Perhaps it’s unrealistic to expect history textbooks to present and analyze events and epochs with complete objectivity. But it’s entirely reasonable to demand that they don’t actively reinforce the news media’s liberal bias when it comes to recent history and individuals who are still alive and active in shaping that history.
Yet commonly used American history textbooks have eschewed historical analysis when discussing recent Supreme Court justices, and in its place substituted partisan political commentary.
Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the Times, got soppy in defense of Arizona's illegal immigrants in "The Lower Floor" her latest biweekly column posted Wednesday evening. Apparently Supreme Court justices were remiss last week when they focused on arguing the law, as opposed to reciting Robert Frost and giving in to sympathetic anecdotes about "the simply humanity" of illegals (or, in Greenhouse's politically correct terminology, "undocumented residents").
(Greenhouse has famously argued that Supreme Court's Obama-care opponents have no case, even after Obama-care was annihilated in oral argument before the justices.)
Left-wing Washington Post humorist Gene Weingarten is no stranger to NewsBusters criticism. From calling the Tea Party "A posse of ignoramuses" to fantasizing about bludgeoning Ron Paul-supporting folk singer Arlo Guthrie, we've called Weingarten out on his unfunny forays into slamming conservatives and libertarians who don't share his liberal politics.
Well, this weekend Weingarten topped himself by suggesting that a suitable protest of the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court would be to defecate in front of police officers. Weingarten was venting his frustration at a Supreme Court ruling penned by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy which held that it's not an unreasonable search for jails to strip-search arrestees, even those charged with minor infractions:
Reporter-turned-liberal columnist Dana Milbank is incensed that Antonin Scalia is, well, being himself. The Washington Post scribe -- who infamously appeared on a February 2006 Countdown with Keith Olbermann in hunting gear to mock Vice President Dick Cheney, who accidentally shot a friend during a hunting excursion -- slammed the Reagan-appointed associate justice for "verbally lacerat[ing] anybody" who "was [not] a champion of the Arizona [immigration] crackdown."
"Scalia's tart tongue has been a fixture on the bench for years, but as the justices venture this year into highly political areas such as health-care reform and immigration, the divisive and pugilistic style of the senior associate justice is very much defining the public image of the Roberts Court," Milbank complained in his April 26 column.
Just as she did on Wednesday, the New York Times's pro-amnesty immigration reporter Julia Preston portrayed Arizona's popular crackdown on illegal immigration (now before the Supreme Court) as controversial in "A Hearing And Rallies Over a Law In Arizona." Thursday's edition also featured an above-the-fold front-page photo of a stoic Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer passing "opponents of her state's immigration law outside the Supreme Court."
Jury selection in the trial of two-time Democratic Party presidential candidate and John Kerry's Democratic Party running mate in the 2004 election John Edwards began on Thursday. In the related five-paragraph Associated Press story, Michael Biesecker actually identified Edwards as a Democrat in his fourth of his five paragraphs.
That's not a stellar performance (a Republican or conservative in the kind of trouble Edwards is in would have his or her party identified in either the headline, the first paragraph, or both), but at least the party label is present. As blogger extraordinaire Doug Ross noted earlier this evening, in an 1,800-word item at the Atlantic on Wednesday ("Why the John Edwards Trial Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think"), author and undisclosed former Democratic candidate for statewide office Hampton Dellinger failed to name Edwards's party at all, while figuring out a way to tag something or someone "Republican" five times. Here are the opportunities studiously avoided in his treatise only relating to variations on the word "president" (bolded by me):
New York Times former Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse appeared on the CBS morning show Saturday to defend Barack Obama's unprecedented attack on the "unelected" Supreme Court and hold to her much-mocked belief, first presented in her March 21 column for nytimes.com, that ObamaCare opponents are "simply wrong" and their argument "analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection." A week later, that "weak" argument emerged triumphant during Supreme Court arguments, demolishing the White House's rationale for ObamaCare.
First, Greenhouse put the best spin on Obama's attack on the Supreme Court:
At the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar is floating the notion (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) that members of the Supreme Court who seem inclined to strike down ObamaCare might do so without fully understanding it. Translation: Those dummies.
The AP reporter makes a claim which reads like a desperate talking point from Team Obama (and maybe it is). The essence of the "argument" is that if you have a required minimum plan design which includes many items individuals and families would never use and would never buy if left to their own devices, and you force them to purchase a health insurance policy with that design (or possibly better), it really isn't a bad thing any more if you allow some choice in copays and deductibles.
No "embarrassment" here. Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, last spotted (before the Supreme Court's arguments on Obama-care) calling skeptics of the law's constitutionality "simply wrong," was defiant in her online column Wednesday, even after the administration's case fell embarrassingly flat. In "'Embarrass the Future?'"(the headline is a quote from Chief Justice John Roberts on the Court's controversial "strip-search" decision) she still thinks Obama-care will prevail.
Greenhouse gathered much mockery for her column two weeks ago calling Obama-care opponents "simply wrong" in their belief that the legislation is unconstitutional, their case "rhetorically powerful but analytically so weak that it dissolves on close inspection."
