Times Watch Quotes of Note -- 'Almost Entirely White and Irritable Crowd' of Obama-Care Protesters

An excerpt of Times Watch's latest "Quotes of Note," featuring the most biased things written or spoken by reporters and columnists for the New York Times. 


"Almost Entirely White and Irritable Crowd" of "Angry" Obama-Care Protesters

"They got up before dawn in large numbers with angry signs and American flag T-shirts, and many were seething with frustration at issues that went far beyond overhauling health care....Ms. Abram described herself as a stay-at-home mother from Lebanon, and in many ways she was representative of the almost entirely white and irritable crowd, most of whom were from the area. Many of the union members who showed up to support health care reform did not arrive early enough to get into the auditorium at the Harrisburg Area Community College, and thus were largely not represented among the 30 questioners called on by Mr. Specter. It was the angriest people who got in line first." -- Ian Urbina and Katharine Seelye, August 12.


Pro-Obama-Care "Grassroots Advocates" Controlled by DNC

"Under the aegis of the Democratic National Committee, various labor unions and grassroots advocates plan more than 1,800 events, including petition drives, phone-a-thons and rallies over the next two weeks." -- Reporter Katharine Seelye on the "Prescriptions" blog at nytimes.com, August 26.


What a Difference a Week Makes in Health Care Debate

"The stubborn yet false rumor that President Obama's health care proposals would create government-sponsored 'death panels' to decide which patients were worthy of living seemed to arise from nowhere in recent weeks. Advanced even this week by Republican stalwarts including the party's last vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, and Charles E. Grassley, the veteran Iowa senator, the nature of the assertion nonetheless seemed reminiscent of the modern-day viral Internet campaigns that dogged Mr. Obama last year, falsely calling him a Muslim and questioning his nationality."  -- Lead sentence to the August 13 front-page story on "death panels" by Jim Rutenberg and Jackie Calmes.


"White House officials and Democrats in Congress say the fears of older Americans about possible rationing of health care are based on myths and falsehoods. But Medicare beneficiaries and insurance counselors say the concerns are not entirely irrational." -- Lead to health care reporter Robert Pear's August 21 story.


Protesters Not Just White & Irritable, Ignorant As Well

"Lawmakers ran into fresh anger and skepticism on Wednesday as they fielded questions from constituents worried about changes in the health care system, and about a lot of other things having to do with government. The queries hurled at legislators from the Atlantic Seaboard to the nation's midsection reflected deep-seated fears, a general suspicion of government and, in some cases, a lack of knowledge on the part of the questioners....The senator was too polite (or intent on survival) to correct his questioner by pointing out that there is not one bill yet, but rather several proposals working their way through five committees in both houses of Congress, and that to talk of 'the government' as a single entity makes no sense, at least in this context, because of the divisions between Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, Capitol Hill and the White House....Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican-turned-Democrat from Pennsylvania, endured another day of hostile, sometimes fact-defying questions at a town meeting in State College, Pa., The Associated Press reported." -- Reporter David Stout, August 13.


Conservative Town Hall Protests "Shut Down Public Discourse"

"The traditional town hall meeting, a staple of Congressional constituent relations, had been hijacked, overrun by sophisticated social-networking campaigns -- those on the right protesting so loudly as to shut down public discourse and those on the left springing into action to shut down the shutdowns." -- Reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, August 9.


Suddenly, Weather Is Just Weather, Not Harbinger of Cataclysmic Climate Change

"William D. Solecki, a geography professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York and co-chairman of a mayoral panel on climate change, warned that this summer's unusually mild temperatures should not buoy global warming skeptics. 'Ask them to visit Seattle,' he said, where a record temperature of 103 was recorded on Wednesday. 'On average, going back decades, we would only have a few days above 90 in any given summer,' he said,' and while we haven't hit that mark yet, there's still a lot of summer left.'" -- Sam Roberts, August 1, 2009.


"The record warmth -- in some places autumn temperatures were three degrees Celsius above average -- has brought home the profound threat of climate change to Europe's ski industry." -- Mark Landler, December 16, 2006.


A Tale of Two Senators

"Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died late Tuesday night. He was 77." -- Lead to John Broder's August 27 obituary to Sen. Ted Kennedy, under the online headline "Edward Kennedy, Senate Stalwart, Is Dead at 77."


"Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator whose courtly manner and mossy drawl barely masked a hard-edged conservatism that opposed civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday. He was 86." -- Lead to Steven Holmes' July 5, 2008 obituary to former Sen. Jesse Helms, under the headline "Jesse Helms, Unyielding Beacon of Conservatism, Is Dead at 86."


Failure of Kennedy's Amnesty Plan for Illegals Led to Hate Crimes?

"But he failed in his most ambitious effort to remake the nation's immigration system and provide legal status to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States today. In 2006, he co-sponsored a measure with Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, that would have strengthened border security while establishing a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal migrants. The bill died in the House and the debate polarized an already divided Congress and nation. The climate for illegal immigrants in the United States has worsened since then, with an increase in hate crimes, activity by anti-immigrant groups and ranting on cable television and the Internet, according to Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the liberal Center for American Progress." -- John Broder's tribute to Kennedy's liberal legislative legacy, August 28.


Paul Krugman Not Happy with His Fellow Citizens Racists

"...the driving force behind the town hall mobs is probably the same cultural and racial anxiety that's behind the 'birther' movement....it's a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites." -- Economist turned columnist Paul Krugman, August 7.


Frank Rich Dishonestly Links Palin to Birther Brigade

"Obama's election, far from alleviating paranoia in the white fringe, has only compounded it. There is no purer expression of this animus than to claim that Obama is literally not an American -- or, as Sarah Palin would have it, not a 'real American.' The birth-certificate canard is just the latest version of those campaign-year attempts to strip Obama of his American identity with faux controversies over flag pins, the Pledge of Allegiance and his middle name." -- Columnist Frank Rich, August 2.


A Tale of Two Conspiracy Tales

"The fringe conspiracy theory -- that he is not constitutionally eligible to be president -- has taken on a life of its own and become a dreaded topic for some lawmakers." -- Jeff Zeleny on people who question Obama's U.S. citizenship and thus his eligibility for the presidency, August 5.


 "Some participants see an American tradition of questioning concentrated power." -- Text box from Alan Feuer's sympathetic report from a Chicago convention of conspiracy theorists who think 9-11 was an inside job by the Bush administration, June 5, 2006.

You can read more biased quotes at Times Watch.

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