David Barstow's NYT Hit Piece on Tea Party Wins Left-Wing Journalism Award

New York Times investigative reporter David Barstow's paranoid February 16 front-page piece on the Tea Party movement won a left-wing foundation's monthly journalism award.

The Sydney Hillman Foundation, which its website says has since 1950 "been honoring journalists, writers and public figures whose work fosters social and economic justice," awarded Barstow's story its monthly journalism award for February 2010.

The prizes must have been a real incentive for Barstow: "Recipients will be awarded $500, a bottle of union-made wine..." (Picture a barefoot SEIU union tough stomping grapes. Or, preferably, don't.) The foundation is in honor of one Sydney Hillman, president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in the 1940s.

The press release is definitely coming from a left-wing perspective:

The Hillman Foundation announced today that David Barstow has won the February Sidney award for "Tea Party Lights Fuse for Rebellion on Right," his searing portrait of the Tea Party movement in The New York Times. The story details how the pressures from a severe recession have melded with propaganda repeated by Glenn Beck and other right-wing broadcasters to produce broad fears of an imagined plan by the federal government to seize guns and suspend basic liberties.

Sidney Award judge Charles Kaiser said, "Barstow's story links the Tea Party movement with militia groups, anti-immigration advocates and those who favor the abolition of the Federal Reserve. It is a thorough and balanced account of the disparate forces which are feeding the growth of this volatile movement across America, written by one of America's premier investigative reporters. While there has been a considerable amount of coverage on the Tea Party movement, Barstow's piece was the most sophisticated one."

Times Watch found Barstow's piece unfair and his focus on Idaho enabled him to falsely conflate today's Tea Party movement (which traces its origins to Seattle and CNBC, not Idaho) to extremist groups that populated the state during the 1990s.

Clay Waters is editor of Times Watch. You can follow him on Twitter.