NYT Imagines Racial Stereotyping at Conservative Convention

Plus: The Times touts the pro-Obama "Coffee Party," but denigrated anti-tax tea party rallies as angry "Astroturf."

Shocker: Times Imagines Racial Stereotyping at Conservative Convention

"How can conservatives win the youth vote that overwhelmingly went for Barack Obama in 2008? At the Conservative Political Action Conference, apparently, some are betting on using racial stereotypes....[Author] Jason Mattera...mocked what he described, with a Chris Rock voice, as "diversity," including, he said, college classes on 'cyber feminism' and 'what it means to be a feminist new black man.'....Offering up a slogan, he adopted the Chris Rock voice again: 'Get your government off my freedom!' Can we save our generation from Obama zombies, he asked. He answered himself by borrowing the president's campaign slogan: 'Yes, my brothahs and sistahs. Yes we can!'" - From a February 18 nytimes.com "Caucus" blog post by reporter Kate Zernike while covering the Conservative Political Action Conference, a post headlined "CPAC Speaker Bashes Obama, in Racial Tones." Jason Mattera is from Brooklyn and used his own voice, not a "Chris Rock voice," when making his anti-Obama gibes.

Times Touts Pro-Obama "Coffee Party," Denigrated Anti-Tax Tea Party Rallies

"Fed up with government gridlock, but put off by the flavor of the Tea Party, people in cities across the country are offering an alternative: the Coffee Party....'I'm in shock, just the level of energy here,' said the founder, Annabel Park, a documentary filmmaker who lives outside Washington. 'In the beginning, I was actively saying, "Get in touch with us, start a chapter." Now I can't keep up. We have 300 requests to start a chapter that I have not been able to respond to.'" - Times reporter Kate Zernike's March 2 story on the newly-launched "Coffee Party" movement, begun by Park, who worked for Obama's presidential campaign in 2008.


"Although organizers insisted they had created a nonpartisan grass-roots movement, others argued that these parties were more of the Astroturf variety - an occasion largely created by the clamor of cable news and fueled by the financial and political support of current and former Republican leaders." - Reporter Liz Robbins in the paper's first report on the Tea Party protests, April 16, 2009, nearly two months after the movement began.

No Reputable Economist Can Deny Obama Stimulus Worked

"Well, let's start with first: The argument of whether or not the stimulus worked is a mostly political one. I mean, you can hardly find an economist who will tell you that A, it wasn't needed, and B, that it hasn't worked. Has it worked as well as it was advertised by the administration at the outset? No. But the economy's also worse than it was projected to be at the outset. So it'll always be impossible to know what would had it been like without the stimulus. But I don't think there's any disagreement among economists without a partisan axe to grind that it has been something you need. When you have families and you have businesses that are pulling back, you have to have the government out there." - Washington reporter Jackie Calmes, on the February 19 edition of Washington Week in Review.

Don't Favor Government-Run Health Care? You Selfish Narcissist

"The public option, not dead, would amount to recognition of shared interest in each other's health and of the need to use America's energies and resources better. It would involve 300 million people linking arms. Or we can turn away from each other and, like Narcissus, perish in the contemplation of our own reflections." - From Roger Cohen's February 23 column for the paper's international edition, titled "The Narcissus Society."

Another Odious Comparison

"[Austin suicide pilot Joe] Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a "Tea Party terrorist." But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner." - From Frank Rich's February 28 column. Stack's internet "manifesto" quoted a Communist slogan and called President Bush a "presidential puppet."

What Does Today's Tea Party Movement Have to Do With Early '90s Idaho?

"In the inland Northwest, the Tea Party movement has been shaped by the growing popularity in eastern Washington of Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas, and by a legacy of anti-government activism in northern Idaho. Outside Sandpoint, federal agents laid siege to Randy Weaver's compound on Ruby Ridge in 1992, resulting in the deaths of a marshal and Mr. Weaver's wife and son. To the south, Richard Butler, leader of the Aryan Nations, preached white separatism from a compound near Coeur d'Alene until he was shut down." - David Barstow's front-page profile February 16 of Tea Party movement figures in Idaho, of all places.

It's OK to Call Your Political Opponents "Unpatriotic" Now

"If [Sen. Harry] Reid can serve as the face of Democratic fecklessness in the Senate, then John McCain epitomizes the unpatriotic opposition. On Wednesday night he could be seen sneering when Obama pointed out that most of the debt vilified by Republicans happened on the watch of a Republican president and Congress that never paid for "two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program." The president's indictment could have been more lacerating." - From Frank Rich's January 31 column.

Government Is "Paralyzed" When Liberals Don't Get Wish List Fulfilled

"Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana announced on Monday that he would not seek re-election, sending a wave of distress over his fellow Democrats and focusing new attention on the view that unyielding partisanship had left Congress all but paralyzed." - Lead to a front-page story by chief political reporter Adam Nagourney, February 16.

