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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):
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.
Debating the fallout of the Obama administration's attempt to squelch Arizona's popular immigration law before it goes into effect later this month, CNN's Campbell Brown on July 6 challenged a chief advocate of the law with a multi-pronged assault, only to see her attacks thwarted and her "misinformation" corrected.
In a blatant contradiction, Brown dismissed State Senator Russell Pearce's (R-Ariz.) "anecdote" about ranchers who are under siege because of the federal government's failure to secure the porous border, but highlighted anecdotal evidence of opposition to the new law.
"Well, I want to stay away from the anecdotal and stick with the figures as much as we can here," instructed Brown when confronted with evidence of the Obama administration's inability to stem the tide of illegal immigration.
Later in the interview, Brown peddled the minority opinion among law enforcement groups to rebuke Pearce's assertion that courts have upheld the right of states to enforce federal law:
CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos has a penchant for quirky, off-beat reporting, but what happens when the eccentric newswoman gives a more accurate picture of important events than the serious journalists?
While media outlets relentlessly denounced BP CEO Tony Hayward for taking Saturday off to participate in a yacht race, they mostly glossed over or completely ignored President Barack Obama's Saturday golf outing with Vice President Joe Biden.
It was left to CNN's resident humorist to connect the dots.
"It's the yachting versus golf smack down, round one," declared Moos. "BP's CEO gets pummeled for taking a day off to watch his yacht race...CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller says already President Obama has played 39 rounds of golf, compared to the 24 George Bush played his entire presidency."
In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama cast doubt on President Bush's pick of Harriet Miers in part because "her [legal] experience does not include serving as a judge" and as such "we have yet to know her views on many of the critical constitutional issues facing our country today."
Yet five years later, after President Obama named his solicitor general -- who has also never served as a judge -- to the Supreme Court, the media are not picking up on the parallels between the Miers pick and Obama's choice of Elena Kagan.
Media Research Center President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell discussed this on today's "Fox & Friends" program in an interview via satellite shortly before 8:30 a.m. EDT [MP3 audio available here].:
Americans have been so bombarded with the word "crisis," it appears to have lost all meaning. But according to a distinguished scholar at the Cato Institute, there is a real, serious crisis pending in America's addiction to entitlement programs, government-dependence, and imaginary "rights" to live off future generations.
"You will have to look into the future, do the responsible thing, and begin moving toward a system of personal accounts. That is the only long-term solution," said Jose Pinera of America's social security and pension system.
Pinera knows what he's talking about - he's the architect of social security reform in Chile. Introducing a recent interview with Pinera, Fox Business Network's Brian Sullivan said, "Thirty years ago, the social security system of Chile was broke, flat-busted. Entitlement reform was just destroying the nation's finances. In walks the Harvard-educated Jose Pinera. He pushed through by force of will a plan to privatize their entire entitlement system and social security - there is no government social security in Chile now - and everybody has a private account."
On the December 9, 2008, Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann charged that Bush administration members – whom he did not specify by name but presumably President Bush was meant to be included – deserve to be "in hell," as he cited a report that a post-war insurgency in Iraq using roadside bombs to attack U.S. troops had been predicted by the U.S. military before the invasion. During the show’s regular "Bushed!" segment, Olbermann lambasted the Bush administration:
So not only did the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignore the prewar intel, that the WMD we sought to recover were not in Iraq, but the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored that if we removed Saddam Hussein an insurgency of some sort would develop in Iraq. And now we learn the Bush administration and the Bush Pentagon ignored the prewar intel that when an insurgency did develop, it would use roadside bombs to kill the troops we needlessly sent there.
I don’t know what, if any religion you belong to, but I suspect you’ll agree that people who ignored that many foretellings of preventable death should have a long time to think about it in hell!
Below is a complete transcript of the "Bushed!" segment from the December 9, 2008, Countdown show on MSNBC, with critical portions in bold:
The people just don't know Caroline like I do. That was the essence of Andrea Mitchell's defense of the would-be senator after Pat Buchanan analogized her to another nominee who famously flopped. Appearing on Morning Joe, Buchanan unleashed a merciless metaphor.
PAT BUCHANAN: It's not only entitlement. It appears–we are getting close to Harriet Miers country, where Bush put her out there, and it became transparent when people started going after her that she wasn't quite up to this --
Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick was at age 31 the youngest elected Mayor in the history of Detroit, the Motor City. Now, at 38, he is also the Vice President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors as well as that organization's representative to the Democratic National Committee. He also seems to have a problem with appropriate behavior... then lies about it to try to cover it up. But one thing he doesn't seem to have to worry about is the MSM telling people he's a Democrat!
In a series of articles with ongoing coverage the Detroit Free Press reveals the attempted cover-up of an affair between Mayor Kilpatrick and his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.
The headline to today's lead story in the New York Times by Jim Rutenberg and Steven Lee Myers on the impending resignation of Karl Rove, Bush's chief political advisor, included the subhead "A Bare-Knuckle Style of Politics."
Rove as ruthless partisan brawler was indeed a theme that permeated both Tuesday's lead story and chief political reporter Adam Nagourney's accompanying analysis.
From Rutenberg and Rove's lead:
"With his voice breaking at times, and with President Bush at his side on the South Lawn of the White House, Karl Rove said Monday that he would resign as a deputy White House chief of staff at the end of the month. The decision ends Mr. Rove's role as the president's longest-serving and closest aide, and the one who most personified the bare-knuckle brand of politics Mr. Bush favors."
As if allowing this anti-American Bush-hater to have his own series wasn't enough, the brilliant folks at HBO decided to give Bill Maher another comedy special to rail against all things conservative.
For those on the left hoping for some truly vile attacks on the GOP, Saturday's "Bill Maher: The Decider" surely must have hit the spot.
In fact, of the 60 minutes Maher was given, upwards of 40 were spent eviscerating the President, his staff, Republican presidential candidates, and religious figures. In reality, this was a virtual campaign video for Democrats.
With that in mind, what follows are some of the lowlights in no particular order. However, the reader is cautioned that this is not edited for content, and contains some truly vulgar language.
Rosie O’Donnell, the new host of "The View," restrained herself for exactly one week before letting fly with her extreme liberalism. On the September 12 edition, in response to fellow co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s comment that militant Islam is a grave threat, O’Donnell stated that "radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America." The comedienne also attacked America’s response to 9/11:
O’Donnell: "We were attacked not by a nation. And as a result of the attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries."
Advice to any Republican loyalists planning to watch a replay of this evening's Hardball: hide the sharp objects, put the firearms under lock and key, flush any potentially poisonous potions. With lovely-but-lethal Norah O'Donnell sitting in for Chris Matthews, this might have been the most unrelenting gloom-a-thon since Watergate. Riffing off the latest polls showing W at 33%, it was one guest after another - from Bob Shrum to Kate O'Beirne to a panel of "hotshots" - painting a decidedly unrosy scenario. And just when things couldn't get any more dread, a former Clinton administration official popped in to predict millions might die from bird flu thanks to government inattention "in recent years."
At the top of the lead story for Tuesday's New York Times, reporters Richard Stevenson and Neil Lewis put the onus on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to show he’s not “too much of an ideologue.”
“Addressing concerns among Democrats that his past support for conservative positions makes him too much of an ideologue for a seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. began his public drive for confirmation Monday by saying judges should have no agendas or preferred outcomes of their own.”
Later, they make this claim to suggest Alito may find the vote rough going:
“But the biggest difference from the Roberts hearings may have been in the political climate. Since then, Mr. Bush has been weakened by the failed nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, the continued bloodshed in Iraq and the corruption inquiries that have ensnared Republican lobbyists and members of Congress.”
Today’s New York Times featured a Carl Hulse article that depicted the future of the Republican Party as being almost as bright as Alaska for the next several weeks. In Hulse’s view, just about everything that has gone wrong in America in 2005 can be linked to Republicans, while, conversely, in a 27 paragraph piece, there was only one paragraph that suggested any problems for the party on the opposite side of the aisle. Frankly, this article read more like a press release from a political strategist than a column in a leading, national newspaper.
First, Hulse set the stage: “The ugly debate in the House on Friday over the Iraq war served as an emotional send-off for a holiday recess, capturing perfectly the political tensions coursing through the House and Senate in light of President Bush's slumping popularity, serious party policy fights, spreading ethics investigations and the approach of crucial midterm elections in less than a year.”
He then established the goal: “Capitol Hill was always certain to be swept up in brutal political gamesmanship as lawmakers headed into 2006 - the midpoint of this second presidential term and, perhaps, a chance for Democrats to cut into Republican majorities or even seize power in one chamber or the other.”
Then, Hulse enumerated all the Republican shortcomings:
There’s been a lot of suggestion by the media lately -- especially since the elections last Tuesday -- that the Republican Party is in dire trouble, and could lose control of the House and the Senate in 2006. For those interested in a side of this debate that the media are ignoring, you should watch today’s “Meet the Press,” in particular the second-half with DNC chairman Howard Dean.
Some of the pertinent exchanges of note:
DR. DEAN: I think Democrats always have to stand up and tell the truth and that's what we're doing. The truth is that the president misled America when he sent us to war. They did--he even didn't tell the truth in the speech he gave. First of all, think there were a lot of veterans were kind of upset that the president chose their day to make a partisan speech.
On NBC’s “Meet The Press” this morning, host Tim Russert stocked his panel with three left-of-center journalists – Nina Totenberg of NPR, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times, and David Gregory of NBC News – to discuss the events of the week. When they got to the nomination of Samuel Alito to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Russert mentioned that when Bill Clinton was president, both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, despite obvious Liberal leanings, were approved by a strong majority of both Democrats and Republicans. “And they say, ‘Why can't we have the same courtesy to conservative jurists under President Bush?’"
In response, Totenberg said: “If you look at the Ginsburg nomination, for example, she'd been a judge, I think, for 12 years. She'd been, actually, a pretty conservative liberal judge, if you can be such a thing.” This could be the first time that anyone has referred to the former general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union as being “pretty conservative.”
As the discussion ensued, Totenberg expressed frustration with the president’s second choice to replace Sandra Day O’Connor:
In constructing a balanced panel to discuss a president's fortunes, one does not normally select one person who opposes him and. . . another person who opposes him and ran against him in a general election.
But that was the Today's show notion of 'fair & balanced' this morning. In to discuss W's drooping poll numbers were former Clinton spokesperson Dee Dee Myers and Patrick Buchanan. In introducing Buchanan, Couric highlighted his GOP credentials. But while stating Buchanan had been an aide in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan White Houses, Katie conveniently omitted mentioning that in 2000 he had, as the presidential nominee of the Reform Party, run a bitterly critical campaign against George W. Bush and has since been an incessant Bush critic, particularly on the centerpiece of Bush's foreign policy - the war in Iraq.
Wendy Wright at Concerned Women for America e-mailed that they had a surprise in their e-mail. It seems ABC reporter Linda Douglass sent them e-mail through their press person Stacey Holliday by mistake, an e-mail dripping sarcasm about their best wishes to Harriet Miers.
-----Original Message----- From: Douglass, Linda D [mailto:Linda.D.Douglass@abc.com] Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2005 10:14 AM To: Stacey Holliday Subject: Re: CWA Wishes Miss Miers All the Best
Ever the polite ladies, Concerned Women for America wish Miers "all the best". Yesterday they slammed her as someone who promotes a radical feminist agenda and called upon her to withdraw.
Within seconds of President Bush finishing his announcement of Samuel Alito as the nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, the CNN “American Morning” team was ready to attack and criticize this decision (video links to follow). First, Candy Crowley said, “I think what you're going to see is some disappointment that this is obviously a white male replacing a female, leaving just one female on the Supreme Court.”
Next up was Ed Henry:
“Candy is absolutely right. She set the stage perfectly. The word I'm hearing over and over from Democrats is ‘provocative.’ They basically say the president, A, did not consult with Democrats as he did with Chief Justice John Roberts, as he did before Harriet Miers was nominated. Also that they feel that Judge Alito is more conservative than they expected. They were hoping more of a consensus choice. This is already opening the door for Democrats to try to make the case that there are extraordinary circumstances here, i.e. that they may filibuster the nominee. That's why you heard the president immediately say that Judge Alito deserves an up or down vote. That is code for don't filibuster this nominee.”
