Really, New York Times? ‘Katie Britt, With Smiles and Menace, Delivers G.O.P. Response...'

March 9th, 2024 9:19 PM

The Republican rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address put fear in the hearts of New York Times reporters, judging by their hysterical reaction in Saturday’s edition, “Tone of Riposte by Rising G.O.P. Star Shifts Between Cheer and Gloom” by Michael Bender and Kayla Guo. The online headline was startling: “Katie Britt, With Smiles and Menace, Delivers G.O.P. Response to Biden.” 

One can imagine a world in which a Republican politician would be accused of sexist for calling, say, Kamala Harris "menacing." Or is the Times intimidated by an intense woman?

“Menace” got changed to “Fierce Glare” in the headline at some point, but the menacing tone remained in the story, as Bender and Guo seemed averse to any kind of criticism of Biden after his supposed moment of pugilistic partisan glory.

With a sunny, inviting smile, Senator Katie Britt of Alabama welcomed Americans into her kitchen on Thursday night.

Many soon backed away nervously.

In the Republican Party’s official response to President Biden’s State of the Union address, Ms. Britt delivered a jarring speech that toggled between an increasingly strained cheerfulness and a fierce glare as she gave ominous warnings about illegal immigration.

Ms. Britt, 42, has been seen as a rising Republican star and floated as a possible running mate for former President Donald J. Trump. But in the biggest moment of her fledgling political career, she delivered a tonally uneven speech that was made more unusual by the setting of her own house in Montgomery, Ala., where she sat at her kitchen table and painted a dark picture of an America in decline.

“Our commander in chief is not in command,” Ms. Britt said. “The free world deserves better than a dithering and diminished leader.”

At this point, we might want to remind Bender & Guo that their newspaper very much "painted a dark picture of an America in decline" during the Trump years. Their feelings about America depend on which party is in charge. It continued: 

Her comments were in line with messages Republicans have increasingly used to criticize Mr. Biden at the start of the election year, but her 17-minute speech seemed likely to be remembered more for her disconcerting performance. She spoke in grim detail about a child victim of sex trafficking by drug cartels and the recent killing of a Georgia nursing student in which a Venezuelan migrant has been charged.

How else would one talk about a victim of sex trafficking other than with "grim detail"?

Previous State of the Union rebuttals have been delivered from behind a lectern in official settings, but Ms. Britt chose a domestic backdrop, trying to underscore her argument that Mr. Biden represents a threat to prosperity for American families.

But the scene seemed to confuse viewers on social media, where Ms. Britt was mocked by some for using a dramatic, breathy voice to deliver critiques of the president.

Biden, predictably, fared much better among Times reporters: “In-Your-Face Biden Takes on Trump and His Own Doubters.”