Pope Francis

Pope Francis has thanked journalists for helping uncover the clerical sexual abuse scandals that the Roman Catholic Church initially tried to cover up.

The pope praised what he called the "mission" of journalism and said it was vital for reporters to get out of their newsrooms and discover what was happening in the outside world to counter misinformation often found online.

"(I) thank you for what you tell us about what is wrong in the Church, for helping us not to sweep it under the carpet, and for the voice you have given to the abuse victims," the pope said at a ceremony honoring two veteran correspondents — Philip Pullella of Reuters and Valentina Alazraki of Mexico's Noticieros Televisa — for their long careers spent covering the Vatican.

The sexual abuse scandals hit the headlines in 2002, when U.S. daily The Boston Globe wrote a series of articles exposing a pattern of abuse of minors by clerics and a widespread culture of concealment within the Church.

Critics accused Francis of responding too slowly to the scandals after he became Pontiff in 2013 and of believing the word of his fellow clergy over that of the abuse victims.

But in 2018 he tried to address past mistakes, publicly admitting he was wrong about a case in Chile and vowing that the Church would never again seek to cover up such wrongdoing. In 2019 he called for an "all-out battle" against a crime that should be "erased from the face of the earth".

Francis on Saturday said journalists had a mission "to explain the world, to make it less obscure, to make those who live in it less fear it".




Nearly 8 in 10 U.S. S adults either believe or aren't sure about at least one of eight false statements about the COVID-19 pandemic or the COVID-19 vaccines, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey.

Unvaccinated adults and Republicans are among those most likely to hold these misconceptions, the nationally representative poll shows. Overall, 78% believed at least one piece of misinformation.

Nearly two-thirds of unvaccinated adults (64%) believe or are unsure about at least half of the eight false statements, compared with 19% of vaccinated adults. Forty-six percent of Republicans believe or are unsure about at least half of the statements, 3 times the share of Democrats in that category (14%). Independent voters were not factored into the survey results.

The key results show:

Sixty percent of adults say they've heard that the government is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths by counting deaths due to other factors and either believe it to be true (38%) or aren't sure if it's true (22%)

Four in 10 (39%) respondents say they've heard that pregnant women should not get the COVID-19 vaccine and believe it to be true (17%) or aren't sure if it's true (22%)

Three in 10 (31%) say they've heard that the vaccine has been shown to cause infertility and either believe it (8%) or aren't sure if it's true (23%)

Thirty-five percent of respondents say they've heard that the government is hiding deaths from the COVID-19 vaccine; 18% believe it, and 17% say they're not sure if it's true.

Other statements attract less but substantial support:

Twenty-eight percent of respondents have heard that the antiparasitic drug ivermectin is a safe and effective treatment for COVID; 14% believe it, 14% are not sure if it's true

Twenty-four percent of Americans have heard that you can get COVID from the vaccine; 14% believe that to be true, while 10% are unsure

Twenty-four percent of respondents have heard that the vaccines contain microchips; 7% believe it, 17% say they've heard that but don't know if it's true

Twenty-one percent of Americans have heard claims that the vaccine can change DNA or don't know if it's true.


The report notes that "people's trusted news sources are correlated with their belief in COVID-19 misinformation."

At least a third of those who trust information from CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and local and network TV news do not believe any of the eight false statements. Depending on their mix of these news sources, only 11%-16% of this group believe or are unsure about at least four of the eight false statements.

In contrast, 36% of people who trust Fox News, 37% of those who trust One America News, and 46% of those who trust Newsmax say they believe or are unsure about at least half of the eight false statements.

It's also notable that 44% of people who trust NPR, 48% of those who trust MSNBC, 50% of those who trust network news, and 49% of those who trust CNN believe or are unsure about one to three of the false statements.

While larger shares of people who trust COVID information from conservative news sources believe misinformation, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the researchers say the survey cannot explain those beliefs.

The poll results show the role partisanship plays in trust. Democrats trust COVID-19 information from network (72%) and local (66%) television, CNN (65%), MSNBC (56%), and NPR (51%). Republicans' most trusted news sources for COVID-19 information are Fox News (49%), local (34%) and network (25%) news, and Newsmax (22%).

Few adults say they trust social-media sources for COVID-19 information, such as YouTube (13%), Facebook (9%), Twitter (6%), and Instagram (5%).

However, the researchers write that the groups influenced by information they see on those platforms may be larger than these percentages indicate, as previous KFF surveys have found that nearly as many adults get information about COVID-19 vaccines from social media as from cable, network, and local TV news.


Cryptocurrency branding is continuing to soar, and the latest indicator is an announcement this week that Staples Center will become Crypto.com Arena. 

After 22 years, the iconic arena will get the new name thanks to a new 20-year naming rights agreement between the arena’s owner, AEG, and Crypto.com. The agreement will also make Crypto.com the official cryptocurrency platform partner of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Kings.

To kick off the partnership, AEG and Crypto.com will unveil the new logo and new internal arena signage for Crypto.com Arena on Christmas Day, when the Lakers will host the Brooklyn Nets. All the venue’s external signage will be replaced by June 2022.

The naming-rights partnership marks another step in Crypto.com’s steady march to become a more mainstream name. The crypto app claims to have 10 million customers, with various products to meet their needs, including a cryptocurrency exchange, a DeFi wallet (where you store cryptocurrency and assets), and an NFT platform.

Crypto.com has leaned heavily into sports partnerships – UFC, F1, Paris Saint-Germain, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Montreal Canadiens, and esports team Fnatic. The company also recently launched its first global campaign featuring Matt Damon, and is expected to run a Super Bowl commercial alongside FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange platform. 

The company is opening its digital wallet wide!

Each week, The Spin Cycle will bestow a Golden Mic Award to the person, group or company in the court of public opinion that best exemplifies the tenets of solid PR, marketing and advertising – and those who don’t. Stay tuned – and step-up to the mic! And remember … Amplify Your Brand!

» TODD SMITH is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Deane | Smith, a full-service branding, PR, marketing and advertising firm with offices in Jackson. The firm – based in Nashville, Tenn. – is also affiliated with Mad Genius. Contact him at todd@deanesmith.agency, follow him @spinsurgeon on Twitter and like the ageny on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deanesmithpartners, and join us on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/company/deane-smith-&-partners.

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