By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

New York Times sanitizes Bachmann on immigration

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann

The New York Times today sanitizes U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota, in a story on immigration.

Times reporter Jonathan Weisman writes that the Republican Party is starting to move toward its Tea Party base on immigration issues and quotes Bachmann as saying, “This was one of the most remarkable experiences I’ve had in my eight years in Congress. We were able to achieve unity across the conference in what is likely to be the most consequential issue of this time: immigration.”

But though Weisman quotes incendiary remarks by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, about a “war on whites,” he gives Bachmann a pass for her recent comments that President Obama wants to bring more undocumented children into the United States so that the government can carry out medical experiments on them. Here’s what Bachmann said on a radio show called “WallBuilders Today,” as transcribed by the liberal group People for the American Way:

Now President Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, those illegal aliens to the country and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system. That’s more kids that you can see how — we can’t imagine doing this, but if you have a hospital and they are going to get millions of dollars in government grants if they can conduct medical research on somebody, and a ward of the state can’t say “no,” a little kid can’t say “no” if they’re a ward of the state; so here you could have this institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation and a kid can’t even say “no.” It’s sick.

I can’t imagine why Weisman and his editors decided it was all right to quote Bachmann on immigration issues without bringing up this piece of demented and very recent rhetoric.

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  1. pauljbass

    I think it’s a tricky question. When wing nuts make awful accusations against people, by name, with nonfactual back-up, I don’t think we’re always obliged to publish that. Obviously, when a person is in power or close to power, it’s important to document to their crazy or hateful remarks in order to get it on the record. But I do think there’s a grey area, a judgement call to be made. Sometimes ugliness unnecessarily gets into the record.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Interesting perspective, @Paul. In this case, I think it’s trumped by the fact that she was speaking on immigration, the very issue on which she made her bizarro accusation against Obama.

  2. Deb Mackey

    I’m with Dan on this one. I, too, was taken aback by the Times coverage on this. By ignoring Rep. Bachmann’s previous comments about the administration’s immigration policy, the Times fails to provide a relevant context for Mrs. Bachmann’s “hard line” views.

    • pauljbass

      I think I’m with Dan here too. But I do feel like each individual incident like this seems to merit reporting — then cumulatively we end up letting wing nuts dominate and pollute the public discussion, crowding out fact-based (and non-slanderous!) accusations.

  3. The “news” media is afraid of or owned by the Reich Wing Hacks, so telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is not even remotely in the cards.

    Nothing about the obstruction by the Republicons in the House & Senate, nothing about the Caucus Room Conspiracy where the Republicons got together the night of Obama’s first inauguration and swore a blood oath to kill the U.S. economy to make Obama a one term president. Nothing about the treason committed by the Caucus Room Conspiracy, sort of like it did not exist.

    So a free ride for Bachman is not surprising

  4. Peter Sullivan

    The “news” media is afraid of or owned by the Reich Wing Hacks,…. That is the most absurd statement I have read out here in a long time!!! The New York Times is afraid of or owned by Right Wing Hacks????? Comical…..

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