The Corner

Nyt Vs. Wash Post On Mandela

Interesting study in contrasts. Evelyn Mandela, the first wife of Nelson Mandela died on April 30. The Washington Post obit gives considerable space to Mrs. Mandela’s view that her husband was no saint because of his adultery. Meanwhile The New York Times makes no mention of it whatsoever, erring on the side of saying that Nelson Mandela bravely sacrificed his marriage for the cause of freedom. Here’s an example of how the Washington Post treats the issue:

She grew weary of his absences resulting from his anti-apartheid obligations as well as his extramarital affairs. A report in the Scotsman newspaper said she once threatened to pour boiling water on her husband and his lovers if he continued to use their marriage bed for his trysts.

And here’s the Times’ opening paragraph:

Nelson Mandela’s first wife, Evelyn Mandela, who quit the couple’s marriage after telling him to choose between her and the African National Congress liberation movement, died April 30 at the age of 82, South African newspapers and news agencies have reported.

I’m sure there are good arguments on both sides of this. However, whether they reached their decision out of a desire to protect the saintly status of Mandela or because they don’t believe adultery is a serious thing or because they were just being squeamish it doesn’t change the fact that the “paper of record” opted for dishonesty.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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