Reporting on the outcome of Harris v. Quinn on the front page of Tuesday's Washington Post, staff writers Jerry Markon and Robert Barnes buried the perspective of the successful party in the case, non-unionized home health care worker Pam Harris, in the 21st paragraph of the 29-paragraph article, "Ruling on union dues a blow to organized labor."
But right out of the gate, Markon and Barnes choreographed a melodrama pitting a narrow conservative majority on the Court versus the nation's labor unions and their valiant liberal defenders on the Court. An excerpt is reproduced below (emphasis mine):
Matea Gold and Robert Barnes utterly failed this morning as ostensibly objective journalists. In their front-page stories covering yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Washington Post staffers front-loaded their stories with melodramatic political language suitable for a left-wing "campaign finance reform" group's press release rather than objective news copy.
More than two years after she dishonestly claimed that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was caught "heckling" President Obama during his State of the Union address, Rachel Maddow has finally come clean on what actually occurred. (video after page break)
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":
Syndicated columnist Mark Shields on Friday excoriated Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts for "taking our system and absolutely screwing it up completely."
Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington, Shields was complaining about how "these campaigns have been taken over totally by Super PACs" as a result of the Citizens United decision (video follows with transcript and commentary):
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.
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 Election Day, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Schwarzenegger vs. Entertainment Merchants Association. The irony of this case name was obvious: the celebrated violent-action-hero governor of California had signed a bill into law in 2005 forbidding the sale of ultraviolent video games to minors, a law that lower federal courts prevented from ever going into effect.
Why should the Supremes care about this? After all, a year before that, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed a law making it illegal for anyone under 14 years old to tan indoors under any circumstances. (Children from 14 to 18 can tan – with parental consent.) The fine for salon operators for each violation is as much as $2,500 per day. Somehow this did not become a cause celebre, and was not fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Indeed, 32 states are inhibiting the freedom of minors to tan, and no one cares.
But interfere with their right to fry their minds and there’s hell to pay. Video-game manufacturers don’t want politicians tampering with their sales to minors, so here comes the march of the First Amendment fundamentalists, who argue that the principle of freedom of speech covers the enthusiastic distribution and sale of every kind of child-corrupting media horror. For them there must be no helpful hurdle or brake for children to go around their parents and grab what Justice Samuel Alito called “the most violent, sadistic, graphic video game that can be developed.”
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago's ban today and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe the "right to keep and bear arms."
But that language suggests that the Court invented a right out of whole cloth rather than grounded its decision in the Constitution itself. In truth, what the Supreme Court found in McDonald v. City of Chicago was that the 2nd Amendment's guarantee of the individual's right to firearm ownership is incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause.
"The right to keep and bear arms must be regarded as a substantive guarantee, not a prohibition that could be ignored so long as the States legislated in an even handed manner," Justice Alito wrote for the 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."
As the MRC’s Tim Graham documented yesterday, ABC and NBC's morning and evening newscasts have so far refused to tag Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a “liberal,” with CBS’s Jan Crawford offering the sole ideological label of the nominee on Monday's Evening News: “Her career has put her solidly on the left.”
In contrast, all three networks made a major deal out of the last person nominated by a Republican President for a slot on the Court, Justice Samuel Alito. Out of the first 21 stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows after Justice Alito’s selection, correspondents conveyed ten explicit “conservative” labels during the first 36 hours of coverage. In contrast, Graham documented just one “liberal” label in 14 Kagan stories during the equivalent time period after her selection.
In Alito’s case, the networks began trumpeting ideology from the moment he was picked. Anchor Charles Gibson opened ABC’s Special Report announcing Alito’s nomination: “He is very conservative. This is a liberal appellate court, but he is the most conservative member on it....The President has picked someone very conservative, but a very accomplished jurist as well.”
But the early stories on President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan routinely avoided describing her as a liberal. In six evening news stories and eight morning news segments since her official press conference on Monday morning, the broadcast networks have employed only one liberal label, on CBS. ABC and NBC offered none.
During CNN’s post-State of Union coverage on Wednesday night, three liberal commentators- Paul Begala, James Carville, and Roland Martin- put up an energetic defense of President Obama’s rebuke of the Supreme Court during the address. Begala and Carville took issue with Republican panelist Alex Castellanos’s reproof of the President, while Martin rebuked Justice Samuel Alito’s reaction.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer played a clip of the relevant portion of the President’s speech, where Mr. Obama condemned the Court for its recent decision on campaign finance regulations, and highlighted how Justice Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true” in response. Blitzer then turned to the panel for its take on the moment. His fellow anchor Campbell Brown, who was moderating the panel, first questioned Castellanos on Alito’s reaction: “Was that appropriate, Alex Castellanos, to have that kind of reaction from Alito when he said that?”
Last Wednesday, Keith Olbermann falsely compared statements Samuel Alito made during his 2006 Supreme Court confirmation hearings to the now controversial and seemingly racist remark Sonia Sotomayor uttered during a 2001 speech.
