By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Not wild about Harry

I might have stumbled across the blog Squaring the Globe once or twice in the past. This morning, though, I paid a visit on Universal Hub‘s recommendation. What I found was — well, odd.

Today’s complaint by our blogger, Harry, is that a Globe story by Charles Radin about the closing of an Episcopal church in Attleboro is biased against the priest and the congregation, who are being forced to leave by the diocese after affiliating with a Rwandan branch that opposes the American church’s liberal views on homosexuality. As Radin points out, this is becoming increasingly common as liberal and conservative Episcopalians split apart.

Harry lodges a couple of weird complaints in this post. First, he writes:

Monday’s Boston Globe front page carries this picture of the last service of an Episcopal congregation in their Attleboro church. The photo’s label “Schism brings a church closing” as well as the story’s headline “Worshipers vacate Episcopal church” are both inaccurate half-truths. This congregation is being evicted on 2 weeks notice by the US Episcopal church hierarchy.

Really? How are either the caption or the headline even remotely incompatible with the word “eviction”? In any case, here is Radin’s lede, from which Harry does not quote:

In a service overflowing with tears, hugs, and evocations of historic persecution of Christians, members of All Saints Anglican Church of Attleboro held their last service yesterday in their North Main Street building and bowed to orders from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts that they vacate the premises.

An eviction, in other words.

The other part of Harry’s post that I’m scratching my head over is his conclusion, in which he approvingly cites a story in the Sun Chronicle of Attleboro for quoting the Rev. Lance Giuffrida. Writes Harry: “The story about the church closing in the local Attleboro Sun Chronicle quotes the priest’s dilemma more poignantly: ‘I didn’t change. … I preached the same thing for 30 years. I didn’t move. I just stood.'”

The clear implication is that Radin’s Globe story fell short by not offering up a similar quote from Giuffrida. Yet here is the second paragraph of Radin’s story:

“I never meant us to be at this time and place,” said the Rev. Lance Giuffrida, his voice cracking as he addressed about 160 worshipers who filled the sanctuary nearly to capacity. “I didn’t do anything differently than when you called me” to the church’s pulpit in 2001.

Different words, but precisely the same sentiment.

I love the idea of citizen journalists like Harry holding the mainstream media to account. Squaring the Globe may not have a huge following, but it’s important because it’s part of the blogging ecosystem. (After all, with a very few exceptions no single blog is so important that it stands on its own.)

Unfortunately, based on this post, it seems that Harry is so caught up in his belief that the Globe is biased that he can’t see a straightforward news story when it smacks him in the face.

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Hot to Trot


Taking the Globe to task


  1. Philocrites

    My wife (who is a candidate for the Episcopal priesthood here in the Diocese of Massachusetts) also thought the story misrepresented the situation. One of the two things that especially disturbed her about Radin’s report could be an editor’s error, but it was made possible by something important Radin doesn’t report until the very end of his piece.The front-page photo caption is in error when it says the church was being closed. In the Episcopal church, churches belong to the diocese, not the congregation (one key difference between your and my congregationalist Unitarian Universalism) — and, as Radin reports at the end of the story, the diocese is keeping the church open and has committed to providing a priest for the Episcopalians who remained with the church rather than following the schismatic priest out the door.And that points to the other oddity about the story. Radin even says that half the congregation disapproved of the priest’s affiliation with a bishop in Rwanda — according to the priest himself! Sure, some of the congregation rallied around the priest who wanted to step away, which is what Radin witnessed at Sunday’s service. But it would have been much more accurate to say that a priest and at least half of his congregation had chosen to leave the Episcopal Church. The global issue the story doesn’t mention is that Anglicans have not traditionally recognized a bishop’s authority to accept priests in jurisdictions governed by other bishops. A bishop in Rwanda can’t provide episcopal oversight to an American priest in the U.S. in current Anglican practice. (And the priest in this story seems to have turned into a congregationalist, too! He says, “I can only promise you that . . . you will own the next church,” which simply is not an episcopal way of doing things.)

