Ross Douthat's book is full of lies and misinformation, will anyone call him on it?
The journalist Jeff Sharlet on twitter had a lot to say about this. To sum up: People were furious about Mike Daisey lying about his trip to Apple's factories in China but where is the same outrage for Douthat who lies in every column?
You could put David Brooks or Tom Friedman's name there and it would be the same idea. If you're a conservative columnist there is no expectation you will tell the truth. You spin a narrative. You push a story. You are part of the massive machine that literally gets talking points delivered from Grover Norquist to your hand.
This is what Colbert was satirizing when he coined the term "truthiness." It may not be factually true. It might be a total lie. But doesn't it feel good to think it's true? Doesn't it reinforce your worldview?
The Times would be a much better paper if it found some smarter, more honest conservative columnists.
Some of Douthat’s mistakes appear trivial. He seems to think that Pope Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis (1950) was responsible for the silencing of the Rev. John Courtney Murray, S.J., but it wasn’t. He writes of pre-Vatican II Catholicism that “the Church’s abundance of vocations meant that a life of vowed poverty occupied a place of honor in Catholic communities,” although most priests then, as now, were diocesan clergy who do not take a vow of poverty. Only priests, sisters, and brothers who belong to religious orders take vows of poverty, and many bishops built magnificent mansions for themselves in the pre-Vatican II days to demonstrate the Church’s increasing prominence. Douthat refers to “Baltimore’s Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle,” but O’Boyle never lived nor worked in Baltimore.
Other mistakes are more troubling. Douthat betrays the degree to which he has drunk the Kool-Aid being distributed by the papal biographer George Weigel, the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Novak, and other neoconservative interpreters of Catholicism. Douthat writes that “In the intervening decade Wojtyla [Pope John Paul II] had come to the same view of Christianity’s situation as had Novak and other American Catholic neoconservatives.” Alas, the view from the corner office at the Vatican is different from the corner office view at AEI. It was this same putatively neocon Pontiff who wrote in his encyclical Laborem Exercens, that “we must first of all recall a principle that has always been taught by the Church: the principle of the priority of labor over capital … Catholic social teaching does not hold that unions are no more than a reflection of the ‘class’ structure of society and that they are a mouthpiece for a class struggle which inevitably governs social life. They are indeed a mouthpiece for the struggle for social justice, for the just rights of working people in accordance with their individual professions.” One has difficulty imagining such sentiments emerging from Weigel’s pen.
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