Conflating Concern on Liberal Bias With (Alleged) Racism

Plus: Speaker John Boehner was racist for asking Obama to postpone a speech to Congress for one night.

Conflating Concern on Liberal Bias With (Alleged) Racism

'Romney dares not go there. Not Newt. He's the street fighter with a history of poisonous politics who not only goes there but dwells there. He makes his nest among the thorns of open animus and coded language. Take the issue of media bias for instance: according to a September Pew Research Center poll, more than three-quarters of Republicans said that news organizations are politically biased. That was appreciably higher than both independents and Democrats. And that same month a Gallup poll found that three-quarters of Republicans believe that the news media are too liberal. This, too, was appreciably higher than independents and Democrats.' – From Charles Blow's January 21 column, 'Newt's Southern Strategy.'

Newt, the 'N-Word' Candidate

'We have 10 days until the Fla. primaries. Maybe I'll be able to get in one column that's not abt what a vile, reptilian, hatemonger Newt is.'
"Food Stamps" again... You know what. Just go on and use the "N" word and get it over with. I'm tired...' – From the Twitter feed of columnist Charles Blow, January 21.

NYT Quotes 'Retired Cuban Leader' Castro on 'Idiocy' of GOP Field

'As the Republicans appealed for votes among Cuban-Americans and other Hispanics, one person who said he was not enamored of the field expressed his distaste: Fidel Castro, the retired Cuban leader whose 1959 takeover prompted the exodus of Cubans to South Florida. 'The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is - and I mean this seriously - the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been,' he wrote in an opinion piece in state-owned news media. He had reason to be annoyed. In Monday's debate, Mr. Gingrich said he would authorize covert actions to bring down the Cuban government, while Mr. Romney cited the Jan. 19 death of a Cuban prisoner, Wilman Villar Mendoza, in calling for maintaining a tough policy toward Cuba. The candidates also discussed whether the 85-year-old leader would go to heaven or hell.' – Michael Shear and Trip Gabriel from Miami, January 26.

Public Editor Admits Liberals Read the Times 'Because It Mirrors Their Views'

'I have no problem stating here that in the domain where opinion writers ply their trade for The Times, the liberal view is overwhelmingly dominant. The Times is within its rights to contract for such material, as the opinion sphere is distinct from the news sphere, and there can be little doubt that the Times ownership and editorial page ascribe to a liberal perspective....This brings forward another ingredient in this situation: The Times's audience. That audience consists of New Yorkers, by and large a liberal population, and national readers, many of whom select The Times because it mirrors their views....I remain steadfastly opposed to the paper proffering only liberal perspectives in news coverage. But in the opinion-based features of the paper, The Times is within its right to do this. In my view, it makes for predictable and sometimes very dull reading. But others apparently don't agree.' – Public Editor Arthur Brisbane responding to a letter from a spokesman for Koch Industries, a frequent target of Times writers, January 10.

Stephen Colbert's Masterful Impersonation of 'Right-Wing Blowhard' Bill O'Reilly

'The Colbert character, whose taped descent, godlike, from the empyrean while clutching an American flag begins every show, was originally intended as a takeoff on Fox News figures like Sean Hannity and especially Bill O'Reilly. Though Colbert doesn't much resemble O'Reilly physically, the persona has mastered some of O'Reilly's pen-wielding, hand-stabbing gestures, and his credentials as a right-wing blowhard are beyond doubt. He thinks that gays will go to hell, that a flaming moat should be built around America to keep out immigrants and that Christianity is, or ought to be, the official national religion. He believes not in truth but in 'truthiness,' a term of his own invention.' – From the January 8 Sunday Magazine cover profile by Charles McGrath of Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert.

Times Writers Still Drunk on '99%' Meme

'This lack of definition, repeated in many other ways, seems to profoundly disturb the critics, yet perhaps it is one of the greatest strengths of the natural partisans. In the same way that the Occupy Wall Street insurgency resists enumerating goals or anointing official representatives, natural-wine partisans refuse to be pinned down in a manner that subjects them to lawyerly argument. That frustrates those who fear they will become targets if they do not subscribe to what they see as natural-wine dogma; hence the shrillness of their criticism. To me, this fear seems terribly misplaced. Unlike the 99 percent in the Occupy analogy, the natural-wine partisans represent far less than 1 percent in terms of wine sales.' – From Eric Asimov's January 25 wine column on 'natural wine.'

Oh No: Former Klansman Was 'Appalled' by Rick Santorum's 'Insolence'

'People in both parties over the years have accused him of hotheaded name-calling, reliance on immature antics and attempts to reduce politics to steel-cage matches between people cast as heroes or heels....The late Senator Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat and one of the most devout traditionalists in the chamber, was appalled by Mr. Santorum. After the younger man accused Mr. Clinton of speaking 'bald-faced untruths,' Mr. Byrd delivered a blistering speech in which he derided his colleague's 'insolence' and 'rude language' and suggested that Mr. Santorum might be better-suited to 'an alehouse or beer tavern.' He lamented that he had lived long enough 'to see Pygmies stride like colossuses' in the August chamber.' – Political profile writer Mark Leibovich on GOP candidate Rick Santorum, January 7.

John Boehner Racist for Asking Obama to Postpone Speech to Congress for One Night

'Talking about race in American politics is uncomfortable and awkward. But it has to be said: There has been a racist undertone to many of the Republican attacks leveled against President Obama for the last three years, and in this dawning presidential campaign. You can detect this undertone in the level of disrespect for this president that would be unthinkable were he not an African-American. Some earlier examples include: Rep. Joe Wilson shouting 'you lie' at one of Mr. Obama's first appearances before Congress, and House Speaker John Boehner rejecting Mr. Obama's request to speak to a joint session of Congress – the first such denial in the history of our republic.' – January 3 entry on editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal's blog. Speaker Boehner did not 'reject' Obama's request to address Congress, but suggested the president delay the speech for one day, to avoid it being held on the same night as a Republican presidential debate. Obama agreed.

