Between the multiple editorials calling for stricter gun laws and the denunciations of the NRA by its reporters, it's safe to say the urban liberals at the New York Times lack a cultural affinity for guns. Using the Sandy Hook massacre as an excuse, the paper treats as vital and disturbing Sunday front-page news something that's been going on for decades: The gun industry encouraging youth to engage in recreational shooting, hunting, and firearms training.
New York Times reporter Michael Cooper, who did not hide his disdain for Republican candidate John McCain in 2008, sees an internal threat for Republicans hidden in "the recent flurry of socially conservative legislation" emanating from state legislatures in his Saturday lead, "Concern In G.O.P. Over State Focus On Social Issues." In a bid at guilt by association, both Cooper and another Times reporter cite ALEC, conservative-affiliated nonprofit, for extremely tenuous ties to the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Luo in particular wrote several articles in 2010 suggesting the IRS and the Federal Election Commission might find it worthwhile to investigate GOP-affiliated groups making campaign ads, with Karl Rove a particular target. The Times’s concern over questionable campaign funding has certainly risen since 2008, when Obama scandals were greeted with nothing-to-see-here headline like this, from October 7, 2008: "G.O.P. Query Involves 1% of Giving to Obama." Sunday's piece is not as explicit (Obama is indulging in Super PAC's as well, as the reporters briefly note) but the implication remains:
Thursday’s front-page story by New York Times investigative reporter Mike McIntire, “Odd Alliance: Business Lobby And Tea Party.” accused a Tea Party group, the Institute for Liberty, of pushing the agenda of Asia Pulp & Paper, an Indonesian corporation fighting U.S. tariffs.
Whatever the merits of this particular complaint, this sort of prominently placed, hostile investigation of a conservative-friendly group is a specialty of McIntire’s. In a front-page article from September 2010 he went after the group Americans for Job Security, one of a flurry of McIntire exposes on the eve of the 2010 Congressional election cycle on groups with Tea Party ties.
His colleague Michael Luo went further, writing stories about “anonymous donors” trying to help Republicans “buy an election” and hinting the IRS and the Federal Election Commission should take a look at some of the Republican-friendly groups. By contrast, similar stories on Democratic groups were sporadic and belated.
McIntire’s latest story was accompanied by a fanciful flow chart showing the alleged close links between the Institute for Liberty, Frontiers of Freedom, and various other free-market lobbying firms and activist groups, headlined, “A Hidden Lobby For Indonesian Paper?” In Times land, there are no coincidences and everything is connected, at least when it comes to conservative activism.
The Tea Party does not have a presence in Indonesia, where the term evokes cups of orange pekoe and sweet cakes rather than angry citizens in “Don’t Tread on Me” T-shirts.