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.
On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Jan Crawford filed a report recounting revelations that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has a history of taking solidly liberal positions on issues like abortion, gay rights, and gun control – with evidence in the form of memos, some going back to her days working for liberal Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Crawford: "Documents buried in Thurgood Marshall's papers in the Library of Congress show that, as a young lawyer, Kagan stood shoulder to shoulder with the liberal left, including on the most controversial issue Supreme Court nominees ever confront: abortion."
The CBS correspondent informed viewers that Kagan had fretted about conservatives restricting abortion rights: "In a case involving a prisoner who wanted the state to pay for her to have the procedure, Kagan writes to Marshall that the conservative-leaning court could use the case to rule against the woman and ‘create some very bad law on abortion.’"
Notably, on Monday, May 10, as the broadcast network evening newscasts introduced Kagan to their viewers, only CBS referred to her liberal ideology, as Crawford asserted: "Her career has put her solidly on the left."
Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books. Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.
Did the United States, as the piece contends, enshrine slavery in its Constitution?
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, "enshrine" means "to enclose in or as if in a shrine" or "to preserve or cherish as sacred." Over at thesaurus.com, synonyms for the word are "cherish, consecrate, idolize, sanctify."