NY Times 'News Analysis' RIPS 'Hard Right' GOP 'Wrecking-Ball Caucus' of 'Mass Dysfunction'

September 26th, 2023 12:55 PM

New York Times chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse has offered a series of stories on the apparently impending government shutdown reliably siding with the Democrats. Never mind that the national debt has now surpassed $33 trillion.

Hulse ignored that in favor of several stories painting Republicans as nihilistic extremists. Hulse’s clowning achievement was his September 25 front-page “news analysis,” “Hard Right In Congress Sows Havoc.”

After quoting “right-wing Republican” Rep. Bob Good of Virginia, who dared to claim "most of what Congress does in not good for the American people," he claimed that Good's minority view “encapsulates the perspective that is animating the hard right on Capitol Hill and, increasingly, defining a historically dysfunctional moment in American politics." And: 

With a disruptive government shutdown just days away, Washington is in the grip of an ultraconservative minority that sees the federal government as a threat to the republic, a dangerous monolith to be broken apart with little regard for the consequences. They have styled themselves as a wrecking crew aimed at the nation’s institutions on a variety of fronts.

Shaking up the labeling a little, Hulse called the House Republican bloc “the most extreme on the right.”

Even when he’s paraphrasing the “far-right” case, Hulse piles on the labeling opprobrium while letting the free-spending Democratic Party pose as the voice of sanity. That’s Hulse’s traditional method of “reporting.”

Members of the far-right Freedom Caucus and other right-wing House members see themselves as courageously doing the people’s work. They believe they are reining in government and taking on what they call a corrupt “uniparty” of Republicans and Democrats who conspire with rich donors and special interests to bankrupt the nation and beat down the average American.

Democrats consider them dangerous, out-of-control radicals, and even some of their Republican colleagues regard them as misguided outliers determined to impose their views on their party and the nation….

Inside the paper, the headline is "G.O.P.'s Hard Right Wrecking Crew in Congress Spoils for a Shutdown." The online headline was even less subtle: 

The Wrecking-Ball Caucus: How the Far Right Brought Washington to Its Knees

Right-wing Republicans who represent a minority in their party and in Congress have succeeded in sowing mass dysfunction, spoiling for a shutdown, an impeachment and a House coup.

As the shutdown scenario intensified, Hulse filed a story for the September 15 front page on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to control his right flank: “McCarthy Pulls Back Pentagon Spending Bill, Inching Closer to a Shutdown." It contained one fleeting quote from a Republican about excessive “debt-spending.”

An urgent push by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to avert a government shutdown collapsed on Thursday as he bowed to resistance from his most conservative members and abandoned an effort to bring up a Pentagon spending measure this week.

The surrender to the far right underscored the difficulties facing Mr. McCarthy as he tries to find a way to advance a series of spending bills and avoid a shutdown in two weeks, all while grasping to hold onto his post amid right-wing threats to oust him. It also illustrated his lack of influence over the far right as the opposition persisted despite his repeated urgings for lawmakers to speed approval of the funding….

In a September 16 story by Hulse, “Facing a Shutdown, Congress Melts Down,” Hulse casually took the Democrats’ side over “far-right Republicans.”

“Can’t govern, don’t want to govern,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, characterizing the demands of the extreme right in the House as, “if you don’t make the cuts we want, we shut the place down.”


Complicating things further, the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus and other far-right Republicans also insisted on packing the spending bills with anti-abortion provisions and other proposals aimed at what they deride as “woke” Democratic policies, unsettling Republicans from districts carried by Mr. Biden….

There were five “far-right” labels in Hulse’s September 18 story “A Plan to Break G.O.P.’s Spending Deadlock.” Hulse’s September 20 story, “5 Far-Right G.O.P. Members Frustrate McCarthy on Pentagon Spending Bill,” had four more, including the headline and lead.

Neither story mentioned the national debt. That doesn't match this "dangerous ultraconservative wrecking crew" narrative.