Paul Moses, a professor of journalism at Brooklyn College/CUNY, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009).
By this author
One of the strengths of Catholic schools has been that they don't give in easily to educational fads. But that may no longer be the case, since more than 100 dioceses have endorsed the hotly debated Common Core standards, leading to a substantial internal debate. The Washington Post reports:
It seems a sacred time, this Friday afternoon 50 years after JFK was slain. It's sent me back to a book long on the shelf, Four Days: The Historical Record of the Death of President Kennedy, compiled by United Press International and Amnerican Heritage Magazine. Stuck inside, I found a yellowing copy of The New York Times section The News of the Week in Review for Sunday, Nov. 24, 1963.
"He was a man of peace, who at first hand experienced war," the paper editorialized.
Conservative Catholics' disappointment in Pope Francis has been discussed for a while now, but as for any subject, its appearance on the front page of The New York Times has a way of raising its profile.
My favorite paragraph in coverage of the 2013 elections came at the end of the New York Times story reporting on Democrat Bill de Blasio's landslide victory for mayor of New York. This, on observing Mayor Michael Bloomberg vote:
He quietly cast his vote at an Upper East Side school, amid reminders that his time at the pinnacle of municipal power was drawing to a close. When Mr. Bloomberg, dressed in a crimson tie and a crisp winter coat, showed up, the poll worker had a question. What was his first name, again?
Of course, Michael Bloomberg's name and that of his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, won't be forgotten in New York City and many other places. But the results of the election show that voters in New York are seeing their records over the past 20 years in a new light.
De Blasio ran his Democratic primary campaign against Bloomberg, and thus indirectly at the early favorite in the race, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Her cooperation with Bloomberg went so far that she supported his politically toxic plan to change the city's term limits law to his own benefit, overriding two referenda. After Anthony Weiner's "second chance" campaign self-destructed in July, the anti-Bloomberg vote shifted to de Blasio, polls showed.
De Blasio ran his general election campaign against Giuliani, with whom his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota, was closely associated. Lhota started out the campaign by trying to differentiate himself from Giuliani, but that didn't last long.
Here's a curious situation: The Diocese of Brooklyn is suing a Catholic high school because it won't hand over a chunk of the proceeds collected from renting a portion of its building to a charter school.
The New York Times carried a cover story on its Thursday Styles section that explored the cultural divide in the trendy Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, Northside vs. Southside. It is a startling example of how news organizations glorify gentrification by treating the long-time residents of a neighborhood as an afterthought and wallowing in the lifestyle of the newcomers. Here is an excerpt:
Grand Street is more than just the dividing line between streets that are numbered north and those numbered south. The border has become Williamsburg’s equivalent of the Mason-Dixon line, cleaving the neighborhood into two: a sleek, moneyed “North Williamsburg” and a gritty, hyper-authentic “South Williamsburg.”
To the denizens of South Williamsburg, the north is now a glitzy playground of glassy condos for banker types, chain stores and hordes of tourists from Berlin; Tokyo; Paramus, N.J.; and, worst of all, Manhattan. They’ve turned the area, especially around the Wythe Hotel, into Brooklyn’s answer to the meatpacking district.
The South, they argue, has maintained its bohemian D.I.Y. roots, with its indie boutiques, bearded mixologists, artists’ lofts and working-class families: in sum, the “real” Williamsburg.
The problem is that the article dismisses the long-time population of Latinos, Hasidic Jews and Italians in two paragraphs, and gives no real consideration to their impact on the culture of the community. They're nearly invisible. One would never know that Latinos are by far the majority of the Southside. In the 2010 census, the Southside's three census tracts are 53 percent, 65 percent and 72 percent Latino.
I don't know if the name of Bill de Blasio, the odd-on favorite to be the next mayor of New York City, is much known outside the New York area yet. But if the Democratic nominee succeeds, he surely will be a national figure.
Carl A. Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, writes for the National Review that the news media have created false narratives about both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. He argues that Benedict made comments similar to those Francis made in his recent interview, but that they were not covered:
One might think this is the first time a pope said something like this. It isn’t.
Startling as his recent interview is, one can see in retrospect that Pope Francis started on the path he is walking from the first moments of his papacy when he took the name of the saint from Assisi.
The Columbia Journalism Review has a nicely done piece on Robert Hoyt, founding editor of National Catholic Reporter, and on that newspaper's origins. I never met Hoyt, but it seems to me that his son, Michael Hoyt, former editor of the journalism review, has provided a nuanced and well-written portrait of his father in this article. He shows the importance of maintaining an independent Catholic press with outlets such as NCR and Commonweal, for which Robert Hoyt became a senior writer after leaving NCR.