Pope Francis joined the list of prominent world leaders to decry “disinformation” in the media, a leitmotif of 2016. In an interview with Belgian Catholic weekly Tertio, the pontiff warned against the temptation to indulge in scandal and to trade in false allegations.

“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,” Francis said, using a rather remarkable term that means having an interest in excrement.

Although he did not address specific episodes currently rankling the conversation on both sides of the Atlantic, the Argentinian-born pope warned against messaging that pandered to a one-sided viewpoint. His remarks came after the publication asked him to share his views on the “means of communication” in the current moment.

“Disinformation is probably the greatest damage that the media can do, as opinion is guided in one direction, neglecting the other part of the truth,” the pope said. (You can read the full transcript here.)

Last month, President Obama decried the proliferation and reach of unverified, fake news sites, which in some instances propagated conspiracy theories that became part of the mainstream news cycle.

“If we are not serious about facts and what’s true and what’s not, if we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have problems,” Obama said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Obama's concerns in an address to her nation's Parliament.

“Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls — things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms, and we have to learn to deal with them,” she said.

More on WorldViews