At the heart of the tragic Charlie Gard case are two clashing values.
On one side: Doctors and UK officials who argue that they have the power to rule that cutting life support, and ceasing an further experimental treatments, is in the child's best interest.
On the other side are the stricken infant's parents, who believe that they should have the right to care for their child with their own funds and with the help of other doctors who want to treat him.
Pope Francis, of course, issued a statement backing the rights of the parents:
“The Holy Father follows with affection and commotion the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his own closeness to his parents. ... He prays for them, wishing that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”
It's impossible to understand this story without a clear presentation of the parental rights claim, which clashes with the rights articulated by UK officials and a specific set of medical experts. There are two essential points of view.
Editors at The New York Times know this, of course. They know this because one of their own columnists -- while expressing his convictions -- clearly described the standoff. However, it's interesting to note that the latest Times news story on this case covers the arguments of the state, but contains zero clear references to the parental-rights arguments. The pope is mentioned, for example, but the content of his words was ignored.
In other words, the Times ran two editorials: one an op-ed column and the other, alas, an unbalanced, advocacy news report in the news pages.
Columnist Ross Douthat opened his essay like this: