New York Times Vilifies President Monson in Obituary; Ben Shapiro, Others Come to His Defense

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Thomas S Monson
Image via TempleStudy.com

I’m peeved. I don’t get peeved often, but I am, and I’ll tell you why. A great man died last week. President Thomas S. Monson. Enough good cannot be said of this man, but this is all The New York Times could muster to say about him after his passing:

Now it’s not the fact that they’ve blatantly attempted to smear his character (and the Church’s) in their article that bothers me. Antagonists towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always framed our prophets and beliefs poorly. That’s nothing new. What bothers me is that this time it’s coming from an outlet whose sole journalistic purpose is to report truth fairly, openly and without bias. What’s more, it comes after President Monson’s death. A time when you’d think that if any bias were to seep through, it’d be reflective of the deceased’s accomplishments, not controversies.

Overall the article seems to use President Monson’s death as a platform to highlight controversies around gender equality and LGTB issues within the Church.

Thankfully, the world fought back

Ben Shapiro

We Mormons aren’t the only ones upset by the NYT “obituary.” Popular author, speaker and radio talk-show host Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish, had plenty to say about it. In his article, “The New York Times Proves It Hates Religious Americans With This Obituary,” he cites the obituary tweets for both Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner and former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez:

Shapiro’s commentary was quick and to the point:

So it’s much worse, from the Times’ perspective, to be a religious person who abides by religious dictates on female ordination and same-sex marriage than to be a sexual profligate who trafficked in pornography, or to be a socialist dictator who destroyed an entire country. Monson was obviously a monster.

Dear Ben Shapiro,

Thank you for standing up for President Thomas S. Monson.

The Washington Examiner

The Washington Examiner also noticed the questionable NYT obituary. Here’s what they said:

…it’s an odd thing for the Times to use an obituary announcement to highlight the deceased’s perceived controversies or failings. At least, it’s odd that the Times doesn’t apply this standard consistently. It’s odd that a faith leader who opposed same-sex marriage would get this treatment when someone like, say, noted pornographer Hugh Hefner didn’t.

The WE also added Fidel Castro’s NYT obituary to the list of inconsistencies:

The difference in how the Times covered Monson and Hefner is weird enough. If you want a real trip, take a look at the gentle treatment the paper gave Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

. . . here’s how Times begins its Castro obituary: ‘Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.’

Dear Washington Examiner,

Thank you for standing up for President Thomas S. Monson.

The Federalist

The Federalist also put out a great piece excoriating The New York Times. Here’s what they said:

The Times obituary wasn’t a look forward to what may be in store for the Mormon Church, but instead taken as an opportunity to demonize a leader who has spent his life and influence trying to better the world through charity and the word of God.

That fact is what the Times apparently finds most troubling and worthy of their contempt, so much so that they took the opportunity of Monson’s obituary to smear not just the Mormon president and prophet, but also all Americans of faith. For that reason, the Times should be held to account not just by the millions of Mormons in America, but other religious Americans as well.

Dear Federalist,

Thank you for standing up for President Thomas S. Monson.

The Atlantic

Mckay Coppins wrote a great obituary for The Atlantic, but also took to Twitter, questioning The New York Times’ decision-making skills:

Dear McKay Coppins,

Thank you for standing up for President Thomas S. Monson.

There’s even a petition to have the NYT rewrite the obituary

Nevada man Nathan Cunningham started the petition yesterday:

We are asking that the New York Times formally apologize for this bias in reporting and present an honest, neutral, and balanced obituary.

As of 1:46 PM, Mountain Time on January 8th, it had already accumulated nearly 80 thousand signatures. You can sign the petition and watch the count go up here:

President Monson was, and is, a spiritual giant

I’m not peeved anymore. I’m disappointed in the NYT, but grateful for the outpouring of support from non-Mormon (and Mormon) influencers. If we’re loud enough the whole truth about Thomas S. Monson’s character will echo throughout the world.

David Snell is a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's the Founder of The Sunday Pews, and has experience writing for Mormon Newsroom Pacific, KBYU11, Classical 89 Radio, FamilyShare.com and plenty more. He tries not to take himself too seriously and just wants to brighten your day a bit.