CBS’s Pelley Labels Bork ‘Arch Conservative,’ Provides Innocuous Definition of ‘To Bork’

ABC’s Diane Sawyer described Robert Bork, who passed away Wednesday at age 85, as “an icon to conservatives” and NBC anchor Brian Williams called him a “conservative icon,” but CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley decided he was an “arch conservative.” He then played, without censure, a portion of Senator Ted Kennedy’s disgraceful attack and offered up an innocuous definition of “to Bork,” which Pelley asserted simply “means to attack a nominee for political reasons.”

On FNC’s Special Report, however, James Rosen more accurately conveyed: “So epic and nasty was the battle over Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court in the summer of 1987 that the process gave rise to the verb ‘to Bork,’ which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘systematic vilification in the media to block a person’s appointment to public office.’”

From the Wednesday, December 19 CBS Evening News:

SCOTT PELLEY: Remember Robert Bork? He first came to fame in 1973 when he was the U.S. Solicitor General. Bork carried out President Nixon’s so-called “Saturday Night Massacre,” firing the Watergate special prosecutor. Payback came when President Reagan nominated Bork to the Supreme Court. The Democratically-controlled Senate rejected the arch conservative after one of the most contentious confirmation hearings ever. This is part of Senator Ted Kennedy’s opening statement.

SENATOR TED KENNEDY: Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back alley abortions.

PELLEY: Bork denied that and while he didn’t make the court, he did make the dictionary. “Bork” means to attack a nominee for political reasons. Robert Bork died today of heart disease. He was 85.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center