When a much-praised reporter for the New York Times was found to have plagiarized and fabricated several reports, the newspaper that still holds a position in the public imagination as being “a paper of record” created its public editor position. The public editor is meant to be a visible face for journalistic ethics, a person who regularly criticized his employer for bias, editorializing the news, and other ethical slips.
Wednesday, the New York Times terminated its contract with Public Editor Liz Spayd for what National Review‘s Kyle Smith calls “resisting the Resistance.” For the foreseeable future, any public editing will be handled by the public in the comment section, about which Alan Jacobs tweeted:
I don’t think the
@nytimes really plans to turn itself into a trollocracy; enabling comments is make-believe “listening to our readers.”
Smith offers several examples of fair-minded comments from Spayd, saying she “did her best to be even-handed in the eleven months she held the job. The angry Left could not forgive this.”
In a column entitled “Why Readers See the Times as Liberal,” she noted that many a liberal and centrist acolyte of the Times told her that they were seeking other outlets for balance. “A paper whose journalism appeals to only half the country has a dangerously severed public mission,” she said. That such a statement is now considered “controversial” does not reflect well on the media.
But maybe the Times doesn’t see a need for a public editor. Maybe it recognizes its innate fairness in every report it prints. I mean, look at the state of journalism today. These guys stick to the facts.
Huffington Post South Africa was fine with an April 13 article arguing white men should be denied the right to vote, but when they could not contact the author and subsequently found no evidence of her existence, they pulled the article and an editorial defending it.
The blogger wrote that her argument “may seem unfair and unjust,” but “allowing white males to continue to call the shots politically and economically, following their actions over the past 500 years, is the greater injustice.”
HuffPo South Africa’s editor in chief, Verashni Pillay, supported this idea. “Those who have held undue power granted to them by patriarchy must lose it for us to be truly equal. This seems blindingly obvious to us.”
But when the supposed author of the piece went unverified, the whole argument fell apart. I’d like to say this is another example of how liberalism undermines itself, calling for the benefits of the virtues it works against, but that bit of sense seems absent here. This is simply nonsense.
Publishers Weekly asks, “Is Book Publishing Too Liberal?” They talk to several anonymous industry people about it–anonymous people. Doesn’t that strongly allege the answer to their answer is yes?
“Politics is a dangerous thing to be candid about,” said one agent, who has worked with conservative authors. “It’s now acceptable to ban speech on college campuses; this is the world we live in.”
Marji Ross of Regnery Publishing says many conservative authors are dismissed by mainstream publishers or treated contemptuously. An unnamed literary agent said you can tell the industry is too liberal by the mere fact that you have a few “conservative” imprints and no “liberal” imprints. Liberal ideas are treated as normal and published through the majority channels. (via Trevin Wax)
Conservatives are often accused by liberals of having a “civil religion,” of getting our Christianity confused with our patriotism.
It’s a fair cop. I’m sure I do that, and I’m pretty sure I do it more than I’m aware.
But liberals have a civil religion too, and I have an idea very few of them recognize it at all.
Like the conservative kind, Liberal Civil Religion (LCR) is a denatured form of Christianity. It goes like this:
There’s Original Sin. In LCR, original sin is privilege. “White Privilege” is the fashionable variety right now, but liberals have always been ashamed of privilege of one kind or another. Being a citizen of a prosperous, free country is the pretty much the worst kind of privilege. Since liberals believe in a zero-sum world (if you have $2.00 and I have $1.00, you must have stolen fifty cents from me), all our freedom and all our wealth must have been torn from the poor. We are thieves and parasites.
There’s Penance. Penance takes the form of voting for Democrats (or Socialists, if you’re really a saint) and supporting policies which we suspect will hurt ourselves and our families. We deserve it.
There are Indulgences. Indulgences are paid in the form of high taxes. We may know that government programs are by nature inefficient and even counterproductive ways to help the less fortunate. But helping them isn’t the point. The point is making ourselves suffer. The pain provides a momentary, fleeting sense of expiation.
And what about grace?
There is no grace in LCR. The guilt goes on and on forever.
If grace were offered, how would people be persuaded to do perpetual penance?
I have a vague idea I may have written on this subject here before. But the scenario looks even more likely to me today than it did then (whenever that was).
I consider it highly probable that the mainline Protestant churches will convert, en masse, to Islam. Very likely within my lifetime.
Here’s my reasoning. Continue reading Imminent Islam
I have a piece in The American Spectator Online today:
The liberals’ moral GPS tells them that their present location is right outside the gates of Eden. They’re still wearing their fig leaf aprons (they believe) and just a couple steps back in the right direction will return them to Paradise. How could anyone be against that?
In their view, the problem is simple, like a crossword puzzle. Fill in all the spaces correctly, and Paradise is regained. The fact that the goal is never achieved in practice, that more and more spaces keep appearing, needing new laws written to fill them, does not trouble them. Next time it will be different. We’re almost there. We can see Eden from our front porches.
Read it all here.
I shared this idea on Facebook today. I’ll elaborate it here.
I had an epiphany today. I figured out what I think is the essential problem with liberalism in our time. They believe in an outmoded form of science, a pseudoscientific myth.
Think of one of our president’s favorite phrases: “My opponents are on the wrong side of history.”
Think about it. What does it mean to be on the wrong side of history? How can history have sides?
It can only have sides if you believe there is some overarching inevitability to the course of history. It’s understandable for Christians to think that way. We’re supernaturalists. We believe a Mind is in control. That’s how our world-view works.
But how can secularists believe that history has an inevitable course, a right and a wrong side?
It can only come from a myth, a belief in some kind of driving force behind the course of events, even if it’s seen as somehow non-supernatural.
In the 19th Century there was a common belief in Progress. You may think of the 19th Century as an age of faith, but it was also an age in which the driving, dynamic new world view was Darwinian. The problem was that even the scientists of the time generally didn’t understand how evolution works.
(I don’t propose to debate the evolution question here. I’m talking in terms of social myths and common assumptions.)
The kind of Evolution that was popularized by writers like H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw was purposeful. Nature – in some way – was striving to perfect itself. Everything it did was an attempt to come closer to the perfection that waited at the end. History had an inevitable course. This is implicit in Marx. He firmly believed he was writing science. Because it was science, anyone who disagreed had to be insane. Continue reading Conservatism is scientific
A PASTORAL LETTER
From Bishop Judith Hardanger-Hansen
There has been considerable dissension in our fellowship recently, and a number of hard words have been spoken, causing much pain. I feel it my obligation to address the matter directly, exercising openmindedness and charity, both to the enlightened, Christ-like people who agree with me, and the knuckle-dragging Nazis on the other side.
From its inception, the Merry Pride movement has been like the wind of the Holy Spirit, breathing new life and new ideas into the church. Sadly, however, some people do not welcome change, and run from the challenges of a new day.
In case anyone reading this is unaware of recent history (home-schooled people, perhaps), the term “Merry” was adopted by the oppressed group formerly known as “adulterers,” employing a pun on the word “marry,” to give their lifestyle a more positive public face. They felt it intolerable to be forced to live any longer with a name that bore the weight of centuries of misunderstanding, prejudice, and oppression. Continue reading Pastoral letter from the future