N.Y. Times Obit: Weyrich Was 'One of the Far Right's Most Unbending Ideologues'

Even in death, the New York Times often can’t really be generous to conservatives. The paper’s obituary for Paul Weyrich, penned by Bruce Weber, identified the deceased as conservative or referenced conservatism 17 times (once in a nice quote from James Dobson). That doesn’t count the headline "Paul Weyrich, 66, A Conservative Strategist, Dies." What really stands out are the two ultra-conservative tags:

A writer, a lobbyist and an organizer on behalf of conservative causes and especially social conservatism, Mr. Weyrich (pronounced WY-rick) was one of the far right’s most unbending ideologues. He was widely credited with coining the phrase "moral majority" as a rallying label for social conservatives. It became the name of the religion-based political organization that was led by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

A deacon in the ultra-conservative Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Mr. Weyrich openly fused his faith and his politics.

From what I know of it, the Melkite church does take pride in orthodoxy. But can anyone imagine the Times in an obituary describing someone’s membership in the "ultraliberal Unitarian Universalist church" or the "ultraliberal United Church of Christ"?

By contrast, when the ultraliberal (or just plain socialist) economist John Kenneth Galbraith died a few years back, the Times in a long eulogy to his elegant greatness only used a liberal label or references to liberalism seven times (once in a quote). The headline had no label: "John Kenneth Galbraith, 97, Dies; Economist Held a Mirror to Society." Conservatives are myopic, but liberals "hold a mirror to society." The fiercest label was "unapologetically liberal."

Holcomb Noble and Douglas Martin even sermonized for liberalism in the Galbraith obit, even if liberalism seemed quaint in the Bush era: "His sweeping ideas, which might have gained even greater traction had he developed disciples willing and able to prove them with mathematical models, came to strike some as almost quaint in today's harsh, interconnected world where corporations devour one another for breakfast."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis