Parishioner Katie Dobies sent a copy of this letter my way. She wrote it in response to a headline that she saw in USA Today, about the horrible flooding in Colorado. (please note, the USA Today link includes video, so if you click into it and need quiet, make sure that your volume is down!)
The flooding in Colorado is both horrible and unprecedented. Our prayers are no doubt all with those who have been impacted, by injury or by loss of property, but primarily by loss of life. That said, Katie has an important point about how newspapers are sold.
Dear USA Today Editors,
On the front page of your weekend edition September 13-15 paper is the headline “‘Biblical’ Rains Flood Colorado“. Although I enjoy reading your newspaper, I am disappointed in your editing, and as a company, that you would fantastically use the term “biblical” in the title describing the Colorado floods.
I understand that you were “quoting” the National Weather Services’ use of the word biblical, however it was not paramount to use this one word quote for the impact of the headline. That was a poor discretion on your part on several ethical levels.
In The Bible, God made a covenant that He will never flood the earth again after The Great Flood. It seems you are partly using this Bible reference in the headline to instill a fear factor in order to give your story a greater impact, to sell more newspapers, as if you are saying we are in “biblical times”. This cultural problem that you are participating in is that the media has become increasingly desperate to compete for our loyalties. It definitely became desperate in this weekends edition when you used the blasphemous quote from The National Weather Service stating that the floods are biblical, especially singling out the word ‘biblical’ to use on your front page headline.
If you meant that they are biblical, as in reminiscent of the floods that came when Noah built the ar, then that is also misleading and hearsay. The images and witnesses we observe in Colorado have the true impact on our hearts, not your desperate headline. None of us were in biblical times to witness the biblical flooding and they are not sign that God is flooding the earth again.
We come to our own understandings of the depth and importance of stories ourselves. Please consider letting us make our own observations from the facts that you provide us as a leading news outlet and not use fear, or confer biblical implications from a bad flood.