Saturday Night Live used to feature a skit in which comedian Jon Lovitz played “The Pathological Liar” who enjoyed weaving fantastical tales which he enjoyed delivering as truth. That comes to mind, thinking through the audacity of the latest New York Times’ wildly spun tales about the pope. Only this is no joke…

Untethered to anything grounded in truth, the once great broadsheet that claims it carries “all the news that’s fit to print” has plunged into a parallel universe where facts are whatever they say they are, all distortion that’s print to fit…an agenda. And they’re on a rampage against Pope Benedict and the Vatican.

Because the “paper of record” is now a broken one, and because so many other media outlets still lack the manpower or veracity to fact-check the Times before re-running their stuff, we have to take the Times’ war on the pope seriously. Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture does, and provides perspective.

Abandoning any sense of editorial balance, journalistic integrity, or even elementary logic, the Times looses a 4,000-word barrage against the Pope: an indictment that is not supported even by the content of this appalling story. Apparently the editors are relying on sheer volume of words, and repetition of ugly details, to substitute for logical argumentation.

He calls it “comically absurd”, “a mess of contradictions”, and illustrates examples of both points. And the ultimate irony…

The Times story, despite its flagrant bias and distortion, actually contains the evidence to dismiss the complaint. Unfortunately, the damage has already done before the truth comes out: that even a decade ago the future Pope Benedict was the solution, not part of the problem.

To understand how, read Lawler’s piece.

Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet