Enough is Enough

Note: the following is not an open letter, but the actual email I sent today to the staff at the online magazine Slate. I’ll miss this news source, but it has ceased to be trustworthy.
To: slateoffice@slate.com
Subject: Ending my reading of Slate
Dear Slate staff,

I wanted to briefly write to express my disappointment in Slate‘s recent coverage of Christianity and particularly the Catholic Church, and to inform you that I will no longer be reading Slate.

This is unfortunate, as I have often found fascinating and unusual points of view in Slate‘s various departments. John Dickerson’s coverage has been a particular high point, along with Slate‘s consistent attention to social justice issues.

However, after reading Brian Palmer’s piece a few weeks ago, “In Medicine We Trust,” I was dismayed by his brash and almost totally unsubstantiated argument against Christian medical missionaries. I laid out my case in the blog I write for, but in essence it undermined my trust in Slate‘s ability to write about religion objectively.

I continued to read Slate‘s pieces, though with a grain of salt, until I got to its coverage of the Vatican Synod over the past two weeks. Both pieces were distressingly uninformed, written by people without enough understanding of Catholic processes and history, and the the second in particular (“Surprise: Catholic Church is Still Homophobic“) was titled as provocatively as possible in order to attract clicks, and gave up any sense of objectivity or fairness in doing so.

I’m a fairly progressive Catholic, hardly one of the caricatures presented in these recent op-eds. But I’m also a committed and practicing one, and I’ve found these pieces so falsely simplistic and uninformed that it’s offensive — offensive that Slate wouldn’t bother to rigorously research and present each perspective fairly when it comes to the church.

I have a Master of Divinity and know enough to know when Slate is being misleading regarding church issues. But I don’t know as much about politics, science, or the other humanities. What if the same poor reporting is happening in those departments and I can’t recognize it? For that reason, I no longer feel confident in the accuracy and excellence of any of Slate‘s essays and will no longer be visiting your site.

It’s unfortunate that this is the case; I’ve been reading Slate for nearly 10 years. But I cannot afford the risk of my judgment being formed by inaccurate essays or subpar reporting.

I wish you the best and hope you are able to upgrade your coverage of this area. Please let me know if you do so and I’ll gladly return to regular reading.

Kind regards,

Sara Knutson


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