Newsbusters’ Clay Waters notes an interesting rhetorical tic in the Gray Lady’s coverage of the left. I wonder if this phrase has its own entry in the Times’ style manual:
New York Times reporter Peter Baker questioned whether President Obama’s soaring rhetoric (“the most gifted orator of his generation”) was still getting through in his Sunday Week in Review piece “The Words That Once Soared,” and even let Obama aides suggest the president’s Cairo speech “was responsible for Iranians taking to the streets of Tehran to protest a disputed election.”
As the most gifted orator of his generation, President Obama finds speechmaking perhaps his most potent political tool. It propelled him to national prominence in 2004 and to the White House in 2008. And whenever he needs to calm economic fears or revive stalled health care legislation, he takes to the lectern.
The Times finds the Democratic party to be a veritable symposium of “gifted orators.” Obama’s already been called that three times before in the Times, the first instance coming all the way back on March 19, 2006 in a story by Anne Kornblut, before he was even running for president.
Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick joined Obama as a “fellow gifted orator” in a March 27, 2008 story by Abby Goodnough.
In a March 1, 2009 Times magazine story, Matt Bai said that unlike conservative Republican Newt Gingrich, Obama was a “gifted orator.”
In fact, a Nexis search and a nytimes.com search suggest that no Republican has earned the Times’s “gifted orator” appellation, not even Ronald Reagan, although the archives get fuzzier pre-1981.
Going back a little, President Bill Clinton was a “gifted orator” in October 1994, less than a month before he orated his party out of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.
It’s no surprise that former New York governor and perpetual Democratic presidential teaser Mario Cuomo was called a “gifted orator” in May 1992.
It may come as more of a surprise that screaming Howard Dean was considered a “gifted orator” in a June 2003 story, again by Matt Bai.
Why, it’s like the Times takes sides, or something!