“Spotlight,” which opens today, is being heralded as an example of solid journalism, the kind of movie that should be shown in college journalism classes. Ironically, many journalists who are touting the movie are proving just how lousy they are at their craft.
Journalists for the following media outlets got their facts wrong:
New York Post; The Daily Commercial; Associated Press; Wall Street Journal; Boston Globe; National Catholic Reporter; Vanity Fair; Los Angeles Daily News; Christianity Today; RogerEbert.com; New Yorker; New York; Observer; Chicago Reader; timesofmalta.com; The Verge; baretnewswire.org; SLANT; Paste; avclub.com; filmcomment.
Whether through laziness or ignorance, all of these sources misrepresented the facts by saying the problem was pedophilia. As the John Jay College of Criminal Justice researchers pointed out, less than 5 percent of the molesting priests were pedophiles. They found that 81 percent of the victims were male and 78 percent of them were postpubescent. That means the abusers were homosexuals.
Not to admit this is an expression of journalistic malfeasance, the kind that ought to be discussed in the classroom.