Unlike ABC and NBC, the journalists at CBS This Morning on Tuesday actually exposed the hypocrisy of Hillary Clinton’s calls to quickly replace Antonin Scalia. Reporter Jan Crawford began by noting that “these politicians” have “said the exact opposite thing in the past.”
She singled out, “Secretary Clinton may be upset that the Republicans are saying that they're going to block President Obama's nominee, but when she was senator, she voted with the Democrats to block President Bush's nomination of Justice Alito.” Crawford concluded, “What goes around, comes around.” No such even-handed reporting appeared on ABC or NBC.
Highlighting Sonia Sotomayor and Elana Kagan, Crawford also explained, “Each nominee brought diversity, had a sterling resume, and was solidly liberal.”
In contrast, on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos ignored issues of hypocrisy from Clinton (and from Senator Chuck Schumer). Instead, he simply identified, “Senate Republicans now a pretty united front against any nominee from President Obama.” Reporter Jon Karl noted of the GOP: “They’re all saying the President should not be the one to name Scalia's replacement.”
Yet, neither journalist questioned the motives of the Democrats.
On NBC’s Today, Andrea Mitchell complained that “hard-line” Republicans are opposing any Obama nominee, no matter how “moderate” he or she might be.
A transcript of the February 16 CBS This Morning segment is below:
NORAH O’DONNELL: The former secretary of state is again blasting Senate Republicans who say the next president should the successor to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Hillary Clinton posted a barrage of tweets late last night, writing, quote, “I have news for Republicans who would put politics over the Constitution. Refusing to do your duty isn't righteous, it's disgraceful.” Jan Crawford at the Supreme Court looks at possible candidates for the high court. Jan, good morning.
JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning. You know, I mean, with a Supreme Court nomination you have to keep in mind that with these politicians, what they’re saying now, they have said the exact opposite thing in the past. I mean, Senator Clinton may be upset that, for example – Secretary Clinton may be upset that the Republicans are saying that they’re going to block President Obama's nominee, but when she was senator, she voted with the Democrats to block President Bush's nomination of Justice Alito. It's really what goes around, comes around.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Supreme Clash; Candidates Turn Up Rhetoric Over Replacing Scalia]
SEN. TED CRUZ [R-TX]: One more left-wing justice on the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down every restriction on abortion across this country.
CRAWFORD: On both sides, the confirmation fight already is a rallying cry for their base.
HILLARY CLINTON: The only reason to block this is pure partisanship.
CRAWFORD: As the White House narrows down its short list, one thing is certain, for President Obama’s nominees, there is a pattern. At the Supreme Court, Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. At the Justice Department, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Each nominee brought diversity, had a sterling resume, and was solidly liberal.
ILYA SHAPIRO [CATO INSTITUTE]: We are in unchartered waters, especially given the modern current polarization of the country, and of Congress, versus the White House.
CRAWFORD: Ilya Shapiro is a legal scholar at the Cato Institute. He says the President really has two ways to go. A conventional pick, like federal appeals court judge Sri Srinivasan, who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate less three years ago. But guess who else was a consensus pick by voice vote to the federal appeals court? Clarence Thomas. And look how contentious his Supreme Court confirmation was.
CLARENCE THOMAS: This today is a travesty.
CRAWFORD: The point, a nomination to the highest court is a whole different ball game.
SHAPIRO: We try to draw analogies, we try to draw parallels, but ultimately it comes down to a political argument.
CRAWFORD: With Republicans vowing to block any nominee, the President could make a more unconventional pick, like Attorney General Loretta Lynch. But she is tied controversy, as the Justice Department looks at Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server. One thing’s for sure, the President is likely to move fast.
SHAPIRO: He wants to throw the ball back in the Republicans’ court to put the pressure on the senators to really see if they're gonna put their money where their mouth is.
CRAWFORD: Now, you know, in the U.S. Senate, I mean, judicial confirmation fights are like the Hatfields and the McCoys, but voters really haven’t made it an issue in presidential elections. But this year, with so much at stake, we'll see if that's different. Charlie?