An example of bad journalism

Friday, October 9, 2020.

I read a blog post by Brad Polumbo who comments Fratelli Tutti, designating it as “a lengthy religious text”.

“Brad Polumbo is a libertarian-conservative journalist and the Eugene S. Thorpe Writing Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education. The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) is a 501(c)3 educational foundation and has been trusted by parents and teachers since 1946 to captivate and inspire tomorrow’s leaders with sound economic principles and the entrepreneurial spirit with free online courses, top-rated in-person seminars, free books for classrooms, as well as relevant and worldly daily online content. FEE’s vision is to make the ideas of liberty familiar, credible, and compelling to the rising generation.” (cited from

Brad, you claim that the Pope is “blaming free-market capitalism for the Covid-19 crisis” and then judge that “This is probably Pope Francis’s weakest argument of all.” But where did you read this? Some excerpts from Fratelli Tutti:

(7) “Aside from the different ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident. For all our hyper-connectivity, we witnessed a fragmentation that made it more difficult to resolve problems that affect us all. Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality.”

(32) “the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person’s problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together.”

Brad, you faithfully recite the benefits and importance of private property and the free market. Yes, letting humans act as competitors to each other is a most efficient economical system. Yes, every human needs reward for their efforts because otherwise their motivation will die. But the Pope knew these things (see here for example).

Brad, your interpretation of “empirical data” is simply amusingly naive.

Brad, your article is of such a low journalistic quality! Far below your other publications. I would recommend that you leave “religious” topics to people who are actually interested in philosophy and religion.

But I realize that my reaction to your article won’t help neither you nor your fans to “become evermore fully yourselves” (4).

My prayer: Oh Gott, die Welt ist so voller Lüge und Hass! Ich habe weder Kraft noch Kompetenz, dagegen anzukämpfen. Auch das Internet bringt nichts Neues. Es ist lediglich ein neuer Acker, auf dem guter wie schlechter Same nebeneinander wächst und gedeiht (Mt 13,24-43). Und es stimmt ja, dass die Kirche als Organisation Fehler gemacht hat und macht. Hilf uns, Wege zu finden, damit alle Menschen in geschwisterlicher Liebe miteinander daran arbeiten, diesen Planeten und seine Bewohner in deinem Sinne zu regieren.”

P.S. After writing above prayer, I queried Ecosia for Holger Kiik (for unrelated reasons) and found a series of remedies to protect you against bad journalism: Of fallacies, based on cursing climate policy. Holger, I still don’t understand what made me step into your life today at noon, but I am glad that I did it. I’d love to hear or read your opinion about Brad Polumbo’s article and Fratelli Tutti.