Hell’s Bible (aka NY Times) Editor: “We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives.”

Via Ave Maria Radio:


In an interview with WNYC’s “Fresh Air” The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet admits his newspaper knows nothing about religion or the role it plays in people’s lives.

I want to make sure that we are much more creative about beats out in the country so that we understand that anger and disconnectedness that people feel. And I think I use religion as an example because I was raised Catholic in New Orleans. I think that the New York-based and Washington-based too probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she’s all alone. We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives. And I think we can do much, much better. And I think there are things that we can be more creative about to understand the country.

This admission will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever attended a church service once in his or her life and read basically anything the NYT has published about religion. The newspaper has a long-running history of really bad screw-ups. For example, the newspaper of record apparently thought Christians think Christ’s body is still buried.

Read more at TheFederalist.com…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. gracie says:

    Soon they’ll be sending out teams of anthropologists to study us in our native habitat.

  2. Benedict Joseph says:

    Given current events in our Church, I’m fairly sure there are not a small number of religious, clergy and ecclesiastics of every rank who do not understand the role faith in lives of the laity. It is painful to observe the hubris of a class of people, entrusted to pastor the faithful, who work out of psychology/sociology texts while sporting the veneer of “religion.”
    I have come to the conclusion that a vast swath of the clergy class simply do not believe in the content of the Faith — at all. At all, not just certain facets of the Magistertium. None of it.

  3. bombcar says:

    Those anthropologists best watch out – they might convert!

  4. un-ionized says:

    Benedict Joseph, that appears to be the case in some places I’ve been. Sometimes they even pretend to believe so they can keep their lifetime job from which they can’t be fired and in which they will be taken care of for the rest of their lives, and then something happens to make you realize they don’t believe at all.

  5. WesleyD says:

    “We have a fabulous religion writer, but she’s all alone.”

    He means Laurie Goodstein. If he thinks she’s a fabulous religion reporter, then that’s part of the problem. She tends to get her facts right most of the time, but she wears her biases on her sleeve.

  6. Aquinas Gal says:

    Sad that he’s a fallen-away Catholic. I pray he’ll return to the Church.

  7. benedetta says:

    That all sounds just so very unfrozen cave man lawyer, doesn’t it?

  8. Mojoron says:

    What are all these intellectual morons ex-catholics?

  9. Curley says:

    Ross Douthat seems to know Catholicism pretty well. Maybe not the way the NYT likes, though.

  10. Edprocoat says:

    I thought these people know it all ? The last sentence in the piece above they got sort of right, Christ’s body in a way is buried in the hearts, minds and souls of Christians. Not to say we do not know and believe He is Risen, but we keep him deep in our minds and our hearts and hopefully in our souls as well.

  11. iprimap says:

    The NY Times – in fact, most of the main stream news media – is as ignorant of real science and real history as it is of religion.
    I am a 40 plus year nuclear energy professional and a former worker at the Indian Point 3 nuclear power plant just 30 miles north of where the staff of the NY Times sits. Not once could the NY Times get its news reporting of what happens at the Indian Point Energy center correct. NOT ONCE. It’s not just religion that these liberal progressive feminist eco-wackoes get wrong. They get just about everything else wrong. They do not unerstand reality. Am I harsh? Well, reality is harsh and that’s a fact.
    Sorry for the rant.

  12. Huber says:

    Don’t believe in religion? They print the liberal missal!

    It seems the ignorant folk at the NYT don’t realize that secular liberalism is their religion, and the gods they worship at the altars of environmentalism and globalism are themselves.

  13. un-ionized says:

    They do not know about science like biology or chemistry or any kind of technology, especially such as nuclear power generation which scares them, except maybe some computer technology. I’m sure they love their little blinky fones that everyone seems to have (except me, still living a copper twisted pair life).

  14. Absit invidia says:

    Well, I guess the feeling is mutual, we don’t understand paganism. But perhaps the problem isn’t with the editor but rather his explanation of religion from all the flapdoodle midernists out there secularizing it trying to make religion into a “church if nice” instead of explaining it as the meaning and purpose of life.

  15. WesleyD says:

    Curley, I agree that Douthat has written many excellent pieces about Catholicism. But I think the folks at the NYT are assessing the coverage of religion in their news section, not in their opinion sectinon — and Douthat writes for the latter.

  16. Orlando says:

    NYTimes, here is a crazy idea…move your news devision out of NYC. Come South and you’ll experience first hand how religion is the most important factor in many of our lives.

  17. James in Perth says:

    I suppose this a step in the right direction. Too many years ago to remember now, I wrote to the NPR Ombudsman making the exact same point. As a result NPR did remove a reference to Dominic Crossan as “Father,” an honorific he does not even claim for himself.

