The New York Times suddenly isn't so fond of community organizing, now that the right has gotten into the game, attacking Obama's health-care proposals in clamorous town halls held by Democratic congressmen over the August recess.
In fact, the Times agrees with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that such meetings have become "hostile" and "extreme." "Beyond Beltway, Health Debate Turns Hostile" is the headline over a very slanted front-page story Saturday by Ian Urbina.
The bitter divisions over an overhaul of the health care system have exploded at town-hall-style meetings over the last few days as members of Congress have been shouted down, hanged in effigy and taunted by crowds. In several cities, noisy demonstrations have led to fistfights, arrests and hospitalizations.
Democrats have said the protesters are being organized by conservative lobbying groups like FreedomWorks. Republicans respond that the protests are an organic response to the Obama administration's health care restructuring proposals.
There is no dispute, however, that most of the shouting and mocking is from opponents of those plans. Many of those opponents have been encouraged to attend by conservative commentators and Web sites.
Blogs on both sides of the political aisle exploded last night, as first reports rolled in about a union event breaking out at a fight. That’s an exaggeration, of course. However, here are the facts, as far as we’re able to tell.
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) scheduled a last-minute town hall meeting for yesterday evening, essentially tagging along on Florida State Rep. Betty Reed’s (D) already-scheduled town hall meeting. This meeting was also officially hosted by the Service Employees international Union, a highly politically active union that is a reliable ally of liberal Democratic politicians. Between RedState.com and conservative talk-radio king Rush Limbaugh, local conservative activists found out about this meeting and decided to crash the party.
The first reports came in through the Tampa Bay local media, depicting a rowdy town hall meeting interrupted by conservative activists demanding to be heard. This was a fairly straightforward story which contained simple quotes and facts, written by one William March. There was one quote which was particularly intriguing: