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Life Among the Faithful: The Gray Lady as Substitute Religion

Yet another New York Times veteran is stepping off the bridge of the Gray Lady; this time it's Bill Keller, Pinch's lefthand man:

In a surprise announcement, Bill Keller is resigning as New York Times executive editor as of September 6. He will be replaced by Jill Abramson, the paper’s managing editor, Jeremy Peters reported on nytimes.com Thursday morning.

Keller will still write for the paper: "As for Mr. Keller’s plans, he said he was still working out the details of a column he will write for the paper’s new Sunday opinion section, which will be introduced later this month."

Abramson will be the first woman to run the Times newsroom in the paper’s 160-year history. For Abramson, the Times is holy writ:

Ms. Abramson said that as a born-and-raised New Yorker, she considered being named editor of The Times to be like "ascending to Valhalla."

"In my house growing up, The Times substituted for religion," she said. "If The Times said it, it was the absolute truth."

Yes, there's an attitude for a newspaper person to have -- not just the idea of one source of news being the absolute truth (paging Messrs. Duranty, Blair and Krugman to the blue courtesy phone please), but as a substitute religion, to boot.

But then, isn't everything on the left a substitute religion these days?

Incidentally, Newsbusters calls this a "surprise announcement," but it's not unexpectedly unexpected, as Keller is but the latest high-profile Timesman to step down since the start of the year. Back in March, Aaron Goldstein at the American Spectator wrote:

There’s a lot of moving and shaking at The New York Times since announcing back in February that it would be overhauling its editorial pages.

Yesterday, Bob Herbert announced he was leaving The New York Times after 18 years to “write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society.”

Earlier this month, Frank Rich wrote his last column after more than thirty years with The Gray Lady. He will be joining New York Magazine in June.

Does this mean Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd will soon also be leaving for greener pastures? And by greener I don’t mean more environmentally friendly.

Paul and Maureen are still there for now, but who will be the next veteran Timesperson to bail, as the Gray Lady continues her descent?