For those of you who haven’t seen this morning’s “Meet the Press,” I highly recommend that you do so that you can see William Safire at his best, as well as some great incites from David Brooks. What follows are key statements from the two of them concerning Plamegate, and the events of the week. Though chronological in order, the numbered quotes are separate ideas that did not immediately follow one another:
1. MR. WILLIAM SAFIRE: I think that was an excellent rundown and time line of a complicated series of accusations of a cover-up, but the most important single fact that emerged from the indictment is what was not in it. This whole thing started as an investigation of the violation of a law. And the law that was violated was you must not deliberately out an agent who is undercover. And what the special counsel found is that law was not broken.
For those who have read or seen a lot of press reports since the announcement of the indictments against I. Lewis Libby on Friday, you have likely observed a growing number of quotes from White House “aides” and “insiders” concerning a state of panic and disarray within the administration. Yet, most of these reports do not give the names of the sources, and, instead, suggest that the informants wish to retain anonymity due to the current environment within the White House.
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman and Richard Wolffe wrote an article for the upcoming issue entitled, “Flying Blind,” wherein they asserted, “Team Bush is in turmoil.” To be sure, the title is quite appropriate, for not one of the eight “quotes” or paraphrases from White House “aides” identified the name of the source. In fact, two of these (the second and third bullets below) were referenced by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" this morning:
Harriet Miers was the victim of conservative "attacks," according to the lead story and its two headlines in Friday's New York Times, and another story advances a theme of vicious and unfair attacks against Miers.
"Bush's Court Choice Ends Bid After Attack By Conservatives -- Too Many Doubts," is from Elisabeth Bumiller and Carl Hulse. The headline on the jump page is similar: "Bush's Nominee for Supreme Court Ends Bid After Persistent Attacks by Conservatives."
Reporters Bumiller and Hulse first go to left-wing Sen. Ted Kennedy for a quote lambasting the "extreme right wing": "'The issue of whether the documents were the make-or-break issue is really a red herring,' said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts. 'The extreme right wing of the Republican Party have effectively undermined this nomination. They have a litmus test, and Harriet Miers didn't pass that test.'"
The Times lets the Democratic minority leader join the fun: "Democrats, who had remained largely silent as the conservative opposition to Ms. Miers grew, braced for the prospect of a highly conservative replacement choice as the administration seeks a candidate who can better unify Republicans. They said the failure of the nomination illustrated how captive Mr. Bush was to the right wing of his party. 'The only voices heard in this process were the far right,' said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, who had initially suggested Ms. Miers to Mr. Bush as a potential justice."
Cokie Roberts, on ABC's Good Morning America this morning, is accusing the conservative opposition to Harriet Miers of sexism. When asked whether the standards were higher for Miers than they would have been for a man, Roberts replied:
Absolutely. Absolutely. If this were a man who were the White House counsel, the head of the Texas Bar Association, and the head of one of the most important law firms in Dallas we would not be having this conversation about qualifications...There was a lot more sexism that anyone wants to say.
There are any number of female judges who could have been nominated and gotten exactly none of the same criticism that Miers got. Had Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen or Edith Jones or Edith Clement been nominated, there would have been a completely different discussion. And had a man with Miers' exact qualifications been named, the discussion would have proceeded exactly the same way. The charge of sexism isn't analysis - it's a cliche pulled out in lieu of analysis. Now, to Cokie's credit, she didn't just blame the conservatives. There was some uncalled for mockery on the left, and she did mention it.
And the liberal cartoonists were just as bad. The cartoons of the cleaning lady showing up saying I'm your new federal reserve chairman. I just think that would not have happened with a man.
And that part of it may be right. After all, liberals, as a general rule, can engage in racism and sexism without getting called on it by the Mainstream Media. As opposed to conservatives, who can get accused of it without engaging in it...
