Totenberg Again Discovers & Warns Roberts is "Very Conservative"

Another week, another opportunity for NPR's Nina Totenberg to discover that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is conservative and to caution us about it anew. On<i> Inside Washington</i> over the weekend, she warned that &quot;if he's as conservative as his papers reflect, his nomination will dramatically change the direction of the court.&quot; Seconds later she made clear she is sure that he's going to be a &quot;very conservative&quot; justice: &quot;I have no idea what kind of justice he's going to end up being, except for the fact that I'm pretty sure he's going to be very conservative.&quot; A week earlier on the same show she declared that after reviewing memos he wrote while working in the Reagan White House counsel's office, &quot;he is much more conservative than I ever would have guessed.&quot;<br /><br /> In recent weeks, Totenberg has tagged Roberts as &quot;very conservative,&quot; &quot;very, very conservative&quot; and &quot;very, very, very conservative,&quot; as well as &quot;a really conservative guy,&quot; &quot;a hardline conservative&quot; and &quot;a clear conservative,&quot; to say nothing of being &quot;a conservative Catholic.&quot; Four weeks ago on <i>Inside Washington</i> she asserted that she &quot;was actually quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was.&quot;<br /><p>Full <a href="http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20050830.asp"><i>CyberAlert</i></a> article follows.</p><br /> <i>Inside Washington</i> is a weekend show carried Saturday nights at 7pm local time by NewsChannel 8, a Washington, DC area all-news channel owned by the ABC affiliate, and Sunday mornings at 10am, right after This Week, by that affiliate, WJLA-TV. In a couple of weeks, however, it will be moving to Washington, DC's PBS station, WETA channel 26.<br /><br /><p> On the edition aired over this past weekend, the MRC's Rich Noyes noticed, fill-in host Kathleen Matthews, a WJLA-TV channel 7 anchor who is the wife of MSNBC's Chris Matthews, set up a segment:</p><br /><blockquote><p> &quot;Right after Labor Day Washington will get ready for a rare bit of theater: The confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee. The President's choice, John Roberts, seems to be in good shape as the start date approaches, but this week there were criticisms raised about his conservative record and about documents that he authored in his early career in government which are being withheld or redacted. Nina, I want to ask you, are the Democrats just trying to trash Roberts knowing that they can't beat him?&quot;</p><br /> Nina Totenberg: &quot;Well, it seems to me that it is the duty of an opposition -- this is a court that's pretty closely balanced, and if he's as conservative as his papers reflect, his nomination will dramatically change the direction of the court on a host of issues. And if you think that's not good for the country then you've got an obligation to mount an opposition and there are people who will mount that opposition. I don't think it's illegitimate. It's a losing proposition in this case, I think, because take a look at that picture of John Roberts [standard head shot of him in graphic]. He will be a very effective witness. He is an extremely un-radical looking, acting person and I have no idea what kind of justice he's going to end up being, except for the fact that I'm pretty sure he's going to be very conservative.&quot;</blockquote><br /> Previous <i>CyberAlert</i> items on Totenberg's labeling of Roberts, all with pictures of her:<br /><br /> # <a href="http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20050721.asp#4">July 21 <i>CyberAlert</i></a>: There's no doubt in NPR reporter Nina Totenberg's mind that Judge John Roberts is &quot;very conservative,&quot; it's just a matter of how &quot;very.&quot; On NPR's All Things Considered on Tuesday night, she prefaced &quot;conservative&quot; with three verys, describing him as &quot;a very, very, very conservative man.&quot; But in a taped soundbite on the next day's Good Morning America on ABC, she cut back to two modifiers, dubbing him merely &quot;a very, very conservative man.&quot; For the quotes in full: www.mrc.org<br /><br /> # <a href="http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20050725.asp#1">July 25 <i>CyberAler</i>t</a>: NPR's Nina Totenberg, who last week tagged Supreme Court nominee John Roberts as &quot;very, very conservative&quot; and &quot;very, very, very conservative,&quot; on <i>Inside Washington</i> over the weekend described him as merely &quot;very conservative.&quot; But she couldn't resist adding a modifier every time she applied the conservative label, also dubbing him &quot;a really conservative guy,&quot; &quot;a hardline conservative&quot; and &quot;a clear conservative.&quot; Plus, she emphasized how he's &quot;a conservative Catholic.&quot; See: www.mrc.org<br /><br /> # <a href="http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20050801.asp#1">August 1 <i>CyberAlert</i></a>: A parody of herself? NPR's Nina Totenberg, who has tagged Supreme Court nominee John Roberts as &quot;very conservative,&quot; &quot;very, very conservative&quot; and &quot;very, very, very conservative,&quot; as well as &quot;a really conservative guy,&quot; &quot;a hardline conservative&quot; and &quot;a clear conservative,&quot; to say nothing of being &quot;a conservative Catholic,&quot; on Inside Washington over the weekend relayed that after she &quot;spent five hours reviewing all of his documents from when he worked in the Justice Department,&quot; she &quot;was actually quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was.&quot; Apparently, she didn't listen to herself. See: www.mediaresearch.org<br /><br /> # <a href="http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20050822.asp#1">August 22 <i>CyberAlert</i></a>: On the August 20/21 <i>Inside Washington</i>, host Gordon Peterson asked her about the ideology displayed by Roberts in his Reagan-era memos: &quot;You've known him for years. Is he more or less conservative than you thought he was or just about where you thought he was?&quot;<br /> Totenberg: &quot;He is, at least in these documents, which we have to remember are 25 years old, in these documents he is much more conservative than I ever would have guessed. He is on the most conservative side of almost every issue within the Reagan administration.&quot; www.mediaresearch.org

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