NY Times Blames GOP for SOTU Speech Discord — But Dems Started It with George W. Bush

News & Politics

An interactive slide show posted to the New York Times site on Wednesday, the day before President Biden’s State of the Union address (“How the State of the Union Became a Picture of Disunion”) relayed a slanted history of partisan scrapping at recent State of the Union addresses that suggested Republicans were almost wholly responsible for the turn to incivility.

The slideshow featured historical text by Peter Baker, White House correspondent.

Here’s the entry for George W. Bush suggesting nothing untoward had happened at a SOTU before at least 2007: “Even at the height of the Iraq war, decorum still reigned. In 2007, George W. Bush called it a “high privilege” to address the first female speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, even though she was a vocal critic of his war policy.”

But Baker completely skipped over the start of the present-day SOTU partisanship: The booing of George W. Bush by Democrats during his State of the Union addresses in both 2004 and 2005.

And one anti-Republican point Baker included, Obama’s 2009 speech in which Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “You Lie” when Obama said illegal immigrants wouldn’t be eligible for Obamacare, was not even made at a State of the Union but at a joint session of Congress. It made the slideshow anyway.

Liberal reporter Glenn Thrush opened his 2009 Politico story by recounting Democratic misbehavior:

….In 2004, Democrats delivered a “Chorus Of Boos” during Bush’s State Of The Union when he called for renewal of the Patriot Act., according to The Washington Times.

In 2005, Dems howled, hissed and shouted “No!” when Bush pushed for Social Security reform in the SOU:  “Foreshadowing the contentiousness of the coming debate, Democrats broke decorum and booed twice,” according to the National Journal.

Even Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was lumped in when he mouthed “not true” to a statement by President Barack Obama during the 2010 SOTU — but that squabble was started by Obama himself, when the president broke decorum by singling out the Supreme Court (who were in the chamber) for what he considered a bad decision on campaign finance.

But Baker’s text suggested Alito was the bad actor: “During his 2010 State of the Union, Justice Samuel Alito mouthed “not true” when Mr. Obama chided the Supreme Court over a campaign finance ruling.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the cut after ripping up her copy of President Donald Trump’s speech in 2020. Marjorie Taylor Green’s 2023 “You lie” outburst against Biden was also represented, as was Rep. Lauren Boebert heckling of Biden in 2022 “while talking about his dead son.”

In a previous Times deletion of inconvenient SOTU history, congressional reporter Carl Hulse’s reporting on Wilson’s 2009 outburst treated it as unprecedented, skipping the Democratic boobirds coming out at Bush’s 2005 SOTU before belatedly throwing in a sentence in a follow-up story.

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