Tim Russert of “Meet the Press” was on the "NBC Nightly News” this evening talking about Harriet Miers. He stated that the announcement of her resignation this morning is part of a new strategy by President Bush to “get control of his second term that is spiraling out of control.” In addition, according to Russert, Republicans are calling this "The week from hell.”
In Russert’s view, Republicans weren’t interested in seeing what would happen on November 7 when the confirmation hearings were scheduled to begin, and instead advised the president to “lance it now.”
Finally, Russert said that if indictments do indeed come tomorrow from Patrick Fitzgerald, "[Republicans] hope there are plea bargains and this issue is quickly resolved and settled to spare the president’s second term."
What follows is a full transcript of this report, and a video link.
People who know Harriet Miers in Dallas, Lee Cowan reported on Thursday's CBS Evening News, think she “deserved better than this" and he quickly moved to highlight those mad at conservatives, or as one cab driver charged, the “far right.” Cowan relayed that “at a Dallas diner this morning, her withdrawal served up a lot of disappointment” where patrons were upset “that conservatives, even here in her home state, weren't willing to give her a chance." Cowan went outside and leaned into a taxi to ask the driver: "What happened?” The cabbie replied: "I think the far right, they had been itching for a big battle for years." Cowan did pass along a defense of conservatives: "Dallas talk show host Mark Davis though says local conservatives are actually just trying to watch out for the President's legacy."
Over on ABC's World News Tonight, following a lead story from Terry Moran, Linda Douglass opened a piece: "Democrats were quick to blame Miers' collapse on conservative activists, who demanded loudly that the President dump her." After a clip of Senator Harry Reid scolding the “the radical right wing of the Republican Party,” Douglass picked up on how Senator Arlen Specter "said the groups drowned her and the President out." Following bites from Senator Sam Brownback and Rush Limbaugh, she returned to the anti-conservative prism from which she began, setting up a slam from Senator Ted Kennedy by relating how Democrats say "if he chooses an ideological conservative, he will appear to be the tool of outside groups," and she concluded with how “Senator [Lindsey] Graham is urging the President to appoint someone who, in his words, 'won't blow this place up'” -- meaning a non-conservative. Pivoting from Douglass, anchor Bob Woodruff turned to George Stephanopoulos and inquired: “Does he [Bush] have to nominate a conservative to satisfy the base of his party or a moderate who would be acceptable enough to Democrats to avoid a long and prolonged fight?” Stephanopoulos listed some potential nominees before warning: “Both Priscilla Owen and Michael Luttig fall into that category that Lindsey Graham talked about. They would blow the place up." (Transcripts follow.)
I have several requirements for supporting Supreme Court nominees,
among them being that Chucky Schumer and Harry Reid must hate them.
Let's face it, if these two clowns support you, you have about as good
a chance of being a rational human being as Al Gore has of developing a
personality. With that in mind, it should not be hard to understand why
I practically jumped for joy
when I heard that Harriet Miers was withdrawing her nomination to
the high court. Even though most of my Republican friends kept telling
me that I needed to give her a chance, I just couldn't get past the
that two of the most insanely liberal members of the U.S. Senate
actually liked her.
Predictably, every radical left-winger in the country is now saying
that President Bush needs to choose a "moderate" replacement nominee,
which proves once again how completely out of touch with reality these
people really are. In the first place, there's no such thing as a
moderate judge, there's only originalists and activists. Secondly,
whenever a liberal says they think we need more moderates anywhere,
what they are really saying is we need more liberals who call
CBS News legal analyst, Andrew Cohen, today relays a conspiracy theory some have cooked up regarding the Miers nomination: Miers was never intended to sit on the Court, but rather to be a "sacrificial lamb" whose botched nomination would make it harder for liberals to sink her more conservative replacement.
Cohen himself finds the notion "only mildly paranoid when you think about it," adding:
Can this be? Why not. Anyone who has read those suck-up notes that Miers wrote to President Bush (they’ve been published and posted everywhere, in case you are wondering) wouldn’t have too hard a time believing that she would be wiling to sacrifice her own professional reputation for all eternity to further the political goals of the man to whom she has long hitched her star.