Did you notice? Pigs are flying.
The New York Times has discovered that the growing number of out-of-wedlock births is a national problem. And get this -- the editors put the discovery on the front page, in the top right-hand column, their most prominent piece of real estate.
OK, the article ran last Saturday on a holiday weekend, which means lower readership. But it was still a giant leap across a culture divide for the paper to ring the alarm on a topic usually discussed only in conservative circles.
The impetus seems to be Charles Murray’s new book, “Coming Apart,” which focuses on the cultural schism between upper- and lower-income whites. Murray cites differences on everything from obesity levels to rates of unmarried parents having children.
The Times actually broadens the debate to include politically incorrect racial breakdowns. It reports that 73 percent of black children born in 2009 were born to unmarried parents, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites. The overall number born to unmarried parents, it says, was 41 percent, and 53 percent when the mother was under age 30.
Surprisingly, the article quotes an expert saying that children in two-adult families do better in school and are happier -- and doesn’t accuse her of “hate” speech.
With so much of the paper still leaning left, only a Pollyanna would believe the Times is consistently fair and balanced. But I have spotted a few other instances recently where articles seemed to consciously avoid partisan code words and assumptions.
Perhaps new editor Jill Abramson aims to follow legendary Times editor Abe Rosenthal, who famously said he wanted his epitaph to be that “He kept the paper straight.” We can live and hope.