NY Times Buries Eric Holder Meeting with Journalists, Puts Liberal Priest/Sex Novelist Obit on Page One

The New York Times may have rebuffed Attorney General Eric Holder’s off-the-record meeting with journalists about leak investigations, but they displayed how they really weren’t angry by burying an actual account of that meeting inside Friday’s paper, while the front page carried stories like “A New Step in Wrestling With the Bra.”

Perhaps the most surprising judgment of what was front page-worthy was an obituary for Father Andrew Greeley, as if he were the Cardinal of Chicago. The Washington Post summed him up well: “an iconoclastic priest and sociologist who irked the Catholic hierarchy by writing best-selling novels that featured churchly misdeeds and graphic sex.” He was also a liberal newspaper columnist. Greeley's “New Deal liberalism” equals newsworthy?

Liberal New York Times religion reporter Peter Steinfels – whose wife Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a long-standing editor for the liberal-Catholic magazine Commonweal – tried to make Greeley sound like a more profound cultural influence. He was “the Roman Catholic priest and writer whose outpouring of sociological research, contemporary theology, sexually frank novels and newspaper columns challenged reigning assumptions about American Catholicism.”

“Challenging reigning assumptions” is liberal code for “gave the Catholic Church hell on behalf of secular progressives like The New York Times.” Steinfels added:

Exuberantly combative, he could be scathing about the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops; at one point he described them as “morally, intellectually and religiously bankrupt.” If the church wanted “to salvage American Catholicism,” he wrote, it would be well advised to retire “a considerable number of mitered birdbrains.”

That sounds just like self-described “collapsed Catholics” like former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller, who has compared the Vatican to the Kremlin.

In The Washington Post, one old Greeley sentence really appealed to obituary writer Joe Holley:

In his 1986 memoir, “Confessions of a Parish Priest,” Father Greeley wrote: “I suspect Catholic historians of the future will describe the Church’s obsession with sex and particularly with an attempt to deny the pleasures of sex to married men and women as a chapter in our history comparable to the Inquisition and the Crusades.”

That ridiculous line comparing a moral instruction against condoms or birth control pills as comparable to torture and religious war was pulled out and bolded in the Post.

Holley loved how Greeley fought the powers in the Church on behalf of a “new breed” of dissenters, and like all church liberals, claim only to believe in “open dialogue” but want to change everything to a permanent orthodoxy of liberalism:

They believed, Greeley wrote in the liberal magazine America, that “all issues, minor or major, must be brought into the open and discussed....They are appalled when their honesty is taken as disrespect and their desire to discuss is understood as disobedience.”

They could try reading this sentence and putting the liberal media in the place of the Vatican. Liberal editors and TV producers don’t want to have a dialogue with conservatives, and their dissent is unwelcome.

Greeley was best known to TV news junkies as NBC’s appointed expert on Catholics and the Pope, where he would deliver comforting liberal attacks. He told Today co-host Giselle Fernandez on October 7, 1995 as Pope John Paul II visited America: "The Pope has come to the United States when it's in a very mean-spirited period when it's bashing immigrants, bashing poor people, bashing minorities. And the Pope has come to say `Hey, stop that!' He isn't talking about specific legislative measures, but he's certainly addressing himself to the spirit that elected and sustains the Gingrich-Dole Congress."

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