The (dis)courtesy of the New York Times

Stewart Cairns/Associated Press

On Monday my father canon lawyer Ed Peters was interviewed by Michael Chapman of Cybercast News on the eligibility of New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo to receive Communion.

Yesterday Thomas Kaplan of the New York Times picked up the story but, inexplicably, wrote “Dr. Peters declined a request for an interview” in the story.

Here’s my father’s version of what actually happened:

The Times cold-called me today about 10 minutes before I was scheduled to teach for two hours and then go to dinner on campus. I estimated I’d be gone about three hours. I said if they would send me some written questions (like Cybercast did) I would reply within 24 hours. When the reporter said he might need my answers sooner, and I said, well, send what you have and I can look at it more promptly, as I would be around this evening. We signed off ambiguous as to whether there would be any follow-up. No big deal, I thought. They either will follow-up, or they won’t. In fact, I worked in my office till after 9:30 tonight, but there was no follow-up phone call or email questions. And yet I find myself characterized as having “declined” an interveiw request!

So now I must wonder, exactly what does the New York Times thinks constitutes “declining an interview”? Besides, I guess, not dropping everything and answering questions whenever it’s convenient for the Times to pose them?

It seems reporters have a tendency of asking my father for an interview – and then deciding they don’t want to hear his answers. That’s what NCReporter did in January.

Anyway, if you actually wait for the response you’ve requested, my father does have quite a lot to say, as this patient reporter found out.

UPDATE: And when you don’t bother to check with my father at all, you are liable to confuse him with the Vatican, or think he is Cuomo’s pastor (seriously).



  • DPierre

    Just when I thought the NY Times could not get any more awful …

  • KCHawk

    My guess is that Joe Reporter had been assigned to write an article and was near his deadline before he called Dr. Peters. Rather than admit to his editor that he procrastinated and was not able to get the source he needed, because the reporter waited until the last minute, he just told his editor that Dr. Peter’s declined the interview. Of course the editor, beleiving how much orthodox Catholics hate of the NY Times, accepted this at face value and never questioned Joe Reporter on why Dr. Peter’s had to “decline the interview.”


  • Finola

    Your father’s a saint Thomas! We all know he would be ready to share the truth with whoever wants to hear it. Shane on the Times for that lie they just told.

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  • Paul

    Yeah, clearly it’s ALL reporters that have the problem as opposed to your father. Maybe he just should have answered the reporter’s questions since he apparently was already on the phone with him.

    • Matt Dawson

      Interesting non sequitur, Paul. Because you think Dr. Peters should have dropped everything to answer questions at the Times’ convenience and because NCR acted similarly to the Times, you reason that Tom’s post indicts all reporters.

      Try sticking to the facts: Dr. Peters twice offered to accommodate the Times, and the Times reported Dr. Peters declined an interview. That’s what’s known as an untruth. It is particularly insidious because of what it implies about Dr. Peters as a professional.

      Your comment not only reflects sloppy reasoning, but also misses the entire point, here.

      • JohnE

        Non sequiturs, untruths, insidiousness implications, sloppy reasoning. Perhaps Paul is a reporter at the New York Times or the NCFishwrap, or hoping one day to be one?

    • TrueCatholic

      Paul, While I think you could have made your comment a little less caustic I must agree with you. Thomas seems to have come by his own arrogance honestly. I read Dr. Peters’ response and it seems that he feels his own take on the issue is the only one. Also, regarding the Update Thomas provides I didn’t see anywhere that Dr. Peters was purported to be Mr. Cuomo’s pastor.

  • John V

    As noted elsewhere recently, one has to wonder how low a person’s scores have to be before they’re admitted to journalism school, and how much lower they have to get before that person will be awarded a journalism degree.



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