AFP serves up some Kellerism: Getting hitched, sort of, as a threesome in Brazil

Every now and then, I run into what appears to be a piece of GetReligion writing, only it isn't here at GetReligion.

It's no surprise when you see this from former GetReligionistas such as the Rev. George Conger, M.Z. Hemingway or Mark Kellner. But what about this piece -- "AFP on 3-Woman Marriage: Using News for Propaganda" -- by one Tom Hoopes at the Gregorian Institute at Benedictine College, Kansas?

Truth be told, this is a basic paragraph-by-paragraph story dissection, as practiced here on many occasions by Hemingway or, long ago, by the blog's co-founder, Doug LeBlanc (whose name remains in our contributors list because I refuse to remove it, since he's still out there helping behind the scenes).

As it turns out, Hoopes spent a decade as executive editor of The National Catholic Register and had some experience as a mainstream journalist and political press secretary, as well.

So what is he up to in this blog item? Let's look at a few pieces of this:

Fisking is a now-rarer art from the early days of blogging, kept nobly alive as by Father John Zuhlsdorf, whose blog ... helps us see what everything really says.
But when I read a story from Agence-France Presse news agency about the debut of court-sanctioned polyamory, I couldn’t resist using the “Zisking” style of emphasis and added comments. ...
Rio de Janeiro (AFP) -- Three’s a crowd? Not in Brazil, where three women have defied deeply conservative trends in Congress and wider traditional mores by celebrating a polyamorous civil union. [Not long ago, President Obama and Hillary Clinton were both against gay marriage. Now, suddenly, you need to be in the grip of “deeply conservative trends” to be against multiple spouses?]
The happy trio, who reportedly have shared a bed for years and say they want to raise a child, took an oath of love in early October in the presence of Rio de Janeiro notary public Fernanda de Freitas Leitao. [The “reporter” isn’t stating facts but creating a word-picture of a happy marriage where none exists.]
“This union is not just symbolic,” because it defines “how they intend to have children,” attorney Leitao said. [Note: The reporter’s only legal expert in the story is the lawyer the women paid; and the lawyer seems to have taught the reporter how to obfuscate about the situation.]
The lovers -- a businesswoman and a dentist who are both 32, and a 34-year-old office manager -- have been together for three years and wish to remain anonymous. Despite salacious media speculation about their supposed love life, they are in fact shy, their lawyer said. [It is salacious for the media to speculate about their “supposed” love life, says the “reporter” who just finished telling us the “happy trio” “shared a bed for years”.]

So what is the big news here?

The union is not a formal marriage, because under Brazilian law that would be bigamy. Neither are they automatically allowed to declare joint income or join a healthcare plan for spouses. [She finally admits it!]
But the civil union is still a big step, according to the lawyer. [And according to no one else, at least no one else noted in this story.]

At the very end there is this kicker, focusing on the edgy new trend of writing alleged hard-news stories, as opposed to commentaries, in which one never actually talks to people on the other side of the issue being discussed. Instead, the reporter features a quote from someone who is not connected to the story at all.

“Men with men do not produce children,” said lawmaker and evangelical pastor Hidekazu Takayama in a late September congressional debate. [And another opposing voice is … another evangelical. What he says is perfectly reasonable, but is made to seem unreasonable a moment later with a handpicked quote … ]
“Satan is laughing, shaking up family structures while arguing for the human rights of modern women,” Takayama fulminated on his Facebook page ahead of the debate. [And so the reporter ends by laying all her bias cards on the deck. The crazy opponents of polyamory, who she doesn’t bother to interview, even, are just a bunch of freaks who associate the rights of modern woman with Satan, and the proof is right there on some guy’s Facebook page. This is not journalism. This is propaganda.]

The only thing he forgot to do, in this case study, was link this alleged news story to the "Kellerism" label that we use here at GetReligion. What does that mean? Click here and then here for a refresher course.

Has anyone else out there in reader-land spotted some GetReligion-esque commentary on mainstream religion news that they want to share?

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