NYT: 'Angry,' 'Fiercely Conservative' Obama-Care Protesters Just Parroting Fox News
Published: 11/5/2009 3:14 PM ET
Reporter David Herszenhorn posted early Thursday afternoon on the paper's health care blog from an anti-Obama-care rally taking place on Capitol Hill. His unsympathetic description of the protest, organized by conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann, started with the meant-to-be-menacing image painted by his lyrical headline: "On the Hill, Protesters Chant 'Kill the Bill'"
Thousands of opponents of the Democrats' health care legislation are gathered outside the Capitol, for a noon news conference and rally led by Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, and the chants are already underway, echoing across the Mall.
"Kill the bill!" they are shouting. "Kill the bill!"
Herszenhorn, who is an eternal optimist when it comes to prospects for Obama's big-government version of health care "reform," made sure his readers knew the protesters were conservatives (he said so three times) who were just parroting Fox News:
A series of spot interviews suggests that the protesters have come to Washington from all across the country - Texas, Ohio, Oregon and the greater Washington area. It's a generally older crowd, many in their 50s and 60s, predominantly, white, and many self-identified as Christians. They are fiercely conservative and deeply skeptical of the government, many of them adamantly opposed to abortion rights.
"The government couldn't even get the shots out," said Karen Ambrose of Sunbury, Ohio, ridiculing the government's efforts to vaccinate people for the H1N1 flu as an example of what government-run health care would look like. "Let's just get the government out of all this."
Jerry Hershberger, a market representative for an automotive company outside Dallas, said he flew up just to protest the health care bill. "A little expense now compared to a lot of expense later," he said, explaining why the cost of the trip was worth it to him.
Mr. Hershberger, like many of the demonstrators, repeated some of the most common conservative and Republican talking points heard repeatedly on Fox News. "It's not bipartisan," he said, standing outside the Capitol wearing a Texas Longhorns baseball cap. "They are doing it behind closed doors." He added: "It's going to drive us into a super-deficit."
Ms. Garloch, who has a combination of Medicare and private coverage, said insurance should be sold across state lines to increase competition.
But Ms. Garloch, like many in the crowd who while visibly angry, could not articulate the main problems in the health care system or how they should be solved.
Some of the same people warning of too much government spending also complained that Medicare does not provide sufficient coverage.
- Clay Waters is the director of Times Watch, an MRC project tracking the New York Times.