New York Newspaper: We Strongly Oppose Using Tragedy for Political Gain - Except When We Do It

September 23rd, 2011 4:06 PM

The paper of record for upstate New York is at it again, letting their readers know that Republicans and Tea Party members should essentially do as they say, not as they do.

The Albany Times Union has criticized Republicans for playing political games with a recently defeated bill that provides $3.65 billion for disaster assistance.  The problem, it seems, is that the bill included offsets for such aid - $1.5 billion in cuts to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program.

Now, whatever one may think about the government’s handling of disaster aid in a time of such economic peril, there is a valid argument on both sides of the aisle.  When it comes to disaster aid, it would be preferable to not have to think twice about funding.  However, these things have to be funded somehow.

The problem here lies in the newspapers blatant hypocrisy when trying to push a liberal agenda.  The premise is simple – the Times Union opposes using tragedy as a political football.   

“Democrats didn’t like the bill … because it held victims of disasters like Hurricane Irene hostage to the Tea Party’s demand for budget cuts.”

“Rather than govern responsibly and earnestly, House Republican leaders chose again to play political games, poorly to boot.”

The very use of the word ‘hostage’ to describe Tea Party political tactics exploits tragedy – equating political opponents to terrorists.  This particular newspaper has yet to see a disaster it couldn’t use to advance their agenda.

Laughably, the Union itself has used Hurricane Irene to question where the funding for disaster relief should come from:

“The state needs to consider whether it really wants to help people rebuild homes and communities in flood-prone areas, or enact policies that either restrict such development or discourage it.  As emotional as this issue is likely to be, public funds should not be enabling poor decisions to build or rebuild on flood plains.”

“The state also must decide where the money will come from to pay for relief as such disasters become more frequent.”

But using disaster to score cheap political points is an area where the Times Union excels.  Other tragedies they have exploited…

·         After the massacre in Norway, the Times Union reminded their readers that ‘violent or hateful rhetoric creates a climate in which violence and hatred … may seem more acceptable.’  They then go on to subtly imply that Sarah Palin and Michael Savage help to stoke violence:

“After Tucson, for example, Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential hopeful, portrayed questions about her frequent use of gun imagery as an assault on free speech.”

“… there was radio host Michael Savage defending extremism, sandwiching in disclaimers that he opposes violence...”

·         Speaking of Tucson, one of the Times Union editorial board members, John de Rosier, ran a political cartoon which pushed the since disproven theory that the Gabby Giffords shooting was a result of violent political rhetoric.  The cartoon features a box with the words ‘Found at the scene of the Tucson shooting’ and a picture of shell casings containing the phrases ‘violent rhetoric’ and ‘incendiary speech’.

·         The same cartoonist once used the Battle of Iwo Jima (26,000 American casualties) to support the stimulus plan.  Our report from two years ago:

“The cartoon shows Democrats in the role of the Marines featured in the Iwo Jima Memorial, a sculpture based on the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal entitled Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.  The exception to this replication lies in the flag being raised -the Dem's are trying to hoist a ‘bailout flag' as opposed to a flag of the United States.”

“If that weren't insulting enough, the cartoon also shows the Republican Party mascot, the elephant, trying desperately to pull the flag down. In short, the Democrats are trying to save our nation by heroically raising up the Obama bailout flag, while the villainous Republicans are trying to destroy our nation by stopping their efforts.”

·         On the ten year anniversary of September 11th, the Times Union preached their liberal viewpoint, citing things that we should not do as a people or a nation. 

“… to call for the abridgment of religious freedom and to spew hatred on the airwaves, on the Internet, from the bully pulpit and on the campaign trail.”

“… to wage an unnecessary war in Iraq, to torture suspects or sanction their torture abroad, to spy on citizens, to single out people for suspicion and surveillance solely because of their ethnicity or religion.”

The ‘hatred’ being alluded to here are areas in which the newspaper has complained about in the past - Conservative talk radio, the Peter King hearings on Islamic extremism, and the campaign platforms of Republicans such as Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain, whom they have accused of pitting Christians against Muslims.

The Times Union clearly does not practice what they preach.

Pure media hypocrisy.

Rusty can be contacted via Twitter @rustyweiss74