Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Need journalists advocating “gay marriage” observe no standards at all?

Maureen Dowd’s recent attack on NY Abp. Timothy Dolan for his steadfast defense of marriage is truly one for the record books. (At least Dowd’s rant occasioned George Weigel’s brilliant reply over at National Review Online, wherein he invented and promptly applied the choice phrase “anti-Catholic bitchery” to Dowd’s writing style). Dowd’s cred with New York Times as a Church-baiting Catholic has probably never been higher. Lucky her.

Enter Susan Jacoby of the Washington Post, once-Catholic, now a "free thinker" and atheist, who writes for WaPo’s On Faith column. Go figure.

Jacoby, like Dowd, blasted Dolan’s efforts to talk sense about "gay marriage" to the New York legislature (and indirectly, to the rest of the country), and she made about as much sense as did Dowd. Oh well, I’ll say this much for Jacoby: at least she doesn’t pretend to believe anymore.

In any case, the question I ask here is narrow: do NYT or WaPo journalists pushing for “gay marriage” need to observe any level of accuracy in their claims? Or is any assertion, no matter how plainly wrong, legit, provided it somehow advances the Agenda?

My question is neither idle nor rhetorical.

In the opening paragraph of her essay against Abp. Dolan, Jacoby writes New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who strongly supports gay marriage, is a Catholic accused by the Vatican of ‘public concubinage’ for living with a woman to whom he is not married.”

What’s that you say? The Vatican has accused Cuomo of concubinage?

The Vatican has said no such thing, at any time, in any place. Period. So, whence springs this patently false claim?

Well, Jacoby duly hot-links the phrase “public concubinage” in her essay, but to where, exactly? To (A) the Vatican website; (B) a published speech by the pope or curial cardinal; (C) a low-level Vatican bureaucrat; or (D) an anonymous source Inside the Walls?

The answer, folks, is (E) none of the above.

Instead, Jacoby links the phrase “public concubinage” to my website, wherein I used (and still use) the phrase “public concubinage” to describe Cuomo’s living arrangements. But with emphasis on the word I, please. It’s my claim, not the Vatican’s.

Had Jacoby bothered to look at the disclaimer that appears in the upper right column of my blog, she would have seen the very first sentence thereof: “This blog represents my own opinions and I am solely responsible for its content.” One is forced to ask, then, did Jacoby not bother to look across one inch of white space to read my plain-English notice? Or did she read it but decide to ignore it? I dunno, but either way, it seems that WaPo columnists who write in support of “gay marriage” are exempt from elementary fact-checking.

The obvious disclaimer has been at the upper-right of my blog since I set it up in late 2005, but that is not the only place that I have reminded folks that I speak for myself and for no one else.

In my very first post regarding my appointment as a Referendary (an unpaid consultant) to the Apostolic Signatura in 2010, I emphasized that (like all consultants, and most paid staff, for that matter) of the Vatican and/or Holy See, I do not speak for the Church, and that whatever views I offer on this topic or that stand or fall solely on the arguments I allege for them. Moreover, specifically in the Cuomo-Communion controversy, I expressly reminded readers that my views on Cuomo's objectionable living arrangements are my own, and not the Vatican’s. So, tell me, gentle readers, how else can I make it clear that these views are mine, and not necessarily anyone else’s, including the Vatican's?

Or, is the real lesson here supposed to be that simple things like facts really don't matter to the NYT or WaPo anymore?

PS: I have, fwiw, tried to post a very simple corrective reply in the com-box over at WaPo, but I have not seen it appear yet. Maybe it will show up later, but if it does, it will be at least 65 (make that 110) coms down from the original claim. In any case, the above post more fully airs the consistent problem I see at NYT and WaPo among their pro-gay-marriage columnists.