Thursday, August 29, 2019

New York Times caves again to left-wing outrage


The New York Times once again has altered a published story in response to complaints from the left on Twitter.

Earlier this month, it was a headline favorable to President Trump that sparked outrage from readers. Now, it's a Times 10-year retrospective of the tea party that failed, in the eyes of many, to cast the movement as racist.

Once again, the editors scrambled to assuage the offended.

"We have updated this story assessing the policy failures of the Tea Party movement 10 years after its rise to include context about attacks on President Barack Obama and racist displays at some Tea Party rallies," the Times said on its Twitter account.

Among the critics of the original version of the story was ABC's Matthew Dowd, who wrote: "A fundamental flaw in this analysis is there is no mention of race and how much racism drove the Tea Party movement. You can't talk about the rage politics and leave out race."

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery called the original version journalistic "malpractice." He complained there was no mention of "the fact that it was essentially a hysterical grassroots tantrum about the fact that a black guy was president."

But there's no evidence that racism propelled the tea party movement, contended The Federalist senior editor David Harsanyi.

"The wealthy white leader of Congress at the time was just as unpopular among Tea Partiers as the black president," he argued, referring to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "And, as we've seen, if Hillary Clinton had won the 2008 election, she would have generated no less anger among conservatives."

Harsanyi wrote it was Obama's "leftist rhetoric and unprecedented unilateralism — he had, after all, promised 'fundamental change' — that ignited what amounts to a renewed Reaganism; a fusing of idealistic constitutionalism and economic libertarianism."

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In a Fox News segment Thursday, Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh agreed that the tea party movement was driven by opposition to deficits and bailouts "and not race," pointing to the Obama administration's stimulus bill and Obamacare.

Earlier this month, the Times drew outrage with a headline about Trump's denunciation of white supremacy and racism after the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that read "Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism." The editors changed it to "Assailing Hate but Not Guns."

Later, Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet apologized, calling the original a "bad headline."

'Rage' against George W. Bush

Harsanyi pointed out that tea partiers a decade ago had a beef not only with Democrats but with the Republican establishment.

It's why they sought to primary so many Republicans, who happened to be white, he noted.

"If you really wanted to hear them 'rage,' you could always bring up the former Caucasian and Republican president, George W. Bush, who had 'abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.'"

Harsanyi acknowledged that, as with any spontaneous political movement, "some bad actors glommed onto protests." The Times article spotlighted "one demonstrator at a rally in Maryland hanged a member of Congress in effigy."

Most accusations of tea party racism, Harsanyi argued, are based on the unsubstantiated claim of Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., that someone called him nasty names and spit on him when he and Pelosi strolled through protesters in front of the Capitol.

However, Harsanyi wrote, although "there were cameras everywhere that historic day, no one was ever able to find any evidence to back up his claim."

Contrary to the stereotypes of the left, a CBS/New York Times poll at the time found that the average tea party activist was more educated than the average American, and their concerns mirrored the mainstream.

The movement's three main grievances: Obamacare, government spending and "a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington."


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