NYT Claims “Weakened” Bush Means Tough Sledding for Alito

January 10th, 2006 1:36 PM

At the top of the lead story for Tuesday's New York Times, reporters Richard Stevenson and Neil Lewis put the onus on Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito to show he’s not “too much of an ideologue.”

“Addressing concerns among Democrats that his past support for conservative positions makes him too much of an ideologue for a seat on the Supreme Court, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. began his public drive for confirmation Monday by saying judges should have no agendas or preferred outcomes of their own.”

Later, they make this claim to suggest Alito may find the vote rough going:

“But the biggest difference from the Roberts hearings may have been in the political climate. Since then, Mr. Bush has been weakened by the failed nomination of Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, the continued bloodshed in Iraq and the corruption inquiries that have ensnared Republican lobbyists and members of Congress.”

Funny, but that doesn’t match the paper's reporting. Here’s a headline from September 15 headline, in the midst of the Roberts hearings: “Support for Bush Continues to Drop as More Question His Leadership Skills, Poll Shows.”

Bush’s approval-disapproval rating at the time was 41%-53%. But John Roberts did just fine anyway, passing the Senate by a vote of 78-22.

The last Times poll, taken in early December, shows almost identical figures as back then: 40%-53%. Where’s the big “weakening”?

Political reporter Adam Nagourney takes the same tack in “Partisan Tenor of Alito Hearings Reflects a Quick Change in Washington,” insisting a weakened Bush will make things hard on Alito:

“The different tone on display on Capitol Hill on Monday -- and what it suggests for the hearings that are expected to dominate Washington this week -- stood as evidence to just how much the political atmosphere has changed since the Judiciary Committee approved Chief Justice Roberts's nomination 13 to 5. President Bush has lost some political power, and he had to withdraw his previous nominee for this vacancy, Harriet E. Miers, the White House counsel, in the face of widespread criticism from his party's conservative wing.”

For more examples of New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.