Pope Francis compared media outlets that spread disinformation and cover scandals to smear politicians to people who become aroused by excrement.
In an interview with the Belgian Catholic weekly "Tertio," Francis said scandal-mongering media outlets risk falling prey to coprophilia, or arousal from excrement, and the consumers risk coprophagia, or eating excrement.
"I think the media have to be very clear, very transparent, and not fall into — no offense intended — the sickness of coprophilia, that is, always wanting to cover scandals, covering nasty things, even if they are true," he said, according to Reuters.
"And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, a lot of damage can be done."
The pope also warned that spreading disinformation is "probably the greatest damage that the media can do" because "it directs opinion in only one direction and omits the other part of the truth."
Many have argued that spurious "fake news" circulated on Facebook and rumor websites helped President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE defeat Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE in November's presidential election.
More established media outlets have also faced widespread criticism for their coverage of Trump's campaign.