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MSM Bias of the Week: NY Times Labels Joe Stack “Tea Party Terrorist”

John on February 24, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Writing for the NY Times Opinionator blog, author Robert Wright suggests Stack is the first Tea Party terrorist. He’s not the first MSM’er to go there. The Washington Post has that honor. More recently Newsweek did rhetorical pirouttes trying to jump on the bandwagon.

What all these pieces have in common, besides being written by lefty journalists pretending to be disinterested observers, is that they all, without fail, intentionally leave out the explicit left wing views Stack held. The NY Times doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The author makes two points, first this:

Bloggers on the left asked why people — especially people on the right — weren’t calling him a terrorist.

Not true. I called him a terrorist immediately. Check it out right in the headline. Moving on to his main contention:

Was he a Tea Partier — or at least a Tea Party sympathizer? Conservatives who say no point to leftish themes in his manifesto. And it’s true that — in a line much-quoted by these conservatives — he seems to wish that the government would do something about health care. Then again, who doesn’t?

Nice try. “Who doesn’t” makes it sound as if this guy could be coming from anywhere. But if you read what Stack wrote, what you find is that he had specific villains in mind:

the joke we call the American medical system, including the drug and insurance companies, are murdering tens of thousands of people a year and stealing from the corpses and victims they cripple

Is that a right wing critique or a left wing critique? Sounds a lot like Dems in Congress to me. Moving on:

There are clearer left-wing strands in Stack’s writing — he identified with blacks and the downtrodden, he said the rich oppress the poor — but I’m not sure how relevant that is, because I’m not sure how purely conservative the Tea Party movement is anyway.

He then goes on to say that the tea party is right wing. And that’s the end of his argument. Not mentioned by Robert Wright is this somewhat significant line from the letter:

The recent presidential puppet GW Bush and his cronies in their eight years certainly reinforced for all of us that this criticism rings equally true for all of the government.

Someone please explain to me how the NY Times assesses Joe Stack’s politics without mentioning that? Is there any possible excuse for leaving it out beside sheer, unadulterated bias? How about this bit:

The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living.

What percentage of tea partiers do you think are vehemently anti-religion, Robert Wright? What percentage of people on the right versus those on the left hold views like that?

Finally, Ace takes Wright to task for ignoring the most obvious evidence that Stack was a lefty, i.e. he ends his letter — literally his last words before dying — with a comparison between communism and capitalism:

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

As the author of the ridiculous Newsweek piece pointed out,this second line is a slightly altered version of something that appeared in an essay 20+ years ago. The essay was written by a Brit named Henry Fairlie who was:

  • An opponent of Reagan
  • A believer in big government
  • Someone concerned that religion and Reaganism would lead to mob violence.

From this we are of course supposed to assume that Joe Stack was a raging right winger! I kid you not. Read the Newsweek piece.

As Ace notes a few people called the Times author out on his failure to even mention the communism vs. capitalism summary that concluded his letter. In response, Robert Wright added this addendum to his post:

I think commenters who take the Stack manifesto’s closing reference to the Communist Manifesto as a sign of communist sympathies are misreading his intent; and I suspect his closing characterization of capitalism isn’t meant as a rejection of free-market economics but rather as a complaint that capitalism has become corrupted in America. I think the overall point of those two references is that capitalism, as it’s being corruptly practiced, is no better than communism, and may be worse. But there will never be any way of knowing for sure what he meant.

Shorter version: No way to know what he meant, therefore I’m free to assume it means the exact opposite of what it appears to mean.

Let’s briefly review Joe Stack’s political views for the slower members of the MSM:

  • Joe Stack hates George W. Bush and his “cronies”
  • Hates Big Pharma
  • Hates Big Insurance
  • Hates GM executives
  • Hates organized religion
  • Appears to refer favorably to communism
  • And in his last words before dying, appears to denigrate capitalism

From this, NY Times author Robert Wright says Joe Stack is probably a right wing terrorist who’d fit right in at a tea party.

What liberal media?

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Category: MSM & Bias |

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