The Times Gets a Raucous Raspberry in Midtown
By 6:00 o’clock on Monday evening, an entertainingly motley crew of a hundred or so protestors had gathered across the street from New York Times headquarters at W. 43rd street in midtown Manhattan to protest the New York Times’ revelations of a secret, and successful, anti-terror program involving international bank transactions.
The stated goal of protest cosponsors Caucus for America/conservative message board Free Republic, according to a flier: "To show the New York Times that America has had enough of their irresponsible reporting of classified information that damages our country and helps our enemies!"
Rabbi Aryeh Spero of the Caucus for America did most of the talking (and chant-leading), stepping aside from time to time for others to speak. At one point he was joined on the cab of the Caucus truck by a Bin Laden impersonator cradling his precious copy of the Times.
It wasn’t a bad crowd as New York conservative protests go, with lots of huge American flags on display -- not something you see every day in Manhattan -- and a rundown of the participating groups show some impressive diversity, at least in titles: The American Academic Alliance for Israel and The American Coptic Union, to name a couple.
There was more proof that Republicans/conservatives are inexperienced with political rallies, as the presence of two loud counter-protestors seemed to surprise the Times’ protestors. The duo, an unpleasant heckler wearing a George Bush: International Terrorist t-shirt, and someone with a collection of confusing arrow signposts marked with vulgarities -- served to compete in volume with an early speaker.
Once Spero took over, with undeniable charisma and some over-the-top accusations against the Times, the energy stayed high on the anti-Times side of the street, and the 43rd street valley was soon echoing with “Traitors!” and “Prosecute the Times!” There were suggestions from two different speakers to rename Times Square “Giuliani Square” and many calls for the paper’s prosecution.
Herb London, a professor who ran for governor of New York on the Conservative Party line in 1990, spoke briefly, as did Deborah Burlingame, who lost her brother on 9-11 and became a vocal and eventually successful opponent of plans for a left-wing museum to be located at the 9-11 site.
Burlingame was interrupted by an obnoxious counter-protestor (shouting “God doesn’t like you!” as she described her brother’s death as a pilot on 9-11), a honking car alarm, and microphone problems that reduced the first part of speech to noise for most. Still, her disappointment in the “paper I read for 30 years” was clear. “I didn’t elect Bill Keller or Arthur Sulzberger.” She also called for a boycott of Times advertisers to “hurt the New York Times the way they are hurting this country.”
Times’ staffers looked down bemused from high windows (there’s a metaphor there somewhere), some snapping photos of the lively scene. The paper itself ignored the protest.
For more on this story, and more examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.