Michael at Reading A1 (I'm considering changing the name of this blog to "Michael at Reading A1 Says" because of how often that attribution appears here.) has read the NYT "Credibility Group" report and makes a bunch of good oberservations. For instance:
Didja catch how those confessions of lapse all seem to go in a single direction? Apparently nobody is more convinced of the Times' liberal bias than the Times itself. This barely even requires comment: the Credibility Group has fully adopted a critique of "labelling," and a rhetoric of "diversity," that only L. Brent Bozell and David Horowitz, respectively, could love—could hardly fail to love, seeing how tirelessly they've been propagandizing these very terms, the state-of the art language of right-wing victimization. Well, it's nice to see that hard work pays off. About the only thing missing here is the Times admitting that its Science section has persecuted Christians by being insufficiently skeptical about evolution.
Language matters after all and no place more than at a newspaper. Michael then asks:
... given the paper's new commitment to "diversity" and fairness in "labeling," is there any doubt where the boom's going to be lowered, first and foremost?
Nope! And up to the diversity plate steps Jodi Wilgoren and Gretchen Ruethling to get us started. They are the NYT reporters who covered the horrible murder of the two young girls in Illinois this week. (Bobo's country) Their story included the following:
By late Monday afternoon, a bouquet of pink and white carnations and a small cross reading "bless this child" had been laid on the doorstep of the Tobias home, where the brown drapes were drawn and no one answered the telephone or a knock on the door. At the park, the swings and merry-go-round were empty, but a collection of stuffed animals and bouquets had sprouted as a shrine.
"Lord God, we pray for the mothers and the dads of these girls," a woman said, as about 30 adults and children bowed their heads and held hands in prayer at the edge of a ravine. "Lord God, we pray for these children. Let us deal with this situation, Lord God, in peace."
Hundreds of parents and children gathered in a junior high school gymnasium Tuesday night to share information and listen to officials explain how families should help their children cope.
"Zion, you have proven yourself to be one of the strongest communities on the face of the earth," said Lane Harrison, the mayor of Zion, at the meeting. "This evening before you go to bed, get down on your knees and thank God that your children are safe."
The NYT is going down a winding path that's lit with blinding light here. Facts are facts but I'm wondering if they are going to take equal care to search out and work in mentions of spirituality in the wake of tragedies that happen outside of "rural America" or to groups who aren't products of the "Conservative Christian" labelling and noise machines. Of course, how will we know unless we have people on the scene ourselves to watch for expressions of various faiths at every disaster? How much attention paid to their religious expressions is enough? Should the religious practices of criminals be examined as well? Of their families? And what do we think about people, who, when caught in life's cruelest moments, don't publicly cry out to God for strength?
From the NYT Credibility Report:
Both inside and outside the paper, some people feel that we are missing stories because our staff lacks diversity in veiwpoints, intellectual grounding and individual backgrounds. We should look for all manner of diversity. We should seek talented journalists who happen to have military experience, who know rural America first hand, who are at home in different faiths.
I'm with Michael. I'm afraid that this is new "credibility" is going to be a one-way street.