ABC and NBC Skip Obama’s Hypocrisy on Supreme Court Nominations

ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today on Wednesday avoided the uncomfortable fact that Barack Obama has flip-flopped on whether ideology should be considered for a Supreme Court nominee. Only CBS This Morning highlighted the hypocrisy and shifting positions. 

Reporter Jan Crawford played a clip from 2006 in which then-Senator Obama was supporting a filibuster: “When I examine the philosophy, ideology and record of Samuel Alito, I am deeply troubled.” She then included a clip of Obama from Tuesday: “You make sure that a well qualified candidate is able to join the bench, even if you don't particularly agree with him.” 

In contrast, Good Morning America’s Mary Bruce touted, “The President pushing back hard, saying he will nominate someone.” She hyped, “President Obama is doubling down, saying the Supreme Court is no place for political games and dispelling rumors about who he'll pick.” 

What about then-Senator Obama's "games?" She didn't say. 

Bruce then featured Obama asserting, “You shouldn't assume anything about the qualifications of the nominee other than they're going to be well qualified.” What the journalist left out was that Obama’s answer was to whether people should assume he’ll nominate a “moderate nominee.” 

Obama swiftly replied, “No.” Yet, it was NBC on Tuesday that assured viewers that a moderate was likely. On Wednesday’s Today, Andrea Mitchell cheered, “President Obama is forcefully rejecting Republican calls to let the next president nominate Justice Scalia's replacement.” 

Like the journalists on ABC, she also avoided Obama’s hypocrisy in regards to how he treated Alito. 

A transcript of the February 17 CBS This Morning segment is below: 

7:13

NORAH O’DONNELL: President Obama is telling senators to do their job and keep an open mind on his next Supreme Court nominee. Senate Republicans vow to reject whomever the President recommends to succeed justice Antonin Scalia who died on Saturday. Scalia's courtroom chair is draped in black this morning. His funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Washington. Jan Crawford is outside the Supreme Court looking at the battle over filling that seat. Jan, good morning. 

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning. So, in that news conference, the President really laid out his arguments over why his nominee should get a hearing. Although no word yet, of course, on who that nominee will be. 

BARACK OBAMA: I expect them to hold hearings. I expect there to be a vote. 

CRAWFORD: President Obama started a campaign of sorts, calling for his eventual Supreme Court nominee to be given a hearing. 

OBAMA: The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. 

CRAWFORD: But the Constitution only says for a nominee to be confirmed, the President must get the advice and consent of the Senate. Republicans, with the Supreme Court in the balance, say they can't imagine a nominee they’d consent to. During the press conference, the President took aim at what he called an obstructionist Senate, but a reporter pointed out that then-Senator Obama voted for a filibuster of President Bush's nominee of President Bush’s 2006 nomination of Justice Samuel Alito. 

BARACK OBAMA [from 2006]: When I examine the philosophy, ideology and record of Samuel Alito, I am deeply troubled. [Footage of President Obama.] You make sure that a well qualified candidate is able to join the bench, even if you don't particularly agree with him. 

CRAWFORD: Supreme Court nominations are all but guaranteed to be hard fought. In 1987, Democrats refused to confirm Robert Bork and later they tried to derail the nomination of Clarence Thomas. This time it's Republicans, for now, who are united. 

TED CRUZ: We are one liberal justice away from the Supreme Court ordering the Ten Commandments monuments torn down. 

CRAWFORD: Foreshadowing how brutal the fight ahead may be, Hillary Clinton suggested the President's race had something to do with the Republican opposition. 

HILLARY CLINTON: Some are even saying he doesn't have the right to nominate anyone, as if somehow he is not the real president. 

CRAWFORD: Now Clinton accused many Republicans of using what she said was, quote, quoted racial language in their arguments against the President. I mean, that just shows, here we are, four days after Scalia's death and the gloves are already off and a fight over his successor. Gayle? 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the associate editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org site.