The Washington Times is a good newspaper. Why, though, does it insist on putting quotation marks around “marriage” in every single story that talks about the political movement to extend the right to marry to homosexuals? News reportage isn’t supposed to sneer at public policy proposals; that should be saved for the editorial pages.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    Maybe they hired a reporter from “Reuters.”

  2. Guy Cabot says:

    “Washington Times” and “good newspaper” used in the same sentence???

    I have now seen it all.

  3. James Joyner says:

    WaTi has some excellent reporters and has broken all manner of stories missed by WaPo. John McCaslin and Bill Gertz, especially, are first rate.

  4. Because although it’s an excellent news aource and contains insightful commentary, the Washington Times is also the most corrupt newspaper in America.

    Moreover, the founder of the Washington Times has described homosexuals as “trash” and called for the re-criminalization of homosexuality in America. I understand that he’s not too happy about women being allowed to vote either (I bet some of you think I’m kidding).

  5. James Joyner says:


    I’m not a fan of Moonies. But I’m not reading the work of Rev. Moon but that of his reporters. And, my word, if I couldn’t get my news from any sources whose founder thought ill of homosexuality, I’d be limited to CNN.

  6. Guy Cabot says:

    Frankly, Bill Gertz is a hack and a cheap propagandist. I’d place him in the same category as a Matt Drudge–a gossip whose ‘reportage’ rarely has a basis in reality. IOW, he is a tool willing to echo a certain ideology. It’s easy to “break” stories when they’re false.

    McCaslin is no better.

    I’d also direct your attention to another Times reporter/editor: Robert Stacy McCain. McCain is that odd breed that seems to believe the wrong side won in the Civil War (a view shared by Wes Pruden) and Lincoln was a “war criminal” who got what he deserved.

    WRT to Rev. Moon, it cannot be seriously argued the Times is exclusive from Moon’s views. At least one Chief Editor has noted that’s not true. But let’s look at another key piece of evidence: since its inception, the Times has never, repeat, never shown a profit. So, if Rev. Moon is willing to bankroll a newspaper for nearly a quarter of century without coming close to a profit, what other reasons might he have?

  7. Anonymous says:

    What’s the deal about reading politics into punctuation? There ARE legitmate uses for quotes around words.

    Leaving politics and newspaper like/dislike aside, marriage as defined today is between a man and woman – whether you think it should be otherwise, that is what the word means today. If you said you went to a wedding this past weekend, there wouldn’t be any questions.

    So a homosexual union is not a marriage. If you want to eventually redefine the word, that’s okay, but it hasn’t happened yet, so you put the quotes around the word since you are using the word in a way that is outside its mainstream definition.

    Everyone “comprende” this?

  8. James Joyner says:

    Clearly, the “” is designed to demean the concept. The phrase “homosexual marriage,” with “homosexual” modifying “marriage” makes it perfectly clear that it’s not the same kind of “marriage” that a “man” and a “woman” would have.

  9. John Lemon says:

    “Unlike” the “New” York “Times,” the Washington Times does not editorialize about tax cuts in its food section.

  10. Brian says:

    As I blogged:

    Well, strictly speaking, the Times is right. The word marriage comes from a Latin root, a verb which means “to take a wife.” Many of these proposed “marriages” would have no wife, although they might have a “wife.”

    As a practical matter, calling these unions marriages, without quotes, would accept the premise of proponents that this is merely the extension of an existing institution to a somewhat wider audience. Opponents see same-sex “marriage” as a new phenomenon unrelated to traditional marriage except by a legalistic sleight of hand.

    We’ve been down this road before. Homosexuals succeeded in getting the mainstream media to buy into the word “gay.” Apart from it being a propagandistic euphemism for the perfectly neutral “homosexual,” I have other objections to the term as well. The original meaning of “gay” was “happy,” and the only groups of people I know who are perpetually happy are most young children and some mentally deficient folks. (And how can they be so happy when they also claim to be brutally repressed by our homophobic society, huh?) The homosexuals were trying to seem harmless, but ended up seeming immature, pointless and silly. When they picked the label “gay,” they subtly demeaned themselves.

  11. Paul says:

    Guy said, apparently with a straight face:

    the Washington Times is also the most corrupt newspaper in America.

    Quite ironic when juxtaposed against the New York Times of late.

  12. Paul says:

    OOOOOPS My eye jumped– That was Graham’s name on the bottom of that post. Sorry Guy.

  13. Guy Cabot says:

    No problem, Paul.

    But I would agree the Washington Times is among the most corrupt; unlike the NYTimes, the WashTimes will never admit its mistakes. Has the WashTimes ever apologized or corrected newstories they ran that proved to be false?

  14. Paul says:

    About as often as Maureen Dowd. LOL

  15. Guy Cabot says:

    Mo Dowd is an opinion columnist, Paul.

    The WashTimes opinion columnists are a very special breed of idiots.

    No, I’m talking of their reporters.

  16. The person who wrote this needs to re-think:

    “Leaving politics and newspaper like/dislike aside, marriage as defined today is between a man and woman – whether you think it should be otherwise, that is what the word means today. If you said you went to a wedding this past weekend, there wouldn’t be any questions.”

    There are plenty of gay marriages, but they are not recognized by the state: several mainstream Protestant denominations perform them. The gay marriage debate is simply over whether/how the state should recognize, legitimize, deal with, or fight tooth and nail this fact.

    Insisting on placing quotes around the word is a strong editiorial statement in and of itself. I’m sure it’s based on a style sheet with a rigid definition of the word “marriage,” but it makes the paper look idiotic when it appears outside the editorial page.

    Language changes quickly these days. If they are going to adhere to traditional definitions, perhaps they should be putting quotes around exotic terms like “e-mail.”