Play MIPSY for Me

Today is day three of the weeklong papal media spectacle, which began with the pontiff’s death Saturday and will continue through his funeral on Friday. Last we checked, CNN had Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour, and Bill Hemmer, among others, reporting “from Rome.” (Assuming they’re not just talking in front of a matte painting of St. Peter’s, of course, they’re actually reporting from Vatican City, which is an independent state and not a part of Rome at all.)

Here’s the problem facing news directors at the moment: The pope’s death is a dominant, all-consuming story, but when it comes right down to it, there’s not much to report. CNN’s heavy hitters made the trip to “Rome” largely for show, and now they’re stationed there with little to do other than enjoy a good meal on Time Warner’s tab. Admittedly, the selection of the pope’s successor will likely be interesting, and his passing gives an opportunity for a look back at his life and accomplishments, but those stories aren’t gonna fill a weeklong news hole. So, instead, we get breathless coverage of the tiniest of developments. This morning, the top story at most outlets was the fact that the pope’s body had been moved to St. Peter’s Basilica. Now that the basilica has opened its doors for public viewing, they’re reporting on the fact that, in an entirely expected development, the public is viewing him. And on and on it will go.

So we had an idea: A reader trivia contest, of sorts. But instead of asking you questions, we’d like you to pass along the most inane, unnecessary pope-related stories you can find in your daily news search, with whatever comment you like. There’s no prize involved, sadly, but we will post on those articles that break new ground in terms of utter and complete irrelevance, along with your comments. Just let us know if you’d like us to use your name when you send in your entry. Submissions should go here.

To get things started, here’s our nomination for the Most Inane Pope Story award — the MIPSY for short. We hereby nominate the entire local New York media. Just about every local newscast we’ve seen has sent a reporter to Greenpoint, a Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn, to ask Polish residents if they liked the pope, who was Polish himself. Turns out that — and you’re not going to believe this — they did. In fact, they thought it was great he was Polish. So did some of their moms. Amazing.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, dear readers. Send us your submissions today.

Brian Montopoli

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Brian Montopoli is a writer at CJR Daily.