Francis. Or Jesus "Christ."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They could have called him "Pope John Paul II".

You're right about "mahatma", but most people have no idea what it means. If people translated it into English you'd probably find less instances of people referring to "The Great Soul Gandhi".