Pope Francis said in an interview with the Belgian Catholic weekly "Tertio" that tabloid media and scandal sheets risk becoming forums for coprophilia, or arousal from excrement, while consumers risk coprophagia: the eating excrement. "I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into - no offense intended - the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true," he said, according to a Reuters report. 
 
"And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done."
 
Spreading disinformation is "probably the greatest damage that the media can do" because, Francis said,  "it directs opinion in only one direction and omits the other part of the truth."
 
Much controversy has ensued over misinformation and so-called "fake news."  Some websites, such as libertarian-leaning Breitbart News, have been dubbed as “fake news” by their ideological opponents and in academia. Breitbart and its former director, Trump advisor Steve Bannon, have even been dubbed “white supremacists” by their opponents who helped Donald Trump win the election on November 8. Establishment media, such as CNN and The New York Times, have been criticized for what both Trump and his supporter consider coverage that was biased against him.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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