In a recent interview, Dean Baquet, The New York Times’ executive editor, admitted that media powerhouses including himself and other journalists at the New York Times do not understand religion and the role it plays in people’s lives.
I want to make sure that we are much more creative about beats out in the country so that we understand that anger and disconnectedness that people feel. And I think I use religion as an example because I was raised Catholic in New Orleans. I think that the New York-based and Washington-based too probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she’s all alone. We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives. And I think we can do much, much better. And I think there are things that we can be more creative about to understand the country.
While some have used this as just another excuse to poke at the liberal MSM, I think that we can perhaps be a little more constructive. These words were said in the context of discussing reporting in a Trump presidency. While secularists such as Mr. Baquet have typically been dismissive of religion, they now see it as a key factor in Trump’s being elected. Whether this is a good thing or bad, it is recognized as a reality by the secularist elite and possibly is acting as a wake-up call for them. Mr. Baquet not only says that they don’t get it, but that they “can do much, much better.” In other words, he isn’t simply acknowledging a lack of comprehension regarding religion, but is also acknowledging that this lack forms a deficiency in his ability (and the ability of the MSM in general) to understand and accurately report on this country. It is a recognition that a lack of comprehension concerning religion also affects our understanding of the non-religious. Perhaps, just maybe, this is the beginning of Mr. Baquet and – please God – the rest of the MSM coming to realize what Benedict XVI said in the Regensburg lecture: that the secular understanding of reason, that being reason divorced from faith, is not sufficient for engaging with non-secular cultures. It actually works against a true multiculturalism and dialogue between peoples. In a country such as the United States, this creates a split personality; we are a country incapable of dialoguing with its self. Let us pray that Mr. Baquet does not falter in the face of such a soul-changing challenge and that other secularists will follow his lead.