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The New York Times as a religion

Catholic World News - June 03, 2011

"In my house growing up,” says the newly appointed editor of the New York Times, “the Times substituted for religion. If the Times said it, it was the absolute truth.”

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal takes that remarkable quotation as the basis for his argument that the Times is now acting like a corrupt religious institution, unwilling to admit error and zealous of protecting its own institutional prerogatives.

But there is another, more obvious lesson to draw from the editor’s attitude. If there is no other authority, no other standard by which the truth can be judged—indeed, if there is no recognition of absolute truth—then a society’s most powerful institutions can act without restraint. Might makes right, propaganda substitutes for objective standards of judgment, and there’s no real reason why the Times can’t mold public opinion to fit its own editorial preferences.

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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: impossible - Jun. 07, 2011 2:32 PM ET USA

    Their religion has a name. It's secular humanism. They love freedom of the press - at least freedom for the liberal media, but they regularly in various ways attack freedom of religion.

  • Posted by: Saved by Grace - Jun. 05, 2011 7:28 AM ET USA

    The American Civil Religion as a false religion has to be led by someone. Might as well be the NYT. Could be Washington Post, MSNBC, CNN or Fox News or the most popular news blog on the internet -- depending on your denomination!

  • Posted by: phil L - Jun. 04, 2011 7:50 AM ET USA

    HKS, the source of that quote is: the New York Times! http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/a/jill_abramson/index.html

  • Posted by: unum - Jun. 04, 2011 6:31 AM ET USA

    Might makes right, propaganda substitutes for objective standards of judgment, and there’s no real reason why the Times can’t mold public opinion to fit its own editorial preferences. Hmmmm, this comment brings to mind the John Jay report and the Church spin on the non-findings regarding the active homosexuals in the clergy.

  • Posted by: HKS - Jun. 03, 2011 10:08 PM ET USA

    We'd like to know the source the statement:"The Times substituted for religion." We heard an interview on PBS with Jim Lehrer and she did not make that particular statement.It makes a big difference!

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