Posts tagged: The Washington Post

The MSM’s Puppet Show on Mormonism

By , January 31, 2012 9:35 am

So, on the day of the Florida Primary, the New York Times decided to scare the bejiggers out of the voters with a piece titled, What is it About Mormons?, which followed close on the heels of yesterday’s Washington Post op-ed piece, A Mormon church in need of reform. Can the nation’s other great papers be far behind?

The first question that comes to the mind of this Mormon is whether the rest of the reporting in these two papers is so ill-informed and/or bitter as these pieces are. And then other questions: Why today? Is it a coincidence that the Times piece came out today, the day of the Florida Primary? Why Sally Denton? Yes, she wrote a very bad book about a very bad event–a tragedy–in Mormon history, but it was a very bad, even a lousy, book, so why her? (By the way, if you’re interested in knowing how bad her book is go here and follow the links to the reviews by people who actually do know something about the Mountain Meadows Massacre.) And the really big question, why not have a Times reporter write the story? I’m assuming that the paper of record holds its actual reporters to a higher standard than it does the hacks it let write this piece (Maffly-Kip and Reiss excepted). Or put another way, do these women appreciate playing the role of the puppets in this show?

I’m not going to try and respond to either piece here. I will, however, refer the reader to sites that give a more accurate picture of Mormonism, starting with the Church’s two official sites, then the leading scholarly site and the most prominent apologetics site. All of them give a clearer picture of Mormonism than do either of these two pieces–again the Reiss and Maffly offerings excepted. Finally, here is my own guide to anti-Mormon writing, a response to Martha Nibley Beck’s horrible little tome of a few years ago, a response that deals with many of the same defects you’ll find in the Times and Post pieces.

Steven Hawking’s “god” May Not Exist. Mine Does.

By , May 18, 2011 9:20 am

After reading many, many arguments for rejecting faith in God–including some posted today in The Washington Post’s “On Belief” section–I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m safe in my belief. That is, I’ve yet to read any such argument that even begins to touch the pillars of my belief system, the pillars of my faith. Instead, doubters and the faithless, hack away at a straw man religious faith that is always foreign to me, so foreign, in fact, that I often find myself agreeing with the critic.

The Men (Women and Children) Behind the Curtain

By , April 11, 2011 8:10 am

Or as Pogo might say,

Today in The Washington Post,
Robert Samuelson writes,

We in America have [elected a] suicidal [president]; the threatened federal shutdown and stubborn budget deficits are but symptoms. By suicidal, I mean that [president] has promised more than [he] can realistically deliver and, as a result, repeatedly disappoints by providing less than people expect or jeopardizing what they already have.

Okay, so I changed a few things, the word president for the word government, for example. Or the word elected for the word created. But Samuelson could have written what I’ve posted and still have been right. Right?

Anyway, he actually says that our suicidal government is so in part because

[We] depend on it for so much that any effort to change the status arouses a firestorm of opposition that virtually ensures defeat.

Why is that? Surprise of surprises, because

The Census Bureau reports that in 2009 almost half (46.2 percent) of the 300 million Americans received at least one federal benefit: 46.5 million, Social Security; 42.6 million, Medicare; 42.4 million, Medicaid; 36.1 million, food stamps; 3.2 million, veterans’ benefits; 12.4 million, housing subsidies. The census list doesn’t include tax breaks. Counting those, perhaps three-quarters or more of Americans receive some sizable government benefit. For example, about 22 percent of taxpayers benefit from the home mortgage interest deduction and 43 percent from the preferential treatment of employer-provided health insurance, says the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Kind of makes you lose hope that things are going to change.

Government Shutdown Part Deux?

By , April 11, 2011 7:49 am

Over at The Washington Post, Ted Toles nails it.

Is Marriage Obsolete?

By , March 27, 2011 12:50 pm

So asks Sally Quinn in The Washington Post’s “On Faith” section. The short answer is, of course, no. The longer, much more enlightening answer is here.

Mormonism’s Moment?

By , February 10, 2011 8:58 am

Is the time ripe for a Mormon to be President, or will religion get in Mitt Romney’s or Jon Huntsman Jr.’s way? Sally Quinn asks the question in On Belief, her religious bailiwick at The Washington Post. Eight panelists, including the likes of Barry Lynn who writes,

There really is only one question that needs to be answered: can you faithfully execute the laws of the United States or is there some religious view you hold that you believe transcends that duty?

Which begs the question: Would he, or anyone else, accept the answer, “Yes, I can,” and move on? Or would that question actually be an open door through which the inquisitor would parade his even deeper-held beliefs that “there ain’t no way a Mormon President won’t do the bidding of his (or her) hierarchical superiors in Salt Lake!”

I’ll be back for further comment on this subject.

Where’s Waldo? Looking for Religion in The Times and The Post

By , January 16, 2011 7:39 pm

I’ve always wondered why the front page of The New York Times has no hyperlink to Religion in its online edition. There’s a link to U.S. and N.Y./Region, to Technology and Sports, to Science, Business, Arts, and Sports, among others, but Religion? Apparently not important enough or big enough for a link of its own.

What about The Washington Post? I wondered. Sally Quinn used to edit a section or department called something like On Faith, I remembered, largely because I recalled reading a panel discussion where she betrayed an almost total–maybe it was total–lack of knowledge about Mormonism, my faith. In fact, the only knowledge she had came from Martha Beck’s horrible little book Leaving the Saints. So I check out The Post, and to my surprise, there is a hyperlink to a Religion section on the front page. The link leads to On Faith. Sally Quinn lives!

Of course, even The Times covers religion, where the practice seems to be to cover the subject by region of the World. For instance, The Vatican Welcomes First Anglicans appears in a subsection devoted to Europe, Egypt Sentences Muslim appears in the subsection Middle East.

But The Post’s, approach is more deliberate and gives the impression that the paper takes religion more seriously. That said, Sally Quinn is in charge, so the religion of choice is often the United Church of Perpetual Palin Bashing (the comment at 8:48 PM on January 16 is priceless, reminding me of James Taranto’s Two Papers in One nuggets in Best of Web, which always seems to catch one section of The Times contradicting the other).

Anyway, unless I missed something, The New York Times, its failure to give religion its own section or department is an important and telling omission. Not that The Times ignores the subject. But hey, religion and belief (or non-belief) are a major part of our culture. In contrast, The Washington Post at least has a section devoted to religion and faith. Does the difference matter? Is the difference more than skin deep? I hope to answer these and other questions over the next few weeks.

Next Sunday, I’ll sample the writing on the subject of religion in each paper to see if The Times can redeem itself.

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