econscius

New York Times Hypocrisy: Recall For Thee But Not For Me

In New York Times, Political Rhetoric, Wisconsin Recall Elections on August 10, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Readers of the New York Times know its editorial board supported yesterday’s recall votes of Wisconsin Republican state senators.  You could be forgiven for thinking the New York Times was a strong backer of citizen initiatives to recall legislators and governors – even if only a few months after their election.

But you would be wrong.

Today’s NYT editorial applauds the recalls and even gives strategic advice on how to structure a recall:

“Five months after Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin pushed through a law stripping public unions of their bargaining rights …. Mr. Walker’s opponents did not succeed in turning over the Senate, but it was still an impressive response to the governor’s arrogant overreach.”

“It was probably a stretch for union supporters to go after six incumbent senators, rather than concentrate their forces on the most vulnerable. Nonetheless, voters around the country …  should draw strength from Tuesday’s success, not discouragement.”
 

Back in March, the NYT editors sounded no alarm bells whatsoever about the nascent recall efforts against Governor Walker and Republican state senators:

“It could have serious consequences for the Wisconsin Republicans who voted to do so. Recall efforts against Mr. Walker and several Republican senators are already under way… The place to exercise some power of their own is at the voting booth.” [2]

Contrast the glee over Wisconsin’s “impressive” recalls with New York Times editorial positions in the last major American political recall attempt.  Back in 2003, the NYT editorialized twice against the recall election of California Governor Gray Davis.  In “Wrong Remedy In California”, the NYT wrote:

“Californians have reason to be angry…. Recalling Governor Davis, however, is not the answer. It is an unwise move with potentially damaging ramifications.”

“Allowing wealthy, opportunistic politicians to overturn fair elections when politicians fall out of favor with the public is unhealthy.”

“The state’s Constitution says a recall election is mandated if the effort’s organizers collect enough signatures. Yet Californians can still avoid a political quagmire by voting to keep the governor they already have — at least until the next general election.”  [3]

In “California Chaos”, NYT editors opined:

“California is now rolling inexorably toward a rendezvous with potential political chaos that it does not need in its present fragile condition and that somebody in authority should have found a way to avoid.” [4]

Why the double standard on recalls? 

The answer is obvious:  Walker is a Republican and Gray was a Democrat.  The overtly partisan New York Times hypocritically says ‘Recall for thee, but not for me’.

 

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/opinion/wisconsins-warning-to-union-busters.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=wisconsin+recall&st=nyt

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/opinion/11fri2.html?scp=3&sq=wisconsin+recall&st=nyt

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/11/opinion/wrong-remedy-in-california.html?scp=14&sq=gray+davis+recall&st=nyt

 [4] http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/26/opinion/california-chaos.html?scp=3&sq=gray+davis+recall&st=nyt

Pictures from Wikipedia commons.

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