Journalism can cause some strange pairings simply because two things happen on the same day. World Series games and natural disasters, for example. Often that means that two disparate events end up in the same newspaper, but that doesn't mean they should be in the same story. I couldn't quite figure out why The New York Times chose to put together the First Family's dog and the First Family's church. But here is how the Times covered the weekend's developments:
WASHINGTON -- For the first time since settling into the White House, the Obama family attended church services in Washington on Sunday, but their closely watched search for a spiritual home was overshadowed by news that a longer quest -- for a dog -- had ended.
To my mind as a religion writer, the comparison belittles the church search. Although I can imagine a dog enthusiast having just the opposite reaction. How can you compare the two? Perhaps it's better not to. Most news outlets recognized the principle of the separation of church and canine and reported them accordingly.
Maybe the Times is still smarting from getting beaten on the dog story. As it noted Monday:
The Washington Post, in a front-page article on Sunday, reported the decision.
The line was in some ways a parody of the Times obsessive practice of attribution. But perhaps it was also a dig at the Post's news judgment. Was the story of Bo the Portuguese water dog really a Page One story?
Let's see how the Times and the Post play it when the First Family finally picks a church. And I can only wonder if Bo will be in the story.
Photo: White House press office.