Jason Aslinger

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Retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is actually a conservative according to Newsweek columnist Andrew Romano, who apparently hasn't read any Supreme Court decisions in the last 20 years or so.

Romano rejects the notion that Stevens is a liberal, going so far as to chastise his fellow members of the media who frequently get suckered by "whichever shorthand, cheat-sheet label gets repeated most frequently." Romano further writes that the current coverage is "myopic" and that the lowly uniformed "laypeople are being given little choice but to remember the hunched, bow-tied Stevens, 89, as really, really liberal—Dennis Kucinich in robes."

So what is Romano's proof for this theory?

On Wednesday, former vice president Dick Cheney made the following brief statement to Politico:

[W]e are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society.

CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen is a long-time critic of the Bush administration, enhanced interrogation techniques, military tribunals, Gitmo, and many aspects of the government's prosecution of the war on terror. For general background, see Cohen's CBS News blog "Court Watch." It is, therefore, no surprise at all to see Cohen defending the propriety of the upcoming New York City terror trials. 

Nancy Pelosi has been under the media microscope this week regarding her knowledge of enhanced interrogation techniques, specifically waterboarding, in the months following 9/11. Pelosi's seemingly endless series of contradictions on the subject has led the media to probe: "what did she know and when did she know it?" But another question could easily be posed to the media itself ... "What took you so long?"

The ABCNews.com Law and Justice front page currently features an article, dramatically titled "Will Steal For Food: Crisis Creates Criminals." On that same page, alleged bank robber Bruce Windsor is featured in an orange jumpsuit above a caption that reads: "In poor economy, police have arrested a rash of atypical alleged bank robbers."

Associated Press writer Matt Volz has been a busy bee covering the Troopergate anti-scandal over the last two weeks. Not surprisingly, he continues to write story after story without citing to the obvious bias underlying the entire investigation.

Joe Biden appeared this morning on Meet the Press, moderated by Tom Brokaw. In the opening series of questions, Brokaw probed Biden about the effect of Governor Sarah Palin's inclusion in the presidential campaign.

By now, you have all heard of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision prohibiting the death penalty in cases of child rape. Having read several articles, the mainstream media's take on the case was mostly informational and understated. And that was to be expected. While the ruling could be considered a victory for civil libertarians, even the press understands that you can't do a victory dance when a child rapist is spared the death penalty.

USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.

The United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law today in a 6-3 decision. In an earlier post, Ken Shepherd pointed out that Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman framed the ruling as "splintered." While the four conservative Justices joined in the majority opinion, the decision itself was written by liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, and so Sherman's terminology is questionable at the very least.

But this isn't the first time Sherman has used the phrase "splintered." When the Supreme Court issued its death penalty ruling two weeks ago, Sherman wrote:

U.S. executions are all but sure to resume soon after a nationwide halt, cleared Wednesday by a splintered Supreme Court that approved the most widely used method of lethal injection.

Incredibly, Sherman framed this decision as being made by the "conservative court led by Chief Justice John Roberts," even though it was a 7-2 decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure for capital punishment. The decision will likely end self-imposed death penalty moratoriums in several states. As of writing this article, Virginia had already lifted its moratorium.

The Newsweek article "When Reason Meets Rifles" discusses the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court today. The basic dispute in the case is whether D.C.'s outright handgun ban and de facto ban on rifles, shotguns, and other firearms are unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Notice that the bias begins in the title itself, where "reason" and "rifles" are implied to be mutually exclusive concepts.

The Washington Post reported today that select members of congress were briefed by the CIA in 2002 about enhanced interrogation techniques. Included in the briefing was current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 

The media have gone into full frenzy mode the last two days over some destroyed CIA interrogation tapes. And are you really surprised? The story has all the ingredients that the mainstream media just can't resist: 1) waterboarding, 2) allegations of cover up and obstruction of justice, 3) and the opportunity to ask "what did they know and when did they know it?"

It's one thing for NewsBusters and conservative commentators to blast CNN for its shoddy "moderation" of the recent Republican YouTube debate. It's quite another thing to see CNN get eaten by one if its own. And that's exactly what happened in the surprising LA Times article titled "CNN: Corrupt News Network."

We had a little campaign drama yesterday as a disturbed man (who claimed he had a bomb) took hostages in the Rochester, New Hampshire, headquarters of the Hillary Clinton campaign. Over a period of several hours, all of the hostages were released. And eventually the hostage-taker, Lee Eisenberg, surrendered without incident (but not before calling CNN ... maybe he had a debate question?).

We know that the mainstream media love to report on all of the following: 1) the mass firing of prosecutors for political reasons; 2) anything about New Orleans; 3) and race issues in Lousiana. So what happens when you have one story that covers all three topics? The answer is almost nothing when the story involves an embattled Democratic official.

Already being suspicious of media polling, my eye was caught by the CNN.com article titled: "Approval of Congress at 22 percent." The article begins by stating that:

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday shows the approval rating for all members of Congress sits at a dismal 22 percent, while 75 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the way Congress is handling its job.

This statement was followed by a link that directed readers to the "full poll results." Upon clicking the link, you are directed to a 4-page PDF summary of the poll itself.

The report indicates that just over 600 Americans were asked the following question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job? The current poll results, as well as those of a year ago, were listed as follows: Oct. 12-14, 2007 (Approve-22%; Disapprove-75%; No opinion-3%); and Oct. 6-8, 2006 (Approve-28%; Disapprove-63%; No opinion-9%).

Following these results, however, is an extensive list of polling data on congressional approval ratings going back to April 1974 (presumably the oldest polling data available). The historical polling data is labelled "GALLUP CNN/USA TODAY/GALLUP TRENDS." It should also be noted that the polling is not listed on a monthly or yearly basis. Some years had monthly results on the poll question, while other years (particularly in the 1970's) listed as few as one poll per year.

With pressure mounting, Democratic Congressman Pete Stark finally apologized today for his reprehensible statements on the House floor last week.

In his disjointed anti-war rant last Thursday, Stark shamefully remarked:

You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement.