Friday, 25 May 2012

Cath News must be reformed: a response to Ms Hogan!

I'm not going to provide an analysis of Cath news for Friday tonight - I'll do that on the weekend.

Instead, here is an open response to the series of emails I have received from Ms Hogan today.

Dear Ms Hogan,

1.  You ask that I reject comments on my blog that you believe are inaccurate. 

Well no!

Here is how the social media works.  People assert something.  Someone else corrects it.  We eventually arrive at the truth.  That's how citizen journalism works!

One of the examples you cite is the comment suggesting that it was unusual for comment moderation to occur on Cath News on the weekend.  You say that it is in fact normal.

Feel free to jump in over here and post a correction on an issue like that if you think there is an issue Ms Hogan!  But I'm not going to engage in a fact checking exercize on every blog comment - and I really suggest Cath News have another think about its position on this subject.

2.  You ask that we accept everything anyone in a media story claims is true!

You go on to state that one of your reasons for rejecting comments on the Melinda Gates story is that they include 'untrue' claims.  Really?

You say:

"Inter alia, some of those disallowed comments included those which asserted the Gates Foundation funds abortions (that was specifically addressed and denied in the linked story)[And we are supposed to just accept what they say?  Craig Thompson must surely want you on the jury at his eventual trial Christine!  I'd suggest a read of the long fight Life Site News had with the Canadian bishops who similarly claimed their aid wasn't going to services providing abortions], that his father was associated with some sort of family planning organisation (truth? relevance?)."[Are you telling us you've never heard of the atrocities perpetrated by Planned Parenthood Christine!  If so, I'd suggesting adding a good US news aggregation service like Pewsitter to your reading list on what's happening in the Church.  But for the record, Planned Parenthood is the organization that is currently promoting 'National Masturbation Month' in the US!]

 3. Rejecting ad hominems?  Campaigns?

You advise that all comments that were "were not actionable, or ad hominem, or clearly part of a campaign" were posted.

Well clearly that  is not the case.

First, none of the comments rejected by Cath News and posted here were, on the face of it, actionable or ad hominem.

Ad hominem, for the record doesn't preclude an attack on an individual for the actions, ideas or words.  Rather it means when someone is attacked because of some particular characteristic or set of beliefs that are irrelevant to the argument.

It is not an ad hominem attack to talk about Bill Gates' wealth in the context of a debate about what he does with it for example!

4.  No campaigns?!

You state that you will reject any comments that are part of a campaign.  Now normally when the  journalistic/PR world talks about campaign responses, what is meant is being besieged by more or less identical words provided by some third party for individuals to send in.

Often it is handled by publishing one version of the 'standard words', but then acknowledging that x more people said similar things.

But I'm not providing campaign responses in that sense Ms Hogan, as you'd know if you bothered to read my posts.

All I'm asking is that people take a look over at your place and comment if they happen to see something that needs to be commented on!  Sure I'll occasionally flag particular stories.  But I'm not telling people what to say or think, merely inviting them to have their say.

That is what social media is about. A way of engaging us all in a constructive debate.

And how can you tell they came to Cath News from reading my post on the subject anyway?  Unless they explicitly mention Australia Incognita, how can you know they are part of a 'campaign'?!

So please, I encourage you to rethink this!

But of course, maybe it is just another excuse to reject all the orthodox comments...

5.  Bill and Melinda Gates are Mass going catholics!

I asked why this story appeared in Cath News at all, given that it appeared to laud dissent.  You say that the answer is that Melinda Gates is a Mass-going Catholic and stories about Catholics fall within your purview.

Kind of missing the point here Ms Hogan.  I have no problem with stories about Catholics doing good things - or drawing attention to evils perpetrated under the cloak of Catholicism.   But a Catholic News Service shouldn't be lauding the subversion of the Church's teaching on contraception and the nature of the family!

6.  Thanks for all the fish!

You draw my attention to Cath News' (claimed) circulation numbers in contrast to my own modest ones and thank me for the additional readers directed to you.

Happy to send people your way Christine.

Here is the thing.

Australian Incognita is not in competition with Cath News - Cath News is a news aggregation service; I'm a content provider.

I'm not in it for the numbers - I'm in it to get people thinking and acting for their faith.

It's the mustard seed principle (try reading Matthew 13: 31-32): small things spread and grow, eventually transforming the world.

But for the record, I'm no Fr Z, but my reader numbers are pretty healthy as blogs go! 

More people tuning in each day than hear the average priest's sermon across a couple of Masses each Sunday for example!

7.  Pray for our bishops

Finally you say that Cath News will keep on doing exactly what it is currently doing, because it has been encouraged by the hierarchy to do just that.

I'm sure that is true. But that doesn't mean things won't change as new appointments continue to be made, and the grace of the Holy Spirit calls our existing bishops to take up the good fight!

You claim that Archbishop Wilson told you not to lose heart and that:

‘If people do not like what you are doing, it is because they do not understand what you are doing.’

Or perhaps we understand all too well!

You also note that Archbishop Hart has been the Chair of their commission for the past six years, so don't expect any change.

Well, I'm not going to pre-judge at this point, I'm just going to pray, work and rely on God!

I understand that you yourself are not in fact a Catholic Ms Hogan.  So I'm going to particularly pray that in this upcoming Year of Grace, you too may be moved by the Spirit and embrace the true faith and reflect that in your work on Cath News.

Cath News has the potential to be a real force for the New Evangelization.  But of course, if you haven't yet found the truth, I guess you are not going to see the value in that.

In Domino

Kate Edwards

PS You advised that you had rejected my comments on Cath News because of alleged bad faith around my phone number.  By virtue of this correspondence you now seem to have accepted that I am who I am (and while you haven't left any messages on my phone there do seem to have been a few calls that got my standard greeting of which I presume yours is one). 

So why haven't you published my comments?

Am I in fact banned from posting on Cath News?

And if so, why?

No comments: