I've never been able to respect the New York Times. Not that I ever tried, of course. Being on the extreme opposite end of the country, I always wondered why they ever tried to peddle themselves here in California. Now I get it: there's a huge liberal market over here, and they sure don't want the LA Times getting all the attention.
The Times (NY variety, that is) has had its fair share of indiscretions over the years. Everything from leaking secret documents, to reporters who can't seem to write without copying someone else or simply making it up as they go. Their scale of moral sensitivity runs from "Sell the paper, dammit!" to "Screw the truth! This is for their own good!" Far from protecting the people's right to know, they instead protect our right to have their opinion.
None of which makes them too far different from any other fish wrapper today.
Now, however, they have truly crossed an ethical line from which there can be no graceful retreat. They have attempted to violate the sanctity of someone's family by gaining unlawful access to the sealed adoption records of the children of Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts.
Hat tip: Matt Drudge
I can only presume that extreme political prejudice against this conservative has driven the Times to undertake a "background check" that seeks to uncover sealed and privileged information of this nature. I cannot imagine, for example, any check of this kind against a liberal nominee. But let's set politics aside for a moment. Let's instead examine the implications of this clear invasion of the Roberts' privacy.
I am an adoptive parent. My two older children were both adopted, and I have very clear memories of the judges in both cases. Each declared, unequivocally, that signing adoption decrees were among the most wonderful of their many duties -- even in family court. They both commented that the joining together of a family was an increasingly rare opportunity these days. Beyond those comments, of course, were the explanations of the legal aspects of adoption. It was, for me, the realization that I was now truly their father in every respect that made the occasion so important to me. These children are every bit as much mine as if I had been their biological father.
The principle of adoption also happens to be an eternal one: If, as I have mentioned elsewhere, the family unit is basic to the Lord's kingdom, then adoption is both a saving as well as a legal principle. These children will now also be mine throughout eternity. No one can take that away from me.
Now, the Times raises the chilling possibility that anyone, in the name of public interest, could try to get my adoption records unsealed to see whether there were any "irregularities" in the process. In my mind, based on my prior statements, this would be tantamount to placing my rights as a biological father in jeopardy -- as if it were somehow possible that my two biological children came to my family through "irregular" means.
Without having direct knowledge of this situation, beyond what has been reported by Drudge, it's difficult to explain why, exactly, the Times felt compelled to pursue this line of investigation. But I can try. I'm certain it begins with a desire to find something -- anything at all will do -- that will give the Times leverage to kill Roberts' nomination to the high court. The Times has enough toadies in the Senate who are waiting for just that much ammunition to be able to drag out this process until Roberts, like others before him, is forced to withdraw rather than subject his family to continued hostile scrutiny.
The New York Times has declared war on John Roberts. But they have also declared war on the institution of family. I really don't think they are equipped to fight that kind of war.
They just don't have a moral leg on which to stand.