  2. Philocrites

    Compare Radin’s coverage to that of the local Sun Chronicle. A story last Wednesday said, for example:The reason for [Bishop] Shaw’s current actions, Jacobs said, was the decision by All Saints in September to be under the jurisdiction of the Province of Rwanda and to join its Anglican Mission in America, which is not a recognized body of the worldwide Anglican Communion.That decision meant the parishioners were disassociating themselves from the Episcopal diocese and national church, Jacobs said, and that constitutes an abandonment of the Communion.After the parishioners of All Saints leave the church property Sunday, Shaw plans to assign a new priest to the parish, who will begin holding services there, Jacobs said.”Our feeling is that there continues to be an Episcopal presence in Attleboro,” he said. “Our intent is to support the existing Episcopal presence.” See also this January 25 Episcopal News Service story about the church.

  3. Harry

    Dan,You noted:…it seems that Harry is so caught up in his belief that the Globe is biased that he can’t see a straightforward news story when it smacks him in the face.I plead guilty as charged. I do believe the Globe is biased.I believe liberal bias is quite pervasive at the Boston Globe, and that this bias is most apparent in the Globe’s coverage of state and national politics and in coverage of stories about homosexuality and the law.Especially in these areas I would be as startled to find a “straightforward news story” printed in the Boston Globe as I would be to find a critique of Soviet Communism in old issues of Pravda.Regarding the Globe’s wording, ‘eviction’ is certainly the most accurate word to describe the actions of the US bishops against that congregation. You ask “How are either the caption or the headline even remotely incompatible with the word ‘eviction’?”. They are not incompatible. I did not say they were. I called them half-truths. The nature of euphemism and half-truth is that the wording chosen is compatible with the truth, but avoids stating discomforrting aspects of the truth.Regarding the priest’s quotations, the quote in the Attleboro paper at least implied that the priest was holding to a historical theology of marriage and sexuality that has rather suddenly become intolerable to the US Episcopal hierarchy, though it is obviously not uncommon elsewhere in the world, even among Anglicans. The Globe’s story labeled one side as “liberalizers”, but didn’t state the obvious fact that of the US bishop’s current stance represents a departure from 2000 years of church tradition and law.

  4. bostonph

    Dan, what you’re missing is to Harry, “biased” means “not rabidly homophobic.” The site is an interesting read, mostly because it’s seems to be aimed at people who find HubPolitics too even handed. Even in cases where I agree with him in principle (like Cathy Young’s departure being a bad thing) he just can’t stop himself from liberal bashing. And that article is about as “balanced” as he gets. More representative is an entry on Ted Kennedy called “He Knows Exit Strategies” with a picture of Chappaquiddick. You get the idea. Or lack thereof. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    On a more positive note, Harry has figured out how to list Blogger labels in his right-hand rail. I’ve got to figure out how to do that.

  6. Harry

    Sorry that you don’t like the blog, Bostonph. I’ll gladly refund the remainder of your subscription.I deny being rabidly homophobic. Some of my best friends are…oh never mind. Holding the conviction that laws regarding marriage should be made by elected legislatures and that marriage is not a civil right may be sufficient qualify one as a bigot in some circles today.As for the Massachusetts senior US Senator (and his wealthier junior colleague), I count them both as embarrassments. Many Democrats agree. For example, you can bet that our Senators will not be the ones called on to help the party in crucial swing states next election. Rather, the nominee will likely try to keep both our Senators under a burkha until after the election. Poor Barack probably cringes already at just the thought of having his name spoken by Senator Kennedy, especially late in the evening.As for the kettle and the pot, I make no claim of objectivity or even the peculiar virtue of fairness, which mainstream journalists often boast of so very unconvincingly. It’s a blog for heaven’s sake.And for the labels, Dan, just mess around with your template. The labels are a pre-configured object you can simply add as an element in your layout.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén