Apparently, "I will think before I tweet" should be on Irin Carmon's New Year's resolution list. Her failure to do so shortly before the ball dropped in Times Square signaling the beginning of 2014 has caused her considerable embarrassment.
On Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction which "temporarily prevented(the government) from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements (in Obamacare) against the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged." MSNBC Digital National Reporter Carmon then proceeded to compare the "wise Latina" to the man who betrayed Julius Caesar (HT Twitchy):
Readers are advised to remove all food, fluids, and flammables from proximity to their computers before proceeding. You've been warned.
NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams on this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show actually said that when it comes to nominating judges, "A Democratic president is more likely to appoint somebody near the middle who is less ideological" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NPR's Nina Totenberg strangely cast doubt on the liberal credentials of Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor on Saturday's Early Show on CBS, claiming that "they're not nearly as liberal as justices were...thirty years ago." Totenberg also hinted that the other members of the Court were right-wing radicals: "Compared to the much more conservative members of the Court, they are liberal."
Anchor Russ Mitchell brought on the journalist for her take of the most recent term of the Supreme Court. Near the end of the interview, Mitchell noted how "this was the first full term for President Obama's two appointees, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor" and asked, "What do you think? Did we see a shift in the Court's philosophy this year at all?"
Using his best attempt at a football analogy, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) tried to explain Wednesday that Speaker Pelosi is the best choice for the Democrat House leadership even though she is unpopular with the American voters -- or in football, the home fans.
"What the Republicans and others in these campaigns are asking us to do is to say 'Well, because the Jets fans are booing Eli Manning, take him off the field'," the congressman explained.
One wonders how Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center managed to get a hold of a private letter sent to President Obama by Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe advising him against nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, but be that as it may, its contents are quite interesting and show just how nakedly political Tribe’s view of a justice really is and also how little he thinks of Sotomayor.
In the May 2009 letter (PDF link here), Tribe advises Obama to refrain from choosing Sotomayor because “she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is” and also that she is a “bully” who would would be unable to try to persuade frequent SCOTUS swing vote Anthony Kennedy to a “pragmatically progressive direction,” something that Tribe believes former justice David Souter had managed to do on occasion.
After some discussion of a Gallup poll showing Americans have little trust in the mainstream media, host Uma Pemmaraju shifted the discussion to the new Supreme Court study from Times Watch. (Watch the video here.)
Fox News Host Uma Pemmaraju: "But there's another poll, out right now that looks at media behavior as well and specifically how the media handles the Supreme Court nominees, how are those related?"
As liberal Justice Elena Kagan takes her place on the Supreme Court next week, she could thank The New York Times for making her confirmation process smoother. Ever since Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork and he was rejected by the Senate in 1987 for his views and not his character or qualifications, confirmation battles for liberals have become less like judicial seminars and more like political campaigns.
For almost 20 years, in this new era of activist groups and activist reporters, TheNew York Times has covered Supreme Court fights with a heavy finger on the scales of justice, tipping the balance. They have painted conservatives as highly controversial and dangerously ideological, while liberal nominees were presented as "brilliant" moderates who were only newsworthy in that they were often laudably "historic" choices, or, in Kagan's case, she was not only "brilliant," but "very funny, warm and witty."
For Supremely Slanted, Times Watch analyzed the arc of coverage over the last two decades and the last seven Supreme Court justices, from Clarence Thomas's nomination in 1991 to Elena Kagan's confirmation in 2010, and found stark differences in how the Times reported on the four Justices nominated by Democrats versus the three nominated by Republicans.
Times Watch examined every substantive New York Times news story on each nomination, starting with the official presidential announcement and ending with the Senate vote confirming the nominee to the Supreme Court. Among the findings:
A stark pro-Democratic double standard in labeling:
The Times demonstrated a 10-1 disparity in labeling "conservative" justices nominated by Republicans compared to "liberal" ones nominated by Democrats.
In all, the three Republican-nominated justices were labeled "conservative" 105 times, while the four justices nominated by Democrats were labeled liberal on just 14 occasions.
Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor came off as a 2nd Amendment defender when she was being questioned during her confirmation hearings. She voted the other way when a gun rights case came to The Court.Can we now trust Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan?
A liberal panel led by MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews injected sexism into the Kagan confirmation hearings on Tuesday morning, suggesting that Republican senators should curtail the tenacity of their questioning because the Supreme Court nominee happens to be a woman.
Invoking the Clarence Thomas hearings, which focused on the testimony of Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of making inappropriate sexual comments, Matthews asked, "Am I wrong in hearing flashes here of the Anita Hill testimony way back when in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings?"
Despite the absence of a sexual scandal, Matthews persisted with the bizarre analogy: "Are we past the sensitivity about a male member of the Senate grilling a female?"
The "Hardball" host failed to clarify exactly who in 2010 is sensitive about male senators posing tough but legitimate questions to a woman nominated to the nation's highest court.
When President Bush nominated John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court in 2005, the media did not hesitate to describe both men as "very conservative," but when President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan this year many in the press couldn't seem to identify any liberal ideology. The Media Research Center has produced a video compilation of examples to further demonstrate the obvious double standard. [Audio available here]
During ABC's live special coverage of Roberts's nomination on July 19, 2005, then This Week host and former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos declared: "This is a very conservative man with a strong paper trail that proves it." NPR's Nina Totenberg could hardly contain her urge to label, using the word "conservative" several times during a July 23 appearance on Inside Washington: "John Roberts is a really conservative guy...he's a conservative Catholic....[President Bush] has given conservatives a hardline conservative."
The same labeling followed Alito's nomination months later. CBS's Bob Schieffer opened the October 31 Evening News by proclaiming: “Conservatives wanted a conservative on the Supreme Court, and said the President ought to risk a fight in the Senate to get one. Their wishes have been fulfilled.” Later that evening, on a special 7PM ET hour edition of CNN's The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer described: "...there is a new nomination and new controversy. A battle shapes up as the president picks a staunch conservative who could help reshape the U.S. Supreme Court."
NBC and ABC on Thursday night framed stories around concerns of “abortion rights” advocates who want proof Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is on their side, but both cloaked their pieces around the proposition “both sides” of the debate are equally worried.
With “Where Does She Stand?” as the on-screen heading, as if there is genuine belief Obama would have selected the judge without knowing she'd uphold Roe v Wade, NBC anchor Lester Holt set up a story through the prism of pro-abortion activists as he announced that White House “spokesman Robert Gibbs says the President did not specifically ask her about the right to privacy, a key issue in the abortion debate.” Reporter Pete Williams proceeded to declare that Sotomayor's stand on abortion is “a mystery” as “both sides on the abortion issue agree...they're eager to know exactly what Sonia Sotomayor thinks about abortion and the constitution.” Viewers then heard only from one side, an “abortion rights advocate.”
A baffled CBS. The CBS Evening News, which in 2005 had no doubt about how John Roberts and Samuel Alito were dangerous conservatives, expressed bewilderment Wednesday evening over where Obama's Supreme Court nominee stands. “Pundits usually label judges as either liberal or conservative, but that won't be easy with Judge Sotomayor,” Katie Couric propounded in setting up a piece from Wyatt Andrews, who concluded:
President Obama, then, has found a judge with 17 years experience but no clear ideology on discrimination, gay rights, or abortion and who can't be easily defined by political labels.
At least not by the CBS newscast, which back in 2005 asserted Roberts would move “the court further to the right” and fretted over the Alito pick “tilting the Supreme Court in a solidly conservative direction for years to come.”
Amazingly, after showing no reluctance in 2005 to describe John Roberts and Sam Alito as “conservative” or worse, the Tuesday network evening newscasts, particularly ABC and NBC, applied more “conservative” tags to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's critics than “liberal” labels to her, as the coverage suggested calling her a liberal was a hasty judgment from accusatory partisans. In total, ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News combined for a piddling two uses of the “liberal” term while issuing a “conservative” tag eight times. (CBS viewers heard “liberal” four times and “conservative” just once.)
Setting up a look at Sotomayer's record, ABC anchor Charles Gibson fretted about how conservatives had “already” assessed her: “Even before the President announced his decision, conservatives were reviewing Judge Sotomayor's judicial record and were already saying she would be an activist on the court.” Jan Crawford Greenburg then framed any notion of Sotomayer as liberal as based on accusations from conservatives: “...which conservatives have called code for,” “...conservatives today seized on this comment” and “already, conservatives have jumped on the decision.”
Over on NBC, Pete Williams presumed a conflict between her rise from poverty and being liberal: “Despite her remarkable personal odyssey, Judge Sotomayor is already being called a liberal activist by some conservative groups.” (That sentence included NBC's only liberal label utterance during four segments.)
On the June 3, 2009 Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow cited a false quote attributed to Rush Limbaugh in which the radio host supposedly said he wanted to award Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin the Medal of Honor. Since Limbaugh expressed interest in becoming part owner of the St. Louis Rams in October, several MSNBC hosts have repeated that and other false quotes.
Reacting to Limbaugh calling then Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, Maddow declared: “When you get called racist by the guy who says the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. should get the Medal of Honor, consider yourself honored. Also, nauseated.” Maddow’s dishonest rant was originally reported by NewsBusters’ D. S. Hube.
Before lying about Limbaugh, Maddow attacked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for also labeling Sotomayor as racist and not fully retracting his statement: “Last week, Mr. Gingrich used Twitter to declare that Judge Sotomayor is a Latina woman racist. Today, he issued a statement that seemed designed to take credit for retracting that comment without actually retracting it.” Viewers are still waiting for MSNBC to retract its charge of racism against Limbaugh based on fabricated quotes.
Reporting on Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Saturday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews declared: "...she’s not always the reserved, work-aholic judge she portrayed in the Senate hearings....The judge is also known for her can't-miss Christmas parties, which included salsa dancing inside the federal court of appeals in Manhattan." [Audio/video (1:25): Mp3 | WMV]
Andrews offered a detailed report on Sotomayor’s down-to-earth personality as he spoke with her friends and colleagues: "...according to friends, like former law clerk Allison Barkoff, the Judge has a big, engaging, New York personality." Barkoff exclaimed: "She is fun. She – she works hard and she plays hard." No mention was made in the segment of Sotomayor’s infamous "wise Latina" comments.
As an example of how the newest member of the Supreme Court "plays hard" Andrews described: "Melissa Murray clerked for two federal judges, including Sotomayor, and when both judges came to Melissa’s wedding, Sotomayor challenged the other judge to a dance-off." After describing Sotomayor’s "can’t-miss" Christmas party, Andrews added: "Sotomayor knew and invited everyone in the courthouse." Barkoff explained: "The people who work in the cafeteria, the security guards, the custodians, are equally as important as her colleagues."
ABC’s "Nightline" on Thursday celebrated Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court as a "Jackie Robinson moment" and also highlighted cheering crowds at an event put on by the left-wing Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund (PRLDF). Correspondent John Donvan failed to identify the liberal bent of the organization, which has vociferously lobbied for abortion rights, though he did note that Sotomayor served on the group’s board.
In addition to comparing Sotomayor’s confirmation to Jackie Robinson’s entry into baseball, Donvan actually brought on Democratic operative-turned-ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos to reference what it was like for Greek Americans when Michael Dukakis ran for President in 1988. Stephanopoulos enthused, "There was something that trumped the politics, the partisanship. I knew a lot of Republican Greeks who were supporting a Democrat for first time just because he was one of them."
Donvan described the Greek American Stephanopoulos as "somebody who should know" what it felt like. But he failed to specifically mention that the ABC host also worked for the Dukakis campaign at the time. Earlier in the piece, Donvan raved, "And while this is definitely a Latino thing, it is also, we should say, an American thing....Call it a Jackie Robinson moment, to borrow a lesson from sports."
In Frank Rich's Sunday column for the New York Times, "Small Beer, Big Hangover," Rich drained the last dregs out of the White House beer summit, involving the president, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley, but not before using it to launch his grand unified field theory of the re-emergence of racism among conservatives in the wake of Obama's victory.
Deploying his usual melodramatic flair (Rich was once the paper's theatre critic), Rich wrapped the Gates arrest controversy together with the Birther brigade, and tied on other events with the slightest hint of skin-color content, like Judge Sonia Sotomayor's impending Supreme Court confirmation.
The White House get-together took place to quell an outcry after Obama, during a national press conference, said the Cambridge police had acted "stupidly" in arresting Gates.
The comforting thing about each "national conversation on race" is that the "teachable moment" passes before any serious conversation can get going.
On Monday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez misrepresented Senator John McCain’s words from an interview with his colleague John King on Sunday about the GOP’s outreach with Latinos. He described the Arizona Republican as recommending that “the Republican Party needs to find competent Hispanics who can fit into the party,” when McCain never used the word “competent.”
Sanchez had CNN contributor Roland Martin aboard during the final two segments of the 3 pm Eastern hour, and first played a clip from the McCain interview from Sunday’s State of the Union program, where the defeated presidential candidate warned that “unless we reverse the trend of Hispanic voter registration, we have a very, very deep hole that we’ve got to come out of.” The anchor continued that McCain “went on to say, interestingly enough, that the Republican Party needs to find competent Hispanics who can fit into the party. They need to actually recruit them -- is the word he uses.” Martin interrupted Sanchez and asked for a clarification: “Did he actually say 'competent'?” The CNN anchor replied: “Competent, they have to be competent.”
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show, invited on conservative columnist and author Michelle Malkin to discuss several topics ranging from Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s arrest to Malkin's critique of Michelle Obama, but when the subject of only one Republican voting for Sonia Sotomayor in the Senate Judiciary committee came up, Lauer wondered if that would hurt the GOP with Hispanics as he queried: "After the, the last election it was said that the Republicans need to broaden the tent, they need to reach out to minorities. Reach out to Hispanics. Is that, are those six 'no' votes gonna hurt Republicans down the road?"
Lauer also expressed incredulity that Malkin dared to "take on," the First Lady as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about your book. In it -- I mean clearly we know by the co-, we know by the title where it goes – you take on Michelle Obama-
MICHELLE MALKIN: I certainly do.
LAUER: -in this book. You call her the "First Crony."
The Sunday Week in Review cover story by New York Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson, "Women On The Verge Of The Law," dealt with the just-concluded confirmation hearings of Obama Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, and how things have changed and not changed since the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings, which also featured the grilling of a minority woman, Anita Hill.
At least that's Abramson's strange take on the hearings: linking Judge Sotomayor with Hill, the law professor and former Thomas employee who accused Thomas of sexual harassment at the hearings that riveted the nation. The story's subhead: "After Anita Hill, a few things in Congress changed. Not all."
Abramson's thrust is that the all-white male Senate Judiciary Committee mistreated Hill and failed to take her anti-Thomas accusations seriously. That should surprise no one, given Abramson's "Strange" history: She is coauthor, with liberal reporter Jane Meyer, of the 1994 book on the hearings, "Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas," written when Abramson and Meyer were reporters for the Wall Street Journal.
The serially dishonest Frank Rich, a New York Times columnist, wouldn't know an example of racism if it sat on his head.
In his latest column he haughtily bloviates in an attempt to turn the tables on Republican senators by accusing those who grilled Judge Sonia Sotomayor during her Supreme Court confirmation proceeding last week of being the real racists.
Yet the Sotomayor show was still rich in historical significance. Someday we may regard it as we do those final, frozen tableaus of Pompeii. It offered a vivid snapshot of what Washington looked like when clueless ancien-régime conservatives were feebly clinging to their last levers of power, blissfully oblivious to the new America that was crashing down on their heads and reducing their antics to a sideshow as ridiculous as it was obsolescent. [...]
On Monday’s Hannity show on FNC, actor Jon Voight accused the press of "protecting" and "covering for" President Obama by not giving enough coverage to dissatisfaction with the President’s economic policies, including the anti-tax TEA party protests:
But the press, the press brought him in, and now they want to make sure that nobody topples the throne, it seems. So they don't report anything that will interfere with his policies. But when the news is biased, it can, you know, it can control the people in a dangerous way. We see what's going on in Venezuela, and we're shocked. We're shocked to see Hugo Chavez closing down the, the opposition media. We're shocked when we see what's happening to the truth in Iran. But this same thing is happening in our country right now. The Obama regime is controlling the press. They protect him, they cover for him, and they don't want the truth to come out that there is this dissatisfaction, that people are waking up, and it's being expressed in these TEA parties.
He also charged that Obama had been dishonest in promising to protect Israel, and that the President had a "cunning ability" to push his policies through Congress without proper debate:
Summing up Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's performance during four days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg on Thursday night asserted “Republicans argued her views on issues like abortion and gun rights, and her controversial speeches, proved Sotomayor was a liberal activist who would rely on empathy.”
But, Greenburg countered, “Sotomayor -- calmly, persistently, repeatedly -- described herself differently, sounding almost conservative.” To illustrate, Greenburg played this soundbite from Sotomayor: “The great beauty of this nation: that we do leave those law-making to our elected branches, and that we expect our courts to understand its limited role.” Greenburg at least noted “Republicans complained of a confirmation conversion.”
Earlier in her story, Greenburg, who admired how “she really kept her cool throughout,” touted how “Sotomayor finally showed anger” as “she was steely when asked if she ignored the claims of white and Hispanic firefighters who sued for discrimination.”
[Update, 10:36 pm Eastern: audio and video links added below.]
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez devoted an entire segment on Thursday’s Newsroom program to his interviews of five “wise Latina” women from his hometown of Miami, including his own mother, about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Though Sanchez did point out how many Americans disagreed with the nominee’s decision in the New Haven firefighters case, all of the women supported Sotomayor [audio clips from the segment are available here; the video clips are available at this link].
The anchor traveled to Miami, in his words, going “out of the D.C. Beltway and find some other Latina women with a smart take on one of their own.” He conducted the interviews around the dinner table in his mother’s house, or, in his mother’s case, in the adjourning kitchen. Sanchez gave a preview of the segment on the Wednesday edition of Newsroom while on location in the south Florida metropolis. Both days, the CNN anchor featured the clip from his interview of his mother, who, through her son’s translation (she’s originally from Cuba), voiced her support for the Supreme Court nominee and her identification with her. Also on both days, Sanchez made light of the now-infamous “wise Latina” label that Sotomayor had used in the past, and is now being scrutinized over.
In his Wednesday afternoon "Caucus" post on nytimes.com, "Conservative Ad Accuses Sotomayor of Supporting Terrorists," Times legal reporter Charlie Savage used a new anti-Sotomayor ad from the Committee for Justice to smear the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004.
Taking advantage of the fact that the new ad was written by someone also involved in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign in 2004, Savage applied the same "unsubstantiated charges" template the Times used to attack the Swift Boat Veterans but went even further, all but calling the group's charges "lies."
With all the media focus this week concerning the confirmation hearings for Sonia Sotomayor, the woman who could become the first Hispanic member of the Supreme Court, it will be interesting to see if anyone notices a confrontation that happened Thursday between Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.) and Harry Alford, the CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.
During a hearing concerning the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- cap and tax to you and me -- Boxer for some reason chose to add to the record statements from the NAACP as well as the group 100 Black Men of Atlanta.
Alford took offense to this saying that the Senator was being "condescending," "racial," and it was "God awful" for her to pit the statements of other black groups against him (video embedded below the fold h/t Breitbart):
During CNN’s coverage of the Sotomayor hearings on Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin implied that the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision to uphold the Second Amendment was revolutionary: “When I was in law school...the idea that you had a Second Amendment right to a gun was considered preposterous....But the Supreme Court [in Heller]...said that...individuals have a personal right to bear arms.”
Just after the bottom of the 12 noon hour of the network’s coverage, anchor Wolf Blitzer raised the Second Amendment issue with Toobin, a graduate of Harvard Law School, and the others on their panel analyzing the hearings, which included anchor/correspondent John King; senior political analyst Gloria Borger; and correspondent Candy Crowley, as well as Republican strategist Alex Castellanos and former Clinton administration official Maria Echaveste. After playing a clip of Republican Senator Tom Coburn asking Sotomayor about the right to keep and bear arms, Blitzer asked Toobin what were the nominee’s “positions, specifically on the federal obligation to support the Second Amendment, as opposed to local communities or states?”
The CNN senior legal analyst harkened back to his law school days in his answer, and possibly revealed a bit of his formation as a liberal:
Might Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have some "'splainin' to do" about racial insensitivity? Both Associated Press editor Michael Giarrusso and Politico's Glenn Thrush raised the question in blog posts filed this morning.
Shortly before noon, Giarrusso noted that "Sen. Tom Coburn evoked a 1950s TV show in a quip responding to Sonia Sotomayor’s scenario about what he might do if she -- hypothetically, of course -- attacked him."
For online readers unaware of the half-century-old pop culture reference, Giarrusso explained:
With the start of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings the topic of abortion naturally arises – not only because it one of our most polarizing legal and social issues, but also because Sotamayor claims to be Catholic, a religion that adamantly and explicitly teaches the evil of abortion.
And while her Catholicism scares some liberals, others are using it as a selling point, and in doing so desecrating a holy image of the Virgin Mary. Felix Sanchez, the CEO of D.C. government and public relations firm TerraCom and chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, has updated his Twitter page with a background of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Over Our Lady’s face, the likeness of Sotomayor has been superimposed (shown at right).
The patron saint of all the Americas, Our Lady of Guadalupe has a special place in the hearts of Hispanic Catholics, especially Mexicans (which Sotomayor is not). But Sanchez seemed to use the image to appeal to all Hispanics and to promote his plea to “Confirm Sonia Maria Sotomayor,” as his Twitter page says.
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge.