The Trial. Nay rather… the Trial of the Century! The earthquake provoking butler-who-done-it in the Vatican!
The trial of the Holy Father’s document-leaking former-valet (keep repeating: the Butler, in the Office, with a Copying Machine), is comparable to what the ancient Romans called a fluctus in simpulo, “a wave in a ladle”. There is no there there.
But newsies are having a nutty … because they can.
A case in point is a really bad article by AP’s Nicole Winfield.
Winfield doesn’t usually go off the rails, but this time the trolley slipped in an embarrassing way. Perhaps all the vapid gas being vented about this in the Italian press gave her a temporary case of the vapors.
Given that readers scan the beginning and the end of pieces like this, and given that writers know this, it was pretty clear what Winfield was trying to get a across. You decide.
The middle section of her article involved some reporting. The opening and the close were distracting, frivolous.
Have a look:
Pope’s ex-butler goes on trial for leaked papers
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press – 1 hour ago
VATICAN CITY (AP) — There was a time when a Vatican trial could end with a heretic being burned at the stake. [?!? This is how she starts her report after today’s briefing? Really?] Paolo Gabriele doesn’t risk nearly as dire a fate, but he and the Holy See face a very public airing [“very public” as opposed to a little bit public… ] over the gravest security breach in the Vatican’s recent history following the theft and leaking of the pope’s personal papers. [Desperation, like a zombie, stalks the press corps, waiting to eat warm brains.]
Gabriele, the pope’s once-trusted butler, goes on trial Saturday, accused of stealing the pope’s documents and passing them off to a journalist — a sensational, Hollywood-like scandal that exposed power struggles, intrigue and allegations of corruption in the highest levels of the Catholic Church. [For pity’s sake. They just don’t have enough to do. The Holy See isn’t blameless. The Press Office doesn’t give them much to work with. When they get a whiff of chum, they have a little thrash in the water. Maybe if there were, I dunno, real engagement by the Holy See … But I dream… I digress…]
Gabriele is charged with aggravated theft and faces up to four years in prison if convicted by the three-judge Vatican tribunal. He has already confessed and asked to be pardoned by the pope — something most Vatican watchers say is a given if he is convicted — making the trial almost a formality.
[… in fairness Winfield does some reporting in the rest of the piece which might be of interest…]
[… skipping to the end…]
There has been no such vote of confidence for the Vatican’s onetime Congregation for the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition, [?!?] the commission created in 1542 that functioned as a tribunal to root out heresy, punish crimes against the faith and name Inquisitors for the church. [Just in case you didn’t catch that whole “Inquisitor” thing, she made sure to repeat it.]
One of its more famous victims was Giordano Bruno, burned in Rome in 1600 after being tried for heresy. [From this stupid trial to Giordano Bruno? Really?]
The Inquisition? That’s the lead? That’s the closure?
I guess we should put this in perspective. The writer also put some effort into the far more important story about the topless photos of Prince William’s wife Kate.
“But Father! But Father!”, you might be saying. “That last thing was a cheap shot!”
Riiiight. I think you grasp the essential point.
Even ridiculous stories deserve better.