ALG’s Blasts New York Times Coverage of Tea Parties

September 27th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government’s is decrying how the New York Times has covered the tea party movement this year.

“Somehow average Americans who pine for constitutional limited government and the ideals of the founding period are considered extreme and unhinged. Meanwhile, White House officials and career legislators who expand the national debt and subjugate free enterprise are viewed as mainstream. That’s the world, according to the New York Times,” said Editor Kevin Mooney.

Mooney pointed to a front page story that ran on Monday September 20th about Obama Administration officials who now speculate that their party’s fortunes could be uplifted by interlinking the GOP with the tea party movement. The sub-headline for that story read, “Democrats Could Cast Rivals as Being Taken Over By Extremists.”

“Although political analysts from across the political spectrum now anticipate significant Republican gains in the midterm elections, an anonymous source claims that the tea party movement can be used as a foil against Republican prospects,” Mooney explained, noting, “But that’s really just spin, not hard news reporting.”

Mooney continued, “The Times also offers up a blanket assertion that says voters will be turned off by candidates who offer up budget cuts and large scale reforms that rein in federal spending. This is a debatable proposition that lacks any authoritative voice.”

One day later, the Times took another swipe at tea party activists in a report appearing in the business section about a televised town hall chat President Obama held in Washington, D.C. Obama challenged small government advocates to offer up specific benefit cuts to match their rhetoric. The same report also included a response from White House officials to the previous front page story.

“The White House denied an article in The New York Times on Monday saying that Mr. Obama’s political advisers were considering national advertising to cast the Republican Party as having been all but taken over by the Tea Party movement,” the report says.

“The story that led The New York Times yesterday was flat out wrong,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director. “The White House has never discussed, contemplated or weighed such an ad campaign.” Mr. Pfeiffer said the article “was based on the thinnest of reeds,” an anonymous source. The Times stood by the report.

Mooney said the White House “has a point and unless the Times can produce on the record sources, the two reports coupled together give the appearance of an agenda-laced, manufactured series of reports that takes aim against small government activists for perceived political benefit to Democrats.”

“There is nothing spontaneous or genuine about what appears in either report. The Times is creating its own ‘news’ in an effort to undermine a growing movement. They are projecting. It amounts to little more than wishful thinking,” Mooney concluded.