CPAC = Right-Wing Fringe

"It's hard for the Conservative Political Action Conference, which was the home of the right-wing fringe a decade or so ago, to keep ahead of the game." - Columnist Gail Collins at CPAC, February 18.

President Obama Just Too Complicated for Folks to Comprehend

"On this much, President Obama's friends and foes could agree: He eludes simple labels....In a world that presents so many fast-moving and intractable problems, nuance, flexibility, pragmatism - even a full range of human emotions - are no doubt good things. But as Mr. Obama wrapped up his State of the Union address on Wednesday night with an appeal to transcend partisan gamesmanship, he was plaintively testing a broader proposition: Is it possible to embrace complexity in a political and media culture that demands simple themes and promotes conflict?" - Richard Stevenson in his January 31 Week in Review piece.

Questions No One Is Asking

"Ask conservatives why they love Sarah Palin so and they will often say it is because she is so 'authentic.' So will her crib sheet make her less so in their eyes?" - Kate Zernike, February 9.

Howell Raines: 'Conservative' Wins Elections Now Like 'Segregation' Once Did

"We were also wrong, in the long haul, about the transforming effect of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on Southern politics. For a dozen years, it looked as if the New South would be dominated by biracial coalition politics as practiced by centrist white politicians like Jimmy Carter and former civil rights activists like Andrew Young. The coming political order would be bipartisan as well, including progressive Republicans like Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. The last thing we expected was a return to one-word politics, but that's what evolved. Before 1960, the one word was 'segregation.' You could stamp it on the most hapless of candidates and win an election. After 1980, the one word became 'conservative,' as a label for the set of Bible Belt social values that hardened into its present calcified state with the election of Ronald Reagan." - Former Executive Editor Howell Raines in a February 1 column, "The Counter-Revolution," on lunch counter sit-ins during the Jim Crow era.

Bias So Nice They Ran It Twice

"Food Stamp Use Soars Across U.S., and Stigma Fades." - Headline over November 29, 2009 front-page story by Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff.

"Once Stigmatized, Food Stamps Find Acceptance." - Headline over February 11, 2010 story by Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff.

Climate Change Skeptics 'Deniers,' Some Are 'Relatively Uninformed'

"Well, naturally the skeptics and those who are, you know, relatively uninformed about the climate debate will look out the window and see two or three foot of snow and more coming down, and ask themselves, 'What's with all the global warming?' But the scientists will reply that their models have shown over quite some period of years, decades even, that the relatively slow warming of the planet is putting more moisture into the atmosphere, and their models have shown that rainstorms, snowstorms, will become more frequent and intense as a result of that And that's what they say you're seeing out your window right now." - John Broder in a "Back Story" podcast at nytimes.com accompanying his February 11 front-page story on how the snowstorms were affecting the debate over "climate change."

Bush and Rove Should Apologize to American People for WMD Failure

"Peter, let me ask you, let me ask you a question about the "courage" part of that. He says that George Bush would not have invaded Iraq had he known there were no weapons of mass destruction there. Does Karl Rove or the president owe the American public an apology?" - "Political Points" podcast host Sam Roberts on the March 4 podcast, in a question to Peter Baker about Karl Rove's new book "Courage and Consequence."

In Denial Over Obama's Evaporating Numbers

"Obama Fares Better in Poll Than G.O.P." - "At a time of deepening political disaffection and intensified distress about the economy, President Obama enjoys an edge over Republicans in the battle for public support, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll." - Headline and lead sentence of a February 12 front-page story by Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee-Brenan on a poll that found Obama's approval rating and favorability rating plummeting, support for his health care plan in negative territory, and the GOP closing the party identification gap from 15 points to 2 points in just five months.

Somewhere at Times HQ, a Copy Editor With an Unhealthy Relationship with Food

"To help dam the river of sugared drinks that Americans pour into ever-fatter bodies each year, some suggest a soda tax and warning labels." - Text box to a February 14 story by food writer Mark Bittman advocating a soda tax, "A Sin We Sip Instead of Smoke?"

That's One Way to Look at It

"Incensed over a decision by Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, to stand between jobless Americans and extended unemployment benefits, a group of Democrats took to the floor in a late-night session Thursday to hold Mr. Bunning's feet to the political fire." - Congressional reporter Carl Hulse, February 28.

Things Blamed on 'Climate Change,' Item #457

"His is not the only house buffeted by shifting soil. Extreme weather possibly linked to climate change, as well as construction on less stable ground, have provoked unprecedented foundation failures in houses nationwide. Foundation repair companies report a doubling and tripling of their business in the last two decades with no let-up even during the recession." - From a March 4 article by Kate Phillips in the Times' Home & Garden section.