Pope Francis: It's a sin to spread fake news
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Pope Francis compared media outlets that spread disinformation and cover scandals to smear politicians to people who become aroused by excrement. 

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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 John TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE defeat Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch MORE in November's presidential election. 

More established media outlets have also faced widespread criticism for their coverage of Trump's campaign.