Covering President Obama's health care address to Congress, congressional reporter Carl Hulse filed a full story on the outburst by Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, "In Lawmaker's Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol." Yet Hulse managed to ignore his own reporting from Bush's 2005 State of the Union Address to suggest the GOP had been uniquely disrespectful to President Obama.
There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false -- the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.
The Times is glossing over the fact that nothing in any of the Democrat bills requires citizen verification.
Reporter Hulse huffed:
It was a rare breach of the protocol that governs ritualistic events in the Capitol.
In an angry and very audible outburst, Representative Joe Wilson, Republican of South Carolina, interrupted President Obama's speech Wednesday night with a shout of "You lie!"
His eruption -- in response to Mr. Obama's statement that Democratic health proposals would not cover illegal immigrants -- stunned members of both parties in the House chamber.
Democrats said it showed lack of respect for the office of the presidency and was reminiscent of Republican disruptions at recent public forums on health care.
"It is outrageous," said Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York, who said it reminded him of the "antics that are being used to disrupt and fog what is going on."
After the speech, Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff who sat a few rows in front of Mr. Wilson, said he immediately approached senior Republican lawmakers to encourage them to identify the heckler and urge him to issue an apology quickly.
"No president has ever been treated like that. Ever," Mr. Emanuel said.
Other Democrats said they did not want to dwell on the outburst or allow it to overshadow what they saw as an effective address by the president. But they also said it bolstered their contention that some Republicans were not interested in constructive dialogue, and they noted that Democratic plans specifically barred coverage for illegal immigrants.
The best Hulse could do for precedent was a flashback to 1993, when Democrat Bill Clinton pushed health care before Congress. Hulse then recited a contemporaneous Times report blaming the GOP: "...many on the Republican side of the aisle began snickering, shaking their heads skeptically and making faces at each other."
But Hulse didn't have to go back that far for a verbal show of disrespect to a president. Strangely, Hulse skipped over his very own reporting from George W. Bush's 2005 State of the Union, where Bush was verbally attacked by Democrats when he brought up Social Security reform.
From the February 3, 2005 edition, "Democrats Take Aim at Social Security Proposal, Calling It a Risky Gamble," written by Hulse and Adam Nagourney:
From the moment Mr. Bush turned to the subject of Social Security in his speech, there was no doubt of the intensely partisan battle his proposal had spawned. Democrats hollered "no, no!" as a Mr. Bush asserted that the Social Security system "would be exhausted and bankrupt" in 40 years, making it appear for a moment that Mr. Bush was standing in the well at the British House of Commons.
Hulse and Nagourney didn't devote a full story accusing Democrats of showing "lack of respect for the office of the presidency," or lump them with liberal anti-Bush protesters, or survey prominent Republicans demanding apologies from the Democrats. Neither did any of the other Times reporters who covered Bush's 2005 speech. Instead, they briefly mentioned the hostile Democratic response, and moved on to how hard it would be for Bush to achieve his goals.
He was relaxed and smooth in his delivery, even when some Democrats hooted in derision at his assertions that Social Security is in dire financial straits.
At other points in Mr. Bush's long discourse on Social Security, they rumbled and hissed, fairly rare behavior during State of the Union addresses.