Times Watch Quotes of Note - Kate Zernike Still Smearing Tea Party as Racist

Plus Sheryl Gay Stolberg explains the Ground Zero mosque to the rubes outside Manhattan, and Matt Bai questions the "nativist impulse" behind the mosque's opponents.
Kate Zernike Still Smearing Tea Party as Racist

"It seems the ultimate thumb in the eye: that Glenn Beck would summon the Tea Party faithful to a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington, and address them from the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I have a dream' speech 47 years ago. After all, the Tea Party and its critics have been facing off for months over accusations of racism.... Still, the government programs that many Tea Party supporters call unconstitutional are the ones that have helped many black people emerge from poverty and discrimination....Even if Tea Party members are right that any racist signs are those of mischief-makers, even if Glenn Beck had chosen any other Saturday to hold his rally, it would be hard to quiet the argument about the Tea Party and race." - Reporter Kate Zernike, smearing the Tea Party again in her August 28 story on Glenn Beck's upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial.




"The overwhelmingly white and largely middle-aged crowd Saturday was a mix of groups that have come together under the Tea Party umbrella." - Kate Zernike on the "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial, August 29 edition.





Um Yes, That's How It Works

"The Justice Department decided last week not to bring charges against Tom DeLay, whose unethical conduct represented a modern low among Congressional leaders...Mr. DeLay, the Texas Republican who had been the House majority leader, crowed that he had been 'found innocent.' But many of Mr. DeLay's actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them." - From an August 22 editorial.





Matt Bai Blames "Nativist Impulse" Against Ground Zero Mosque Opponents

"A nativist impulse underlies this type of political appeal, and it is not new. It springs, perhaps, more from human nature than from any defect in the American character; when our way of life feels imperiled, we tend to cast a wary eye toward those who embody otherness....The 1850s, for instance, saw the rise of the American Party - more commonly called the Know Nothings, because that was their response to any inquiries about their secret activities. Like us, they found themselves stranded in a fast-changing society, its economy transformed by emerging railroads and this gizmo called the telegraph." - From political writer Matt Bai's August 8 Week in Review column on opposition to the Ground Zero mosque.





Obama Opponents Long for Return to "White and Largely Christian Nation"

"From the moment he took the oath of office, using his entire name, Barack Hussein Obama, as he swore to protect and defend the Constitution, Mr. Obama has personified the hopes of many Americans about tolerance and inclusion. He has devoted himself to reaching out to the Muslim world, vowing, as he did in Cairo last year, 'a new beginning.' But his 'new beginning' has aroused nervousness in some, especially those who disagree with his counterterrorism policies, or those more comfortable with a vision of America as a white and largely Christian nation, and not the pluralistic melting pot Mr. Obama represents." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg, August 15.



Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Liberal Urban Elitist

"Here's another reason for the disconnect. I think, in New York, especially in Manhattan, people realize that Muslims live and work in Lower Manhattan, in the area where they're seeking to build this mosque and community center, which would also include a fitness center where young people could play basketball or swim or what have you. Out in the country, the news coverage has not been as intense, there are fewer details and it allows for the debate to be reduced to its essence, boiled down to a few words: Mosque at Ground Zero. And those words have become inflammatory around the country and I think the nuances is somewhat lost, frankly." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg discussing opposition to the mosque at Ground Zero, on the August 19 "Political Points" podcast hosted at nytimes.com.

For more biased quotes from the New York Times, see Times Watch's latest Quotes of Note page.