UPDATE: Rosenthal Follows Up, Admits Mistake: GOP Racism Actually Predates Obama

'A post in my blog on Tuesday, about the undertone of racism in American politics, drew a great deal of angry e-mail and critical commentary....One thing I could have made clearer in my blog post is that racially tinged and outright racist attacks did not begin with the election of Mr. Obama. They have been going on for a long time, and yes, particularly from Republicans. This bitter strain was evident in my first assignment for The Times in the 1988 general election, when the infamous 'Willie Horton ad' was used against Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts...' - Andrew Rosenthal, following up in a January 6 blog post.

South Carolina's 'Racially Charged Past' Reemerging Thanks to Gingrich Remarks

'South Carolina has the nation's first female Indian-American governor (a Republican), the highest-ranking African-American in Congress (on the Democratic side) and a rapidly growing population of Latinos, all evidence, longtime political players here say, that the state is shedding its racially charged past. But like the historic slave plantations that draw tourists on the outskirts of town, the legacy of that past has not been totally wiped from the politics of today. And if the general election campaign by Republicans against President Obama, the nation's first black president, goes on to include a fraught, multilayered discussion about minorities and entitlements, work ethics and what it means to be American, then it will have gotten under way in earnest here this week.' – Reporter Jim Rutenberg on the campaign trail in South Carolina, January 18.


'I sure hope that Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.' – Columnist Thomas Friedman, December 14.

U.S. Soldiers Piled Up Civilian Bodies

'The stress of combat left some soldiers paralyzed, the testimony shows. Troops, traumatized by the rising violence and feeling constantly under siege, grew increasingly twitchy, killing more and more civilians in accidental encounters. Others became so desensitized and inured to the killing that they fired on Iraqi civilians deliberately while their fellow soldiers snapped pictures, and were court-martialed. The bodies piled up at a time when the war had gone horribly wrong.' – Reporter Michael Schmidt, in a December 15 story from Baghdad on the alleged 2005 Haditha 'massacre. No Marine had been convicted in that incident at the time Schmidt wrote. The last Marine on trial, of the original eight charged, pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced January 24.

Using Scare Tactics to Bolster European Union Bureaucracy

'It would be Europe's worst nightmare: after weeks of rumors, the Greek prime minister announces late on a Saturday night that the country will abandon the euro currency and return to the drachma.

Instead of business as usual on Monday morning, lines of angry Greeks form at the shuttered doors of the country's banks, trying to get at their frozen deposits. The drachma's value plummets more than 60 percent against the euro, and prices soar at the few shops willing to open.

Soon, the country's international credit lines are cut after Greece, as part of the prime minister's move, defaults on its debt.

As the country descends into chaos, the military seizes control of the government.
This scary chain of events might never come to pass....' – Landon Thomas Jr., December 13 on the implication of Greece abandoning the euro currency.

Times Provides New Expletives to Use on Romney

'Mr. Romney, whose standing in [New Hampshire] has slipped in recent days, anticipated the disparagement and is trying to put a human face on the private equity business to push back against being portrayed as a greedy titan who saw his own wealth rise as companies that Bain acquired laid off workers and closed factories.' – Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, January 10.

Romney the Robot

'Mitt Romney - he of the inscrutable, overly polished and occasionally robotic mien - is striving mightily to humanize himself just three weeks before the first round of voting begins.' - Lead sentence to Ashley Parker's December 14 dispatch from the campaign trail in New Hampshire.

Jeremy Peters Is Seeing Things

'Politicians have long employed coded language in their messaging to religious conservatives, a practice often derided as dog-whistle politics for its ability to stir emotions among those who are in-the-know while passing undetected over others. Sarah Palin has often referred to her support from 'prayer warriors,' a term known among evangelicals as those who engage in battle with Satan. The 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign used billboards with faint images of crosses. And at the Republican National Convention that year, the lecterns on stage were made of two-tone wood that appeared designed to resemble crosses. The Bush campaign insisted it was a coincidence. Where some people see a rusty water stain, after all, others see the Virgin Mary.' – Media reporter Jeremy Peters, December 28.

Obama's 'Phenomenal' Achievements

'I don't want to sort of give him the press. Let's start with - I think you know he deserves, and has not received, the credit he deserves from just preventing us from going into depression, from what he inherited. I think extending health care to millions more Americans and even though we haven't addressed the cost issue which is complicated and certainly didn't have much Republican help, is a big deal. I think saving the auto industry is a big deal. And he just passed a - just got through a regulation on mileage standards that's going to double mileage standards in this country, you know, over the next decade, 13 years. That's actually going to be phenomenal.' – Columnist Thomas Friedman on Charlie Rose's PBS talk show, December 16, 2011.

Reminiscing About Obama's 'Eloquent and Inspiring Rhetoric' in Iowa in 2008

'But Mr. Romney is also using the patriotic songs to try to elevate his own political speeches - making them, in a way, more like Mr. Obama's eloquent and inspiring rhetoric in the state four years ago. (Indeed, Mr. Obama became so famous for the soaring remarks he wrote himself that his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, borrowing a line from former Gov. Mario Cuomo, remarked that you campaign in poetry, but govern in prose.)' – Ashley Parker, January 1.