Seems that NPR listeners thought they were being too "adulatory" and in any account, were overplaying the story. NPR's ombudsman explains:
Listeners asked a number of pointed, and I thought correct, questions about NPR's coverage:
· At what point does popular sentiment for the Pope outweigh the journalistic obligation to disinterest and skepticism?
· Is NPR prepared to do this for the deaths of other religious leaders? If so, why, and if not, why not?
· Was the coverage based more on the depth of advanced planning rather than the news value of the event?
· Did anyone at NPR consider the needs of the listeners and suggest that the coverage be scaled back?
Good question, that last one.
off topic comment:
i don't know if i want to call this post "everything happens for a reason" or "we've already forgotten the pope".
i've always smirked when i have heard pundits the last couple of weeks speak of the conclave in 1978. i've wanted to cyber-ask them, "which one?".
i'll never forget that day, sept. 27, 1978, they carried the diminutive venetian into st. peter's. this pope, the former albino luciani, was going to be different. he had stopped having audiences in the auditorium next to st. peter's. the crowds were so big to see him. he was going to do things differently. i've got some really good pictures of the procession that day. he disliked being carried, but they told him those farther back in the crowd would not be able to see him. the small statured venetian. that was wednesday morning.
the following friday morning word had spread like wildfire that JPI was dead. the following week is separated myself from the tour and went back to st. peter's for the funeral mass. (i can assure you, it was nothing like this furneral past.)
what are we going to do?
somehow, someway, we elected a pole.
in all the commotion this past week i've not seen a single piece written about what would have happened if JPI had served a common tenure. would he have been as focused on the freedoms of the polish people as JPII? would he have been as focused on the evils of communism as JPII?
it is pure speculation what the world would be like with JPI as pope.
would we have even heard of karol wojtyla?
in my opinion we have had three pontificates with JPII. the young and vibrant pope who set the free world on fire. he never quite recovered from that gunshot, giving us the middle aged pope. time took its toll giving us the old pope this past decade.
we traditionalist/conservative catholics look back and say the conclave did the right thing back in 1978. which time you ask? both times. now we look back and ask once again what will we do?
is/would a young karol wojtyla right for the job in 2005? different challenges face the church today, and while some are not new, is JPIII the answer? if not for the brief but bright impact JPI had, we would not have been able to go directly from PVI to JPII.
if i live another 26 years, i pray that looking back on this conclave, they did just as good a job as the two in 1978. and if i do live that long, i will surely wonder, "everything happens for a reason" or "we've already forgotten the pope."
Great post by louielouie.
I have thought the same things and have heard people try to say what he is saying. He just said it best.
"At what point does popular sentiment for the Pope outweigh the journalistic obligation to disinterest and skepticism?" I'm wondering how often NPR got last year any questions like "At what point does the mainstream media sentiment for Kerry and the Democrats outweight the journalistic obligation to disinterest and skepticism?" Ha.
Great comment, louielouie.
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