These days, it's often difficult to tell what's supposed to be real news and what's simply clickbait and/or aggregation.
That's the case this week with a quasi-news story from The Washington Post that makes no attempt to hide its tabloid-esque approach.
I'm talking about a piece that ran with this not-so-subtle cry for page views:
Watch a pastor light into President Trump — with Vice President Pence sitting in the front pew
By the way, I realize this is the second GetReligion post today related to Mike Pence. If you missed the first one (written by Godbeat legend Richard Ostling and focused on media coverage of the VP's faith), it's insightful and definitely worth your time.
But back to my musings: My frustration lies with the fact that the Post goes for the easy clickbait but fails to answer a basic question. More on that in a moment.
First, though, the Post's lede (which provides a few details before the paper goes into aggregation mode):
Like many people, the Rev. Maurice Watson issued a stern and very public rebuke of President Trump’s Oval Office comments about immigrants from “shithole countries.”
But Watson’s reprimand had something none of the other critics had: Vice President Pence sitting just a feet away as he slammed Pence’s boss.
“I stand today as your pastor to vehemently denounce and reject any such characterizations of the nations of Africa and of our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” said Watson, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Largo, Md. “Whoever made such a statement and whoever used such a visceral, disrespectful, dehumanizing statement to characterize the nations of Africa — do you hear me, church? — whoever said it is wrong, and they ought to be held accountable.”
Watson’s Sunday sermon came three days after Trump asked “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” during a tense Oval Office meeting about immigration. As The Washington Post first reported, Trump made the profane comment while discussing immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
Go ahead and read it all, then tell me if you notice the same unanswered question as me.
Here's the question: What in the world is Pence doing at a church where the pastor feels compelled to bash his boss? Of all the churches in the Washington, D.C., area, how did the vice president end up at this one?
With the video clip successfully supplied, the Post neglects to concern itself with such facts.
With a quick bit of Googling, I found an ABC News report that noted:
Pence and his wife were in attendance at the church for the congregation's honoring of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
My apologies to the Post if I'm offering too serious a critique of an item not meant to judged as such.
You just never know anymore.