Which is more offensive: A comic strip dealing with Easter which uses the device of a menorah giving way to an empty tomb, or a front page story, published during Passover, that argues that the account of Exodus is a myth?
This column, my first for WorldNetDaily, introduces a topic I will be obliged to return to time and time again: The intellectual corruption and effortless effrontery of the Los Angeles Times. We who live in the Golden State have grown very used to the outrages of what has become a Democratic tip sheet, but readers across the country deserve fair warning that when the search engine takes you to the paper’s website (the worst organized site among the “leading” papers) you should put your shields on full power: What you are about to read at latimes.com could and usually will mislead you.
This is the paper that censored a George Will reference to Juanita Broaddrick and which carried a report from a White House correspondent which falsely argued that Evangelical Christians were upset with President George W. Bush’s courtship of Catholics. The former was reflexive Clinton-covering, the latter evidence of the paper’s deep desire to split the growing Evangelical-Catholic coalition. But the Times was merely warming up its engines of one-sided agenda journalism. Those engines hit full power during Passover-Easter weekend.
Click to view full size version of Johnny Hart’s ‘B.C.’ cartoon for Easter 2001.
First, the Times announced it was dropping “B.C.,” a comic strip the paper had carried for 33 years. The stone-age characters featured in Johnny Hart’s creation have been entertaining readers without objection except for Hart’s occasional strip that featured his devout Christian beliefs. The strip appears in 1,300 publications, but readers of the Times are no longer part of Hart’s audience. The paper has concluded that Hart, like George Will, is just not what its readers need.
Hart is definitely a Christian of the evangelical variety, and his recent Easter strip sparked controversy over its use of a flickering menorah giving way to an empty tomb. Some papers dropped that one cartoon in a wrongheaded genuflection to political correctness (Hart insists he intended no slam at Jews) but the L.A. Times went farther, dropping the strip entirely — and for good. Laughably the Times reported its own spokesperson as saying that “[w]e made this decision a few weeks ago. It was a broad decision based on a lot of factors.” Sure it was. Perhaps the strip was too popular.
Or perhaps one of the factors is fear on the management’s part that carrying Hart would give off the wrong impression that the paper cared about people of faith. Continuing to run Hart certainly would not be consistent with the paper’s other big Passover-Easter editorial decision, which appeared on Friday, April 13, on the front page.
Teresa Watanabe’s long piece on that day was an above-the-fold brick through the window of Passover-observing Jews. In a story the timing of which carried all the subtle messages of the Yom Kippur War, the Times rolled out thousands of words that included the declaration that “the scholarly consensus” on Exodus is that the whole Moses thing is “a brilliant mix of myth, cultural memories and kernels of historical truth.” The Times even found one Rabbi of thousands available by phone to declare that the “truth is that virtually every modern archeologist who has investigated the story of Exodus, with very few exceptions, agrees that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way it happened, if it happened at all.” One can just hear the Passover ritual that night: “Father, why are we doing this since the front page says its all baloney anyway?” Isn’t this a paper that routinely urges new hate-crime legislation upon us?
Look. There is a reason that the Times got clobbered by the Orange County Register in the suburbs south of the City of Angels and why the L.A. Daily News is bleeding it in the suburbs around the central city: The L.A. Times is relentlessly hostile to the values of the people it hopes to sell newspapers to. The contempt the reporters, editors and columnists feel for the majoritarian tastes of its middle-class and upper-middle-class readers drips from every issue.
Recently the Times stocked up on its opinion journalists by adding two names to its columnist ranks: Peter King and John Balzar. Both are predictably leftist, although King can write, and there is no evidence thus far that Balzar can. Neither writer advances the cause of adding readers since the socialist left is already pretty well locked in by Bob Scheer, and the Democrats already had Sacramento columnist George Skelton to call their own. To attract center-right readers, or non-political people of faith, well, the Times did nothing. Again.
Many had hoped that when The Tribune Company bought the paper from the Chandler family, the sound of grinding teeth associated with failed social engineers everywhere would finally abate at the paper. We actually thought the Chicago suits would want to sell papers. We were wrong. The agenda-journalists are still in place, and the signs point to still more circulation deterioration. After all, readers don’t like to be insulted. As one letter-writer put it (how many were sent was not reported): “Thank you for your article questioning the historical basis of Exodus which you chose to run during Passover. I look forward to seeing more front-page stories debunking the cherished myths of other major world religions on their holiest days.” The writer, Michael Lubic, was identified as living in Pasadena.
Michael, you and thousands of other Times subscribers should know that the New York Times delivers. You don’t have to stay loyal to a paper that routinely spits in your eye!