The Daily Beast is a website that covers a wide range of subjects. Its reporting is even more wide-ranging: some of it is quite good, and some of it is sophomoric. When it comes to Catholicism, much of what is posted is tabloid journalism. Take today’s piece by Barbie Latza Nadeau, a regular contributor. Yahoo! flagged it as if it were a serious piece.
The subject of her story is Miriam Wuolou, a receptionist who worked at the pope’s residence. The 34-year-old was found dead in her home last Friday outside Rome; she was seven-months pregnant. She suffered from acute diabetes and had not reported to work for several weeks. It was the police who found her body, following an inquiry made by her brother.
So far, this is simply a tragic story. But wait—Nadeau smells a rat. She tweeted, “Did someone Kill the Pope’s Receptionist?” That is also the title of her story in the Daily Beast. She leads with, “The Mysterious Death of a Pregnant Woman Had the Pope Wondering Why She Had to Die.”
In fact, there is no evidence that the pope is wondering anything of the sort. Nadeau offers “theories” of what may have happened, most of which deal with the victim’s husband. I have a few theories about her, but I won’t share them because they amount to conjecture. Would that she follow suit.
Just last week, Nadeau did a story, “Did Pope Francis Just Sink Trump?” She did not theorize the next day why Trump won. Predictably, she also misconstrued what the pope said about Trump. Her previous piece on Catholicism was just as adolescent: “Did Pope John Paul II Have a Secret Lover?” She doesn’t know, but she invites us to think that he may have.
Admittedly, it is hard for writers to compete for attention in this Internet age, but that is no excuse for demagoguery.