In her lecture to the Boalt School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, Barack Obama's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
By contrast, Alito in 2006 talked about his background indeed impacting his decisions, but never said that would make him "more often than not reach a better conclusion than" women of a different race.
Olbermann, as he so often does with his agenda-driven drivel, missed this obvious distinction (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
The Washington Post front page for May 27, 2009 announces the Sonia Sotomayor nomination to the Supreme Court with this large headline: "First Latina Picked for Supreme Court; GOP Faces Delicate Task in Opposition." There’s no reference to Sotomayor being a liberal.
Below that is a story on her ethnic identity headlined "Heritage Shapes Judge’s Perspective." Reporters Amy Goldstein and Jerry Markon notice three paragraphs in that she spoke at a conference "bluntly rejecting the argument of conservative legal thinkers that judges should decide cases purely on close readings of facts and law, excluding their own frames of reference." How did previous Supreme Court nominations do in labeling the ideology of nominees? Unsurprisingly the Post highlighted the conservatism of recent Republican nominees, but placed Democratic nominees in the middle.
Here’s a list of Washington Post front-page headlines on the first day after the official nomination that hinted at an ideology:
Samuel Alito (November 1, 2005)
"Alito Nomination Sets Stage for Ideological Battle; Bush's Court Pick Is Appeals Judge With Record of Conservative Rulings"
Baker and Zeleny never directly acknowledged Sotomayor's liberal outlook, although there is enough in her judicial record (and her own words) to indicate her ideology.
President Obama announced Tuesday that he would nominate Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals judge in New York, to the Supreme Court, choosing a daughter of Puerto Rican parents who was raised in a Bronx public housing project to become the nation's first Hispanic justice.
In making his first pick for the court, Mr. Obama emphasized Judge Sotomayor's "extraordinary journey" from modest beginnings to the Ivy League and now the pinnacle of the judicial system. Casting her as the embodiment of the American dream, he touched off a confirmation battle that he hopes to wage over biography more than ideology.
Judge Sotomayor's past comments about how her sex and ethnicity shaped her decisions, and the role of appeals courts in making policy, generated instant conservative complaints that she is a judicial activist. Senate Republicans vowed to scrutinize her record. But with Democrats in reach of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, the White House appeared eager to dare Republicans to stand against a history-making nomination at a time when both parties are courting the growing Hispanic vote.
Again, the Times hinted at but didn't directly label Sotomayor with the still-damaging label of "liberal," never using the term to describe her.
Justice Samuel Alito was the featured keynote speaker at the American Spectator’s annual Robert L. Bartley dinner at Washington’s Mandarin Oriental hotel last night. Along with taking a crack at the new vice-president elect (h/t Politico), he also joked about the famous 2008 Obama campaign mantra of “Hope and Change.” (Eyeblast.tv has the audio uploaded here:)
On November, 29 1967, Secretary of State [Defense] Robert McNamara resigned in protest over the war which he had personally presided over for a number of years.
On November 30th, Eugene McCarthy announced that he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination promising to restore hope and bring about change.
On Sunday's The Chris Matthews Show on NBC, during a discussion of how well a President McCain might work with a Democratic Congress, host Matthews seemed to generalize about the political opinions of women as he contended that "one of the biggest fears women especially have" is that McCain would appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, whom Matthews branded as "hawkish" on abortion: "One of the biggest fears women especially have is that we'll have a Supreme Court judge retirements or deaths or whatever, need to [be] replaced. McCain could come in there, he's a pro-lifer, pick some real hawkish people on the topic of a pro-life anti-abortion stance." He also euphemistically referred to the Democratic majority's ability to block pro-life appointments as being a "safety net." Matthews: "Would one of the safety nets be for the Democrats, they've got almost 56, almost 60 Democratic Senators that would say no way?" (Transcript follows)
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 America, you need to show identification to buy alcohol, get into a bar, or apply for a job. Yet, for some reason, liberal media members think that Republicans who advocate voter ID laws do so exclusively to prevent Democrats from going to polling booths.
Such was clearly evident Friday evening when Bill Moyers discussed some recent Supreme Court rulings with CNN and New Yorker magazine's legal affairs analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Better strap yourself in tightly, for the following from "Bill Moyers Journal" on PBS is guaranteed to offend all that actually believe voter identification should be required in every state (video embedded right):
At least they're open about it: the New York Times disdains Supreme Court justices who hew to the principles upon which this country was founded. The Times's admission came in the course of an editorial calling on Obama and Clinton to put aside their bickering and focus on beating John McCain. That is vital, in the Times's view, given McCain's pledge to nominate Supreme Court justices in the mold of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
Writes the Times [emphasis added]:
Mr. McCain predictably criticized liberal judges, vowed strict adherence to the Founders’ views and promised to appoint more judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. That is just what the country does not need.