Thursday was the final day for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear outside arguments for or against Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. Despite his stellar qualifications, Senate Democrats vowed to throw a hissy-fit and filibuster the confirmation vote. The act is completely unprecedented and is clearly being done out of revenge. And even with that fact, the Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) seemed to find little interest in the development and gave the story the bare minimum of a news brief.
On CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley gave this Gorsuch story the shortest time at a mere 15 seconds. “Today the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up four days of hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch,” he reported, “The panel is expected to send the nomination to the full Senate early next month, but Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has promised to filibuster.”
Reporter Tom Llamas was filling in for anchor David Muir on ABC's World News Tonight when he parroted Democratic Party talking points that smeared President Trump’s nominee. “His originalist interpretation of the constitution is out of step with modern concerns,” he said, quoting Senator Chuck Schumer, “But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed.”
“That could set up a showdown with Republicans who could change the rules to make confirmation a simple majority vote,” noted anchor Lester Holt on NBC Nightly News. The partisan anchor failed to mention that McConnell’s move goes against long-standing norms in the Senate. But mentioning that fact means acknowledging Democrats are trampling on the tradition of confirming qualified nominees regardless of politics.
The downplaying of the significance of the Democratic obstructionism exposes just whose side the media are on. They previously flipped out when Republicans used the Joe Biden Rule to put off the hearing of Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. The Joe Biden Rule states that: If a vacancy opens up on the Supreme Court during a presidential election season, then the incoming President gets to fill the seat.
When Republicans acted on the rule, the Big Three stormed Senate Republicans and demanded that the hold hearings. They even conducted polling which showed “that more than half of Americans disapprove of the Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider a nominee.” They have yet to announce any new polls that measure displeasure with Democrats, even though they’ve been threatening to filibuster since January.
The lack of outrage from the Big Three networks demonstrates that they view Senate Democrats as comrades in arms.
World News Tonight
March 23, 2017
6:41:46 PM Eastern
TOM LLAMAS: Also tonight, Congress is facing another partisan showdown, this one over the Supreme Court. The Senates’ top Democrat, Chuck Schumer says his party will filibuster the confirmation of nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, because his originalist interpretation of the constitution is out of step with modern concerns. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed.
CBS Evening News
March 23, 2017
6:52:21 PM Eastern
SCOTT PELLEY: Today the Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up four days of hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. The panel is expected to send the nomination to the full Senate early next month, but Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has promised to filibuster.
NBC Nightly News
March 23, 2017
7:08:01 PM Eastern
LESTER HOLT: And Meantime, there's another major political showdown looming in Washington. With the confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch all wrapped up, the leader of the Democrats and the Senate, Chuck Schumer is vowing to filibuster forcing Gorsuch to get 60 votes. That could set up a showdown with Republicans who could change the rules to make confirmation a simple majority vote.