Times Goes Easy on Rep. Stark's Despicable Comments on Bush, Iraq

Liberal Democrat Rep. Pete Stark hit a new low last week, sliming U.S. troops as murderers and Bush as a monster, but the Times soft-pedaled Stark's offensive comments.

Stark said on the House floor during the debate over the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP):

"You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

Stark apologized yesterday on the House floor, but not before the GOP attempted to censure him (all but five Democrats voted against the measure).

But you don't get any of that foul flavor from the Times' bland headline, "Effort to Censure Lawmaker For a Comment Falls Short," over David Stout's story onthe failed GOP effort to censure Stark. The caption under Stark's photo was also incomplete, leaving people to wonder what the outrage was based on: "Representative Pete Stark sharply criticized the Iraq war."

Stout for some reason felt the need to bolster Stark's pro-military credentials by notingStark "will celebrate his76th birthday on Veterans Day." And Stout didn't delve into the rich archive of harsh comments by the California liberal.

By contrast, the Washington Post put Stark's reprehensible statement in the context of the liberal Democrat's past assaults on the dignity of black and female Republicans in "Stark's Latest Gaffe Is Just One in a Long Line." Reporter Jonathan Weisman compiled Stark's "greatest hits," including these charmers:

2001: At a Ways and Means subcommittee hearing on abstinence promotion, Stark referred to then-Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) as the "current Republican Conference chairman, whose children were all born out of wedlock."

1995: In a private meeting, Stark called then-Rep. Nancy L. Johnston(R-Conn.) a "whore for the insurance industries."

1990: Stark called then-Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan, who is African American, "as close to being a disgrace to his race as anyone I've ever seen."

Jason Aslinger at Newsbusters has more on how the Times and other outlets managed to spin a Democratic embarrassment into a Republican defeat.