Network Morning Shows Laud the Comedy of 'Lively,' SNL-worthy Kagan

All three morning shows on Wednesday made sure to tout the "lively" sense of humor of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, this as ABC continued to ignore the hearings. Over two days, Good Morning America has devoted a scant 67 seconds to Barack Obama's nominee.

After a news brief featuring Kagan cracking jokes at her hearings, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos gushed, "...If this Supreme Court thing doesn't work out, she's got another career in stand-up." [Audio available here.] 

Guest host Elizabeth Vargas hyperbolically asserted that Saturday Night Live couldn't "be as funny as Elena Kagan was!"

Today's Kelly O'Donnell prefaced clips of Kagan's humor by fawning, "But the real surprise has been that both Democrats and Republicans found something to smile about."

She added, "And there were actually a number of other of those kinds of personable, humorous exchanges and maybe some of that came out because it was such a grind, more than 10 hours."

Over on CBS's Early Show, reporter Jan Crawford warned that "aggressive" Republicans were on the "attack." She observed, "But Kagan was blunt and didn't hide her background." Crawford, too, highlighted Kagan's comedy: "And while the day was dominated by tough questions, there were moments of levity."

The journalist enthused, "On one point, both sides agreed." She then played a clip of Senator Arlen Specter touting the nominee's "admirable sense of humor."

Crawford did note that Kagan wasn't entirely forthcoming. Referencing the fact that the potential judge has previously called such hearings a charade, the reporter concluded, "...So she really did that dance that we've seen from nominees year after year after year up here."

Due to the almost non-existent nature of ABC's coverage, the program skipped any mention of Kagan's testimony on Don't Ask/Don't Tell. The Early Show reported her statement of opposition to it. Today's O'Donnell featured this exchange:

KELLY O'DONNELL: In the most intense exchange, the committee's top Republican, Jeff Sessions, pounded Kagan for restricting where on campus where the military could recruit when she was dean at Harvard Law.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS: You were punishing the military.

O'DONNELL: Kagan insisted recruiters had access to students. She said the military ban on gays serving openly conflicted with Harvard's anti-discrimination policy.

KAGAN: I have repeatedly said that I believe that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy is unwise and unjust. I believed it then and I believe it now.

SESSIONS: I know you were an outspoken leader against the military policy.

For a recap of Tuesday's morning show coverage of Kagan, see an earlier NewsBusters post.

A transcript of ABC's brief segment, which aired at 7:14am, follows:

JUJU CHANG: Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan faces what is likely her final round of questioning from senators today. Her first day of confirmation testimony was long and, at times, tense. But, Kagan proves she has a lively sense of humor.

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM: Where are you at on Christmas day?

ELENA KAGAN: You know, like all Jews, I was probably in a Chinese restaurant.

SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER: You've already said you're in favor of televising the court.

KAGAN: It means I would have to get my hair done more often, Senator Specter.

SENATOR ORRIN HATCH: We have to have a back and forth every once in a while. Or this place would be boring as hell, I'll tell you.

KAGAN: And it gets the spotlight off me.

CHANG [Laughs]: That's the news at 7:15. Excellent ad-libs. But the real question, George and Elizabeth, is who is going to play her in the SNL skit?

ELIZABETH VARGAS: Oh, it's ripe for it, isn't it? Although, I don't think they could be as funny as Elena Kagan was!

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, if this Supreme Court thing doesn't work out, she's got another career in stand-up.

VARGAS: Absolutely.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org