    I protested further that NPR did not seem to understand religion from the believer’s perspective but the Ombudsman assured me that they did.

    It has been painful to watch people who are reasonably intelligent so unaware of their ignorance on a particular topic. That said, they occasionally do a good job so long as they stay away from anything controversial or theological.

  18. Sonshine135 says:

    I agree with Orlando. I have said many times that in media and elsewhere, people outside of New York and other large metropolitan areas are viewed as hokey, backwoods, and red necks. This characterization now extends to anyone that has to go home and has to go visit the “backwards parents and siblings”. The funny thing is that most of America is “backwards”. It was once said that people need to get out of their tiny towns and travel more to gain a broader understanding of people. While that is still true, I contend that people need to leave the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City snow globes and come spend some time with people who do not share your world view. Perhaps if they saw a farmer’s or rancher’s livelihood depended on his prayers for rain, they may understand the importance of religion and faith. Perhaps if they saw a Mother and Father struggling to put food on the table, they would understand the importance of religion and faith. Perhaps if they saw a parent struggling with a drug-addicted child, they would know why religion and faith are important. While they are concerned with allowing men in the ladies room and replacing pictures of Shakespeare with a little-known black poet, these are the things everyday Americans, and dare I say, everyday people throughout the world, care about.

  19. benedetta says:

    Haha what Huber said…the true believers! So true…

  20. donato2 says:

    Religion can never be understood in the absence of faith.

  21. The Masked Chicken says:

    The NYT editor wrote:

    “I want to make sure that we are much more creative about beats out in the country so that we understand that anger and disconnectedness that people feel. ”

    This is not just about religion. The editor is using religion as an example. He claims, in a more general sense, that they don’t understand, “the deplorables,” but what he is really subtly admitting to by this statement is not their lack of understanding of the anger and disconnectedness that the deplorables feel, but, rather, the anger and disconnectedness that the NYT feels when they try to think about the deplorables. This is easy to explain: they have adopted an attitude of superiority, the high-ground of truth. They do not realize that they live in an echo chamber of their own thoughts and attitudes. What they can’t do is listen to others. They can only tell others what they think. Until the NYT comes to realize that they do not possess truth, they will never be open to really looking at the poor peons from the other side of Wall Street. We see this not just in religion, but ANY area where objective truth exists. They don’t get science; they don’t get theology; they don’t get suffering (for there is truth in suffering). They live in the world of the unconstrained artist, who has no one, no truths beyond themselves to answer to. They have, yet, to learn that the best art is art mated to the way things are, that the best art is constrained to truth.

    This is symptomatic of a profound retreat from truth that is occurring in the Western World, today. This is happening because, well, essentially, because of what I call the development of a psychology of ease. Largely because of the false presentation of psychological progress, suffering has come to be viewed forever and always as an enemy to be avoided at best or overcome at worst. The West has lost all understanding of the value in suffering. How, then, could it ever hope to understand Christ, because at the center of Christ’s mission is the Cross? The modern West has become like the people who stuck a reed holding a sponge filled with the drug of ease (yes, myrrh is an intoxicant) to the lips of Christ to try to render him insensate to the reality of life, of the Cross, that He needs must suffer on that day and that hour. What is the West, anymore, but a cesspool for pleasure, for the intoxicant? Even in the Church we see this. The NO Mass, if anything, is a Mass contaminated with ease, with the easy, with the sponge-filled myrrh of sensations, of activity, instead of the burning myrrh in the thurible, which is the incense of suffering rising up in glory to God.

    The NYT does not understand, not religion, but suffering – any suffering – that must happen in the pursuit of truth, be it moral truth, scientific truth, historical truth, or social truth. They experience suffering – everybody does – but they have no idea of its purpose. They cannot see the profound connection between suffering and truth, between the Cross and love. I suggest that if the editor wants to really understand religion that he spend some time among the truly poor, the helpless, so that, maybe, just maybe, he will understand why it it to such as they that the Good News is preached.

    Carl Sagan, in an interview with Charlie Rose during Sagan’s long battle with cancer, asked how he could understand the joy of people going through such suffering. Rose looked at him and said, “Faith, Carl, Faith.” I suppose that is as good an answer to give the NYT editor as any – Faith, my good sir, Faith.

    The Chicken

  22. “out in the country…”

    A start would be to cease referring to your own country as if it were across an international frontier.

    (And, to be clear, there’s no way he meant, “out in the country,” in the sense of getting in your car and driving out to where there are farms. I’ve heard this phrase before, always from folks on the eastward fringe of the continental U.S. — i.e., New York and Washington. It means, out in…that place, of which we are nominally a part.)

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