Monday morning, prior to the start of Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, ABC, CBS, and NBC shoveled White House talking points that reveled over Jackson’s “historic nomination” and the “legal and political gauntlet” ahead and fretted Republicans are ready to “attack” with “fireworks” that could trigger “a political bounce” for President Biden.
NBC’s Today went above and beyond (just as they did with the Barrett nomination), giving roughly five minutes to what Team Biden wanted to share with the world. Echoing other journalists, co-host Craig Melvin emphasized her “historic” nature while senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake said the “legal and political gauntlet” she’ll face “could be her last job interview ever.”
Haake then set the table by alluding to Republicans “raising concerns about what they claim are overly lenient sentences in child predator cases;” as Democrats “hop[e] to highlight the qualification of President Biden's first Supreme Court nominee, Harvard educated, nine years as a federal judge, and experience as a public defender.”
On the facts raised by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) about her leniency concerning convicted child sex predators, Haake boasted before a clip of Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) saying Republicans are incapable of “empathy”: “Judge Jackson’s allies disputing those claims in what could be a preview of contentious hearing days to come.”
Better yet for Team Biden was this segment from co-host Savannah Guthrie and chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker on what the former said were efforts “preparing for” “potential lines of attack from Republicans” (click “expand”):
GUTHRIE: We’ve heard some potential lines of attack from Republicans along the law enforcement line. How is Judge Jackson and the White House preparing for that?
WELKER: Hi, Savannah. Good morning. Well, Judge Jackson has been preparing for this moment for weeks, we are told, including running mock hearings led by the White House counsel's office. She also went for a walk through of the hearing room on Saturday. Now, officials say she is bracing for tough questions on everything from her position on abortion rights to affirmative action and even the push by some Democrats to put more justices on the bench. Now, her background will be under scrutiny as well, specifically her time as a public defender and the fact that she served for less than a year on the D.C. Circuit Court. No, as Garrett noted, some Republicans are signaling they’ll paint her as soft on crime. The White House has already been forcefully pushing back on that, noting she earned the endorsement of major law enforcement organizations and it's also worth noting one of her introducers today is Judge Thomas Griffith. He’s a well known conservative jurist and it really underscores the White House's strategy to present her as a bipartisan pick.
GUTHRIE: Some have said, Kristen, maybe this isn’t going to be as contentious as prior hearings. For one thing, it’s not going to change the ideological balance of the Court, perhaps the stakes are a bit lower, but it's a Supreme Court fight. They’re always high
Shifting to those opposing Jackson, Welker offered this twisted spin that came off as if it were handed to her by, say, Andrew Bates:
There could be a few fireworks, Savannah, at the hearings because there are a number of potential 2024 presidential hopefuls who sit on the Judiciary Committee, including Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley...[T]he question is also, Savannah, if there are some contentious exchanges, will the President get the political bounce he is looking for from this historic pick with the midterms looming very[.]
Things were similarly syrupy on CBS Mornings with co-host and Democratic Party donor Gayle King tossing to correspondent Nikole Killion:
Leaders from both parties say they want to keep things civil, but some Republicans are previewing a line of attack. Nikole Killion is in the hearing room where it's all going to happen. A little Hamilton reference there, Nikole, but it is a room where it's going to happen.
Killion carried water for Senate Democrats as she had this eye-rolling back-and-forth with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) as a foil to Hawley (click “expand”):
KILLION [TO DURBIN]: How is this one different?
DURBIN: Oh, it is different.
KILLION: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin chairs the Judiciary Committee. [TO DURBIN]: How much pressure do you feel to get this right?
DURBIN: I feel some, I'll be very honest with you. I want to do this in the right way. I also think the committee's not on trial, but the committee's being watched closely.
KILLION: Republican Josh Hawley has signaled he wants to use the hearings to go after Jackson's sentencing record.
HAWLEY [on FNC’s Hannity, 03/17/22]: This is someone who has consistently let sex predators, child sex predators, off the hook.
JEN PSAKI [on 03/17/22]: This attack that we've seen over the last couple of days relies on factual inaccuracies and taking Judge Jackson's record widely out of context.
Going lastly to superficial Good Morning America on ABC, co-host T.J. Holmes swooned over “the historic hearings” as well as “a new Monmouth University just out suggest[ing] Americans back her appointment by a two-to-one margin.”
Of course, one would wonder what her name ID actually is and if things would change once voters were made more aware of her record besides the president that picked her and her skin color.
Congressional correspondent Rachel Scott was, like Killion, in the hearing room; she pointed to Jackson’s seat and said “60 members of the public will also rotate in and out...to witness history unfold.”
Scott noted Monday will consist of openings statements prior to “an intense round of questioning” on Tuesday and Wednesday in which “her record will be in the spotlight.”
“The White House already having to defend her against Republican attacks claiming that she is soft on crime and attacking her record as public defender,” she added.
Monday’s White House propaganda was brought to you by advertisers such as CarMax (on NBC), Ensure (on CBS), and Progressive (on ABC). Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.
To see the relevant transcripts from March 21, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).