As GOP Selects Ryan, NY Times Throws 'Far-Right...Hard-Right...Hard-Line' Labels

October 31st, 2015 10:21 PM

The election of a new Speaker of the House had the New York Times firing up its reliably crooked labeling machine. On Thursday, reporter and repeat offender David Herszenhorn lamented that "Many Republicans, including members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus who had hounded Mr. Boehner from the speakership, accused him and other party leaders of betraying them with a late-hour deal that was negotiated in secret," in a story on the House approving a budget.

Veteran congressional reporter Carl Hulse interviewed former Speaker John Boehner and took his side against his allegedly irresponsible opponents to his right: "Mr. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, entered the House of Representatives in 1991 as a rambunctious newcomer railing against the power structure. He eventually became the power structure, only to be forced out by hard-line conservatives he deems 'knuckleheads' for their inability to recognize that compromise is sometimes necessary in politically divided government." The text box: "A G.O.P. leader, undone by hard-liners, claims victories nonetheless."

Slant was also slipped into the Times' historical retrospective of the Speakership in Thursday's edition. In its box on Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon, who reigned over the House in the first decade of the 20th century, the Times found slanted historical parallels:

Mr. Cannon exercised exceptional control during his speakership, earning him the nickname “Czar Cannon.” Combining the oversight of the Rules Committee chairman with the power of the speaker, he effectively had total control over the agenda and debate proceedings of the House.

This lasted until a political revolt, led by a small sect of Republicans, curbed his power. In many ways, his experience mirrors current frustrations of some far-right Republicans who have voiced interest in lessening the institutional power of the speaker.

On Newt Gingrich's Speakership:

The legacy Mr. Gingrich left for the position is currently under fire from the far-right members who are looking to return the power to the rank-and-file members and the committee chairs.

The labeling continued in the overage of Speaker Paul Ryan's swearing in. The headline to Emmarie Huetteman's story had "hard" labeling: "Ryan's Words Encourage and Test the G.O.P.'s Hard Right." If that wasn't enough, the lead sentence also hammered "hard-line conservatives."

The hard-line conservatives who have given Republican leaders grief since the Tea Party wave of 2010 understand they are at a decisive point: The new House speaker they helped install, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, has made it clear that he expects them to fall into line as he pursues an election-year agenda that will take bipartisan cooperation to accomplish.


In the days before Mr. Ryan ascended to the lofty title of House speaker, the 40-something members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus struck what seemed an increasingly conciliatory tone after they deposed his predecessor, John A. Boehner of Ohio, and blocked his expected successor, Kevin McCarthy of California.

Nick Corasaniti's reasonably fair story about Ted Cruz's debaet performance nonetheless had this paragraph:

He sticks to a message fine-tuned to appeal to his base of far-right conservatives and evangelical Christians. And he avoids directly attacking his rivals, even when prompted by the moderators or served up a grapefruit of an opportunity.

A search indicates that the last time the paper used the term "far-left liberals" in a news story was a blog post from May 2008.