On Sunday's World News Tonight, at the end of a full report on liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's health scare from the weekend, ABC reporter Kyra Phillips misleadingly gave the impression that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had reacted to her health problems by ghoulishly speculating about replacing her when, in reality, she was referring to comments the Republican leader made six months ago.
Phillips began the pre-recorded portion of her report by recalling that Justice Ginsburg went to one hospital Friday evening with a fever and was then transferred to Johns Hopkins. The ABC correspondent then pivoted to speaking generally about the political significance of her seat, and recalled her history of health problems, including being treated for cancer in recent years.
Concluding the pre-recorded portion of the report, Phillips jumped back to the present to inform viewers: "Tonight, the Court saying Ginsburg is home and doing well."
Then, appearing live, Phillips wrapped up her report by making it sound like McConnell might have suggested over the weekend that he would fill her seat if it became vacant, even using the word "meanwhile," making it sound like his comments came during her current illness:
KYRA PHILLIPS: Tom, Ginsburg also saying she's determined to serve as long as she is mentally agile, and giving no indication that she plans to step down. Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he plans to fill any vacancy that arises before the end of the Trump administration. A lot hanging in the balance here, Tom.
Articles posted yesterday by both the New York Times and Salon also referred to McConnell's comment but were referring to an appearance he made in May of this year where he was asked what he would do if a vacancy occurred during the presidential election year.
Below is a complete transcript of the report from the Sunday, November 24, World News Tonight:
World News Tonight
TOM LLAMAS: News tonight about the health scare for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The 86-year-old hospitalized this weekend complaining of chills and a fever. The four-time cancer survivor released earlier today. Here's ABC's Kyra Philips.
KYRA PHILLIPS: If there's one thing we know about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she's a fighter, and tonight is no exception. The Supreme Court's oldest justice home from a weekend hospital stay. The Court telling ABC Ginsburg fell ill Friday evening, experiencing chills and a fever, taken to Johns Hopkins "for further evaluation and treatment of any possible infection." One of four liberal justices on a divided court, her vote critical on hot-button issues like abortion and immigration.
The 86-year-old justice has successfully battled health issues for years, surviving colon and pancreatic cancer, fracturing three ribs a year ago, and last December she underwent surgery for lung cancer, missing oral arguments for the first time in her 26-year career on the bench. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer again earlier this year, Ginsburg has rarely let her personal struggles deter her from her duties -- through it all, never losing her sense of humor. Tonight, the Court saying Ginsburg is home and doing well.
Tom, Ginsburg also saying she's determined to serve as long as she is mentally agile, and giving no indication that she plans to step down. Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear that he plans to fill any vacancy that arises before the end of the Trump administration. A lot hanging in the balance here, Tom.
LLAMAS: So much. Kyra Philips from the Supreme Court tonight. Kyra, thank you.