Times Picture Worth 1,000 Words of Bias
By Don Feder
Friday February 27, 2009

The New York Times ran a picture in yesterday’s paper that’s a classic illustration of how to slant the news with a carefully staged photograph.

The photo took up a quarter page of the paper’s A section, and was meant to depict the observance of Ash Wednesday in New York City. There was no accompanying story.

Taken at the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, near Battery Park in lower Manhattan (and shot from above), the photo shows a priest giving ashes to a woman. No one is in line behind her.

Our friends at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights determined that literally thousands showed up at the Shrine to receive ashes.

It also learned that the Times photographer was there when the church was packed — but waited until it was almost empty to take what can only be described as a carefully staged photograph.

The League asks rhetorically: “Why did The New York Times deliberately choose this photo? And why did it give it such prominence? To be honest, we’re really not wondering at all: We know exactly what the newspaper is up to.”

We do too. With this photo, The Times sent an unmistakable message to readers: Traditional religion — in this case the observance of an important ritual of the Catholic Church — is dying.

Like others on the left, The New York Times is relentless in its attacks on religion, seeking to persuade us that these faith-communities are bastions of bigotry, hypocrisy, repression and superstition — hence the extraordinary coverage of allegations of clerical sex-abuse.

A story the same day in The New York Post said the crowds at St. Patrick’s Cathedral were “the largest Ash Wednesday congregation in memory.” That’s the difference between honest reporting and advocacy journalism.

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