NYT: Free Publicity for Lefty Protest of GOP 'Ultrarich;' Obama's Bigger Hollywood Haul Didn't Even Make Print

July 10th, 2012 10:02 AM

On Monday, New York Times reporters Michael Barbaro and Sarah Wheaton made much of a left-wing protest of Mitt Romney fundraising in the well-heeled Hamptons, "Romney Mines the Hamptons for Campaign Cash." The text box: "Protesters gather outside events in sprawling homes."

President Obama hauled in $15 million in Hollywood at a fundraiser on George Clooney's Hollywood estate on May10. Yet searches of Nexis and nytimes.com indicate the Times didn't even cover the fundraiser in its print edition, limiting event coverage to a noncritical blog post.

The Times plucked out precisely those details that emphasized wealth and privilege, opening with a woman demanding the V.I.P. entrance.

A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney. “Is there a V.I.P. entrance? We are V.I.P.”

No such entrance existed. The line of cars waiting to enter a Romney fund-raiser on a waterfront estate here had reached 30 deep, a gridlocked testament to the Republican candidate’s financial might on a weekend when he is expected to haul in close to $4 million in the Hamptons.

The aides to the governor apologized for the wait: each donor had to be checked off a guest list, setting off a major backup. “We are doing our best,” a staff member with a clipboard said.

Mr. Romney arrived around noon for the first of three major fund-raisers on Sunday afternoon, his motorcade of Chevrolet Suburbans bypassing a line of gleaming Bentleys, Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes waiting to deposit guests paying up to $25,000 a head to hear him speak.

Barbaro and Wheaton emphasized the point of view of the small group of protesters and the lavish homes of Republican hosts (details the Times doesn't dwell on when it comes to Obama's ultra-rich Hollywood base):

But what was billed as a day of elegant campaign events at the homes of the ultrarich turned out to be an afternoon of curious and clashing tableaus: protesters with their bandannas and Occupy Wall Street-inspired chants (“We got sold out, banks got bailed out!”) standing amid multimillion-dollar mansions, where live bands played “Margaritaville” and donors dined on prosciutto-wrapped melon balls.

A luncheon fund-raiser was held at the sprawling home of Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire financier and Revlon chairman. Widely described as the largest estate in East Hampton, when last advertised in the early 1990s, the house was said to have 40 rooms, 9 fireplaces and a mile of frontage on Georgica Pond.

The Times lovingly lingered on the details of a left-wing protest against the left's Enemy No. 1, the Koch Brothers, using a generous estimate of the number of participants.

The event at Mr. Koch’s home drew about 200 protesters, who in brochures promoting their demonstration said that they opposed “the ever-growing and pervasive influence of Koch Industries’ money,” a reference to the company controlled by Mr. Koch and his brother, Charles.

They went so far as to hire a local pilot to fly a giant red and black banner over Mr. Koch’s house, which read: “Romney has a Koch problem,” a play on the drug. (Mr. Koch’s name is pronounced the same as the word coke.) A truck, festooned with the logos of big banks like Citigroup and Wells Fargo, circled the neighborhood with a plastic dog on the roof, a jab at Mr. Romney’s much-mocked family vacation in which he traveled with his Irish setter inside a pet carrier on the roof of a car.

Mocked chiefly by the Times's own columnist and former editorial page editor Gail Collins, in fact.