On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams accused a federal judge of bringing politics into the judicial process simply by ordering the Justice Department to explain controversial comments President Obama made against the Supreme Court: "Politics are ideally supposed to stay out of the nation's courtrooms, but that's not what happened this week in a federal courtroom in Texas."
In report that followed, correspondent Pete Williams proclaimed: "The political controversy spilled into a Texas federal court, where the rules are designed to filter out politics, interrupting arguments about a challenge to part of the Obama health care law." Williams noted how Judge Jerry Smith "put a Justice Department lawyer on the spot" to explain the President's attack on the court system and made sure to point out that Smith was "a Reagan appointee."
For decades, Republicans have railed every four years against the Supreme Court and its perceived liberal activism to spur conservatives to elect presidents who will appoint like-minded justices. Now strategists in both parties are suggesting this could be the Democrats’ year to make the court a foil to mobilize voters.
The reason tea partiers carried signs saying "Read the Constitution!" was that we were hoping people would read the Constitution.
Alas, we still have Rick Santorum saying Obamacare is the same as what he calls "Romneycare"; the otherwise brilliant Mickey Kaus sniffing that if states can mandate insurance purchases, then we're "not talking about some basic individual liberty to not purchase stuff" (no, just the nation's founding document, which protects "basic individual liberties" by putting constraints on Congress); and the former law professor, Barack Obama, alleging that a "good example" of judicial activism would be the Supreme Court (in his words, "a group of people") overturning "a duly constituted and passed law."
Charlie Rose boosted two of the left's talking points about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Rose asked Republican Senator John McCain, "Does Mitt Romney have to redefine himself...against the charges that he's out of touch, and that by endorsing the Ryan budget, it is a prescription for American decline?"
Rose also highlighted how McCain and President Obama both slammed the Court's Citizens United decision. But the Arizona Republican clarified that "I agreed that it was a bad decision, but certainly...I never questioned that they didn't have the right to do that. Apparently, the President doesn't read the Constitution the way some of us do."
Liberal pundits, journalists, and yes, the president of the United States seem to be in a full-blown panic about the prospects of ObamaCare going down in flames when the Supreme Court rules on HHS v. Florida in two months. Doing so would be the sort of judicial activism that conservatives decry, President Obama complained ludicrously earlier this week.
But have no fear, liberals, for law professor and Daily Beast/Newsweek contributor David R. Dow -- who previously wrote a book defending judicial activism -- has your solution. The Yale-educated lawyer suggests that President Obama's congressional defenders could try something last attempted in 1805: the politically-motivated impeachment of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Here's how Dow opened his April 3 Daily Beast post:
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is clearly beside herself over the possiblity the Supreme Court might strike down ObamaCare.
"This court," she wrote Wednesday, "is well on its way to becoming one of the most divisive in modern American history...It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes...[M]irrors the setup on Fox News":
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose rolled over and deferred to chief Obama flack David Axelrod and his talking points defending the President's Monday rant against the Supreme Court and its deliberation on his health care law, along with its attacks on Mitt Romney. Rose tossed softball questions at Axelrod, such as, "Tell me what he [Obama] is saying when he talks about judicial activism."
The anchor even boosted Hillary Clinton as a possible 2016 presidential candidate for Democrats during his interview with the Obama aide: "[Nancy Pelosi] said her candidate is Hillary Clinton. She hopes Hillary Clinton will run....Do you expect that she'll be a nominee in- will be a candidate for president in 2016?" [audio available here; video clips below the jump]
On Friday's Daily Rundown on MSNBC, anchor Chuck Todd asked about the sour outlook for ObamaCare: “There’s a lot of panic at the White House, to be frank. They really thought this wasn’t going to be that hard of a case....Now they’re biting their fingernails. Should they be biting their fingernails?”
NPR’s Nina Totenberg responded: “Yeah, they should be biting their fingernails." Totenberg insisted that everyone thought this was constitutional, a "piece of cake." But the Bush appointments were "very, very, very conservative." This is not the first time she's loaded the "very" boat:
The New York Times has previously reported on the dangers of the arcane problem of "epistemic closure," whereby the conservative movement (but evidently not the liberal one) suffers from "a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement....a high-toned abbreviation for ideological intolerance and misinformation."
Speaking of which...In Wednesday's edition of the weekly online chat at nytimes.com among columnists David Brooks and Gail Collins, posted under the heading "Moral Arguments," the more liberal Collins unwittingly provided Exhibit A of ideological intolerance, liberal-style.
On Wednesday's Morning Edition, NPR's pro-ObamaCare shill Julie Rovner predictably lined up backers of the contested law. Rover again cited the Kaiser Family Foundation and failed to mention their liberal leanings. She also turned to a former Clinton administration official, without identifying her as such, and played five total clips from liberals, versus only two from a conservative.
The correspondent hyped the "the potential impact on the relationship between the federal government and the states" if the Supreme Court struck down the controversial legislation, and that "virtually any program in which the federal government gives money to the states with conditions attached" could be at risk.
There was some strange poll placement in Tuesday's New York Times, which led with "New Poll Finds Drop In Support For Afghan War." Yet the paper buried a story from the same poll, showing people are strongly against ObamaCare, on page 17. Given that the Supreme Court is now arguing the issue, wouldn't it have been more timely for the Times to lead off with or at least front its ObamaCare findings?
Leave it to the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Propagandists, to cover for Barack Obama's Uncle Omar, formally known as Onyango Obama. Today, Uncle Omar was given a slap on the wrists so light it's hard to imagine he even felt it.
Today's AP cleanup in Massachusetts arrives via Denise Lavoie, whose principal contribution to the spin is to tell readers that Uncle Omar is "appealing a deportation order," when in fact he ignored an order for 19 years until his arrest for "operating under the influence" in August of last year. Excerpts, including the "say as little as possible" headline, follow:
Charlie Rose boosted New York Times's staff "conservative" David Brooks for his endorsement of the individual mandate on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, but Senator Tom Coburn was having none of it. Rose quoted from Brooks, whom he labeled a "a Hamiltonian, and someone...you share views with." Coburn slapped down the pro-ObamaCare argument: "We just don't have the authority to tell people to do that" [audio clips available here; video below the jump].
The Oklahoma Republican continued, in part, that "Brooks...[is] a Hamiltonian. I'm not. I'm a Madisonian, and that says, as government grows, freedom diminishes, and what we've seen is our freedom diminished." The anchor followed up by spotlighting ObamaCare benefits: "So, therefore, you don't...support the requirement for pre-existing conditions, nor the fact that children, up until the age of 26, will come under their parents' plan?"
If there has ever been a case that could vindicate the Supreme Court as a guardian of liberty or incriminate it as freedom's thief, it is the court's present consideration of the Affordable Care Act.
At the founding of the republic, the Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution warned that to grant the power to declare laws unconstitutional to an unelected and life-tenured Supreme Court could subvert the democratic republic and threaten our liberties.
Apparently most reporters at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Propagandists, lost the memo that Reuters got ("Obama Campaign: Obamacare Not a Bad Word After All"). Either that, or they haven't been paying attention their Obama For America emails.
OFA and President Obama himself both say it's now okay to call the fraudulently named Affordable Care Act which became law in March 2010 "ObamaCare"; the only matter in dispute is whether one should capitalize the "c." Jeff Mason at Reuters, which was already a bit late with its own report, tried to explain it all Monday evening, but "somehow" forgot what may be the most obvious motivation, namely that the "affordable" part of the original bill's title has been proven to be anything but:
Appearing on Tuesday's NBC Today, left-wing MSNBC host Rachel Maddow spun the Supreme Court ruling on ObamaCare as being a judgment of how partisan the high court has become: "...this may as much be a referendum on the Supreme Court and whether or not the Roberts court is so conservatively politicized that it will make a decision to hurt the President, rather than sticking closely to precedent here."
Maddow touted a recent Bloomberg poll, "that 75% of people think that the Supreme Court will decide based on their political beliefs, not on the law." She conveniently left out the results of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll that showed only 36% of Americans approve of ObamaCare, while 47% disapprove. A recent Rasmussen poll showed 56% favoring repeal of the law.
Taking the Constitution's limits on federal power seriously is just, well, backwards to liberal journalists. Take Ari Melber of The Nation. Sitting on the panel on the March 26 edition of Now with Alex Wagner, the MSNBC contributor dismissed as "retrograde" the notion that the ObamaCare individual mandate -- the provision forcing Americans to buy private health insurance or else pay a fine to the federal government -- violates the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Melber, a former John Kerry presidential campaign staffer, made the remark in the midst of comments wherein he suggested the Obama administration could see a stunning victory before the high court, despite the conservative nature of the tribunal:
"It's been two years" since ObamaCare was muscled through Congress and signed into law, and "more people than ever before" are opposed to it, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on Saturday.
The Media Research Center founder was one of the speakers at the March 24 Tea Party-sponsored "Road to Repeal" rally. Today and the next two days, the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments on questions pertaining to ObamaCare's constitutionality. You can watch Bozell's brief speech in the video embedded below the page break:
Former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, who previously confessed she couldn't grasp "the moral compass" of people who opposed Obama-care, denied the need for any balance when discussing the constitutionality of the matter in her Wednesday column, since the measure's opponents are so obviously wrong.
Journalistic convention requires that when there are two identifiable sides to a story, each side gets its say, in neutral fashion, without the writer’s thumb on the scale. This rule presents a challenge when one side of a controversy obviously lacks merit. But mainstream journalism has learned to navigate those challenges, choosing evolution over “intelligent design,” for example, and treating climate change naysayers as cranks.
If Scott Walker somehow loses his recall election in Wisconsin, will that be national news? Of course it will.
Well, if the Walker recall really is a national story, why isn't it news that 29 judges who are supposed to be impartial in their rulings and who are under strict prohibitions against political activity were found by Gannett News to have signed petitions supporting Walker's recall -- including at least one who has ruled in a recall-related matter without bothering to disclose his action? Make such a story about Republican judges signing petitions to recall a Democratic governor, and it would be national news for sure. Here are several paragraphs from Eric Litke's report: