The Courant Ed Page is right when it says on its facebook that obvious bias is the Ed Page’s job. But there is a difference between the bias of advocating for a position and the bias of making misrepresentations–and The Courant’s bias on Enfield is very much the latter.

We have already discussed why the media is lashing out at FIC here and we said all there is to say about the Courant columnist attacking us here and here. What interests us now is an institutional bias on The Courant’s Ed Page that goes beyond mere disagreement.

The Courant’s lead editorial in the Sunday edition laments Enfield’s decision to reverse itself and appeal Judge Hall’s ruling against the town, calling the previous vote not to appeal “a wise and prudent decision.”

We would understand if The Courant wanted to lament Enfield’s April 13th decision to stand up to the ACLU in the first place, though we would disagree. But to call Enfield’s initial June 3rd vote not to defend itself against Judge Hall’s ruling “a wise and prudent decision” without spelling out what that vote means is disingenuous.

Judge Hall ruled against Enfield on a preliminary motion, not on the suit itself. Hall’s ruling made it clear that she would rule against Enfield in the lawsuit itself, which was still moving forward. It was the ACLU that filed suit against Enfield, not the other way around, and the ACLU showed no signs of dropping its suit. Enfield’s June 3rd vote not to appeal Hall’s ruling was not a vote to end the lawsuit–it was essentially a vote to lose the lawsuit. And The Courant calls this vote “wise and prudent.”

The editorial prattles on a bit about FIC’s “pro-religion agenda”–how we want to “tear down” church-state separation and force our religion on everyone. Some of you may be wondering why a Catholic like me wants to force First Cathedral’s Baptist faith on everyone. But irrational and paranoid fears of this type are a staple of liberal editorialists struggling with the uncomfortable truth that many of their fellow citizens remain deeply religious.

 This is not the first time The Courant has taken an editorial swipe at FIC. But, as far as I can recall, it is the first time the editorial has mentioned our organization by name. We must be coming up in the world.

Even then, The Courant describes FIC–twice–as an “outside” group. This is wishful thinking. Never mind that the 2010 Enfield graduation fight was actually begun by the students themselves. Never mind that FIC has well over a hundred members in Enfield. FIC’s office is right down the street from The Courant. Their reporters and photographers have been here on several occasions and the paper has covered our activities for years. We may not fit The Courant’s vision of a Connecticut blissfully untainted by the religious conservatism that is a scourge on the nation’s less enlightened regions. But we are as native to this state as it gets.

And that’s just one editorial. Then there’s the Letters to the Editor.

Last week The Courant published my letter defending FIC. A few days later the paper published a letter responding to my letter:

Peter Wolfgang raised an interesting question. Does Mr. Wolfgang have children in the graduating class of either Enfield high school? If not, then it is not his government he was petitioning, it was other people’s town government.  

Actually, the interesting question I raised was “Do our members have less of a right to petition the government than other citizens?” The writer above misrepresents my letter and The Courant lets her.

That same day The Courant published a letter that somehow managed to criticize a column depicting FIC as money-grubbing opportunists but without actually defending us. Letters submitted by others who did defend FIC were, of course, never published.  

Careful readers will also note that The Courant’s editors included a facebook option for you to “like” the letter criticizing FIC but they did not include the “like” option for my letter defending FIC. They will notice that The Courant provides a link to the ACLU when I mention the organization in my letter but there is, of course, no link to FIC (and it’s my letter!). And they may notice, as of this moment, that my letter has disappeared from the online Letters to the Editor section, even though letters published earlier than mine are still there.  

There is bias and then there is bias. The bias that The Courant’s Ed Page says is its job is not the kind of bias it is displaying in the matter of FIC and Enfield.

One Response to “Courant Bias in Enfield Story”

  1. […] of liberal media hostility to FIC’s role in the Enfield graduation fight. Today, we recommend our analysis of a recent Courant editorial and we especially recommend Don Pesci’s column on the media and […]

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