walter russell mead peter berger lilia shevtsova adam garfinkle andrew a. michta
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Grey Lady on Rotherham: Your Bias Is Showing

Ever since the story about the horrific and widespread sex abuse in Rotherham broke, pundits have scrambled for an explanation as to how crimes on that scale could continue unchecked for so long. Yesterday the NYT released a story on Rotherham that at least reached for an explanation. But though the NYT notes both the ethnicity of the abusers and British officials’ “fear of being accused of racism,” as Dawn Eden points out on the Get Religion site, the article conspicuously fails to mention religion:

To anyone who has been following the Rotherham story in other media outlets, especially the British press, what is striking about the Times story is not what it says, but rather what it doesn’t say. Nowhere does it mention what for many other mainstream news reports is the key issue: the investigation traced the local government officials’ inaction primarily to fears of offending the Muslim community.  [...]

The religion angle is completely absent from the Times article. In other words, we have here a classic religion ghost.

To understand how crazy this is, think about how the NYT would have covered this story if a ring of Catholic priests had been responsible—or even Catholics otherwise involved in the church. Not only would the story mention the religious angle, but we would see a slew of op-eds condemning Christian theology itself for creating the abuse and calling for changes to that theology. This is a clear sign of bias, albeit not necessarily conscious or malicious, at work. The NYT is so wrapped in its own ideology that its readers don’t get the straight story.

This story points to the problem of Muslim integration in Europe (and elsewhere). Policy elites have authorized mass immigration without much public discussion or consent, and the cultures and values aren’t mixing well (exacerbated by horrible economic problems in much of Europe, thanks also to the elite’s euro fiasco). These factors combine to create a potentially explosive situation on the ground. Readers of the Times won’t understand this very well and will miss one of the key issues driving European, and therefore world, politics.

We all have biases and predispositions. Professionalism is about making sure that we hold these in check and question our assumptions. The problem with the NYT revealed here isn’t that the paper has some biases. Rather, it’s that, in this case at least, it has failed its readers by suppressing important news.

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  • S.C. Schwarz

    You are much too kind to the Times. They know exactly what they are doing. They have an agenda and not one word appears in the Times that does not advance that agenda.

    • Stephen W. Houghton

      Yes as the old saying goes, “all the news that fits the tint.”

      • teapartydoc

        Pink, no red.

    • http://airmanjacobson.com/ get2djnow

      “All the news that fits, we print.”

  • Andrew Allison

    It must be said the The Feed’s reporting on the anti-Israeli demonstrations in Europe suffered from the same problem. As I wrote previously, the percentage of the population opposed to Israel almost exactly matches the percentage of Muslims in those countries. It seems blindingly obvious that they are Muslims first and foremost.

  • Boritz

    “The problem with the NYT revealed here isn’t that the paper has some biases. Rather, it’s that, in this case at least, it has failed its readers by suppressing important news.”

    I don’t understand this statement. &nbspIsn’t the suppression a direct result of the bias even if you buy the explanation that this was all quite unintentional? &nbspIf you have a problem with the suppression you should have a problem with the bias. &nbspAnd what will be the reaction when the NYT is confronted with their bias? &nbspThey will likely deny there is a problem or even more likely you will be greeted with the sound of crickets.

  • George Von Herman

    whenever these issues come up , i think the question people should ask is “why trust anything else they say?”

  • Kevin

    Maybe my expectations of the NYT are too low but I was surprised they even mentioned that the perpetrators were Pakistani rather than “Asians” or even just “men from the north of England”.

    • teapartydoc

      Calling these rapist dudes from the subcontinent “Asian” is pretty insulting to Asians.

  • Fat_Man

    I agree with all of the previous commentors here.

  • http://www.syalconsult.com Verinder Syal

    “The problem with the NYT revealed here isn’t that the paper has some biases. Rather, it’s that, in this case at least, it has failed its readers by suppressing important news.” In this case???? Good heavens they have been editing news to their view of the world forever. 20 years ago there were few sources to double check them. Now their biases, evasions, and political correctness is obvious to see. But they do not care. They are appealing to a particular group of people. They are not providing news, they are providing editorial commentary in their ill disguised role as the organ of the left wing of the Democratic party.

  • bittman

    The NYT consistently omits key facts in stories (the simplest example is the omission of the party when a Democrat has done something illegal or covering the party in the last sentence of the article–compared to identifying the party in the first sentence or headline when a Republican does a similar action). It also refuses to cover stories counter to the facts the Progressives want Americans to know. Specific examples include the scarcity of facts involving the real impact of Obamacare on Americans. As early as June 2010, the Administration was indicating in the Federal Register that massive numbers of Americans would lose their existing healthcare plans. They insisted Benghazi was a non-story. They limit the coverage of the Congressional investigation of the IRS’s abuse of Conservative and Jewish Americans by both omission and slanting articles. The NYT serves as Pravda for the Progressives.

  • RickCaird

    The NYT has long since given up on being a newspaper. It is settling for being a partisan rag. Then they wonder why circulation is down.

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