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.
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.
George Washington just got a promotion. Yes, he's still one of the slave-owning oligarchs who, according to liberals, stuck us with a short-sighted Constitution, and whose colleagues were probably having sex with slaves.
But with the 2012 election on the line and conservatives citing the Founders' legacy as a touch-stone of limited government, Time Magazine has found it useful to turn the first president into a proto-liberal.
NPR's Nina Totenberg spent more than 4 minutes on Wednesday's Morning Edition to supposed ethical conflicts of interest for conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia. By contrast, Totenberg devoted only 17 seconds to the more current issue of liberal Justice Elena Kagan's service in the Obama administration as a factor in upcoming cases before the Court.
Host Renee Montagne introduced the correspondent's report by noting how both "liberal groups have chastised conservative justices for attending private conferences put on by conservative political interests, and conservative groups have responded by leveling some criticism in the other direction." However, the journalist devoted the first three minutes of a seven-and-a-half minute segment on the criticism launched at Clarence Thomas's wife from the left:
The video-game industry has won again in court, insisting on their right to make the most debased gaming experience imaginable and market it to children with little commercial restraint. On June 27, the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 against California’s law mandating that children are not allowed to purchase “Mature” video games without a parent.
The political elites are celebrating the Court ruling as a victory for a vibrant First Amendment, rejectinthe very notion of social responsibility on the part of the video-game makers and their often-twisted conceptualization of what constitutes “fun” for children.
Intellectually, I understand the Supreme Court's 7-2 decision that the First Amendment protects the most violent of video games. Experientially, I don't.
It's fine for the majority to say parents have ultimate control over what their children see, but how many members of the Supreme Court have experienced "real" life? Chief Justice John Roberts spoke at the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference last Saturday and said, "I don't think any of us have a Facebook page or a tweet -- whatever that is. But technology is making inroads." It certainly is.
Weighed in the balance and found lacking. That biblical admonition could well describe CNN.com's shoddy "breaking news" take on today's Supreme Court ruling in Wal-Mart Stores v. Dukes.
Simply put, CNN.com gave readers a woefully inaccurate and incomplete story on the case, chalking up the Court's ruling as holding that a "sweeping class-action status that could potentially involve hundreds of thousands of current and former female workers was simply too large."
Ever since Justice Samuel Alito mouthed "not true" after an inaccurate partisan applause line at President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, some in the mainstream media have been keen on presenting the conservative wing of the Supreme Court as partisan political actors with an eye on sticking it to the Obama administration wherever possible.
Today, New York Daily News writer Richard Sisk dusted off the meme in a short item chock full of loaded language painting Alito and Chief Justice Roberts in a negative light (emphasis mine) for opting to "boycott" the 2011 State of the Union Address:
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann claimed that pro-gun groups like the NRA "are trying to increase deaths by gun," as he used his "Worst Person" segment to attack a gun rights activist who infiltrated gun control groups to spy on them: "Mary Lou Sapone infiltrated the executive boards and learned the plans of organizations trying to decrease deaths by gun in this country, and apparently reported it back to organizations like the NRA, which are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country." A month earlier, on the June 26 show, after the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban, Olbermann named Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he called a "clown," as "Worst Person" as the Countdown host ridiculously claimed that the Second Amendment only applies to the types of weapons that existed in 1791, like muskets, to be used in a militia. Olbermann: "You've got around 30,000 gun deaths in this country per year, another 75,000 non-fatal gun wounds, half the suicides are by gun; and this clown and his four colleagues decided that the 32-year-old ban on handguns in Washington, D.C., and the demand that firearms kept in the home be locked or disassembled was unconstitutional based on the Second Amendment." (Transcripts follow)
As a deeply divided Supreme Court issued 5-4 rulings the past few weeks bouncing from liberal to conservative interpretations of the law, something was woefully missing from the coverage: journalists apologizing to the nation for regularly insinuating that the Court's December 2000 decision concerning Bush v. Gore was politically based.
After all, for seven and a half years, a regular media meme has been that a "conservative Supreme Court" gave George W. Bush the presidency by stopping the recounting of votes in Florida.
Yet, as the Washington Post reported Sunday, today's Court, though "sharply divided ideologically on some of the most fundamental constitutional questions" as well as being "roughly balanced," is probably more conservative than it was in 2000 as a result of recent appointments (emphasis added throughout):
In her two-part profile of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia aired on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, Lesley Stahl seemed repeatedly surprised by how Scalia in person isn't the “polarizing figure” who protesters call a “fascist,” as she conceded: “What's interesting is the difference between how you appear in person and the image that you have. Because the writings are so often combative, and your friends say that you're charming and fun.” In short, Scalia really does not match the left-wing characterization of him adopted by Stahl's media colleagues.
Stahl opened her piece by describing Scalia as “one of the most brilliant and combative justices ever to sit on the court” before contending that he “is a polarizing figure who invites protestors and picketers.” As she spoke, viewers heard from a man with a matching sign: “Scalia is a fascist!” Stahl told Scalia what she's heard about him: “'He's evil.' 'He's a Neanderthal.' 'He's going to drag us back to 1789.'” Stahl informed him: “The public sense of you is that you make your decisions based on your social beliefs.” Citing “Roe v. Wade and affirmative action,” she elaborated, “His critics argue that originalism is a cover for what they see as Justice Scalia's real intention: to turn back some pivotal court decisions of the 60s and 70s.”
On Tuesday, one of the "Recommended Diaries" at Daily Kos featured a picture of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in a Gestapo uniform (right) under the headline, "Today's Worst Person in the World" (h/t NBer Gat New York).
After some quotes from an Associated Press article about Scalia's views on "so-called torture," the DKos piece elaborated (with seemingly requisite vulgarity I might add while cautioning readers before they proceed):