Here Were the Worst Takes/Best Meltdowns of the Nets Reacting to Affirmative Action Case

June 29th, 2023 7:39 PM

On Thursday, the “big three” broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC twice broke into regular programming to discuss the bombshell Supreme Court rulings that all but took a huge bite out of private and public universities being able to use race as a factor in admissions. 

Naturally, the liberal networks were forlorn with experts, journalists, and pundits blasting, fretting, and seemingly near tears over the “disappointing” and “distressing” ruling that will further force black people to further grapple with the “traumas” of simply existing.



The takes were flowing on Disney-owned ABC. They brought in Loyola University professor Mitchell Crusto for a brief comment and he made it count by calling the decision “unfortunate” and “a bleak day for equity, diversity, and inclusion, especially for racial minorities,” and the Supreme Court has purposefully placed another obstacle of the many obstacles that they face relative to higher education.

Chief White House correspondent Mary Bruce was there to polish Biden’s apples, boasting of “the focus that this administration has put on the importance of equality” to the point it’s “at the forefront of literally everything they do here.” In turn, she boasted, her pals are hopeful this ruling will increase Democratic turnout in 2024.

Yes, really.

World News Tonight anchor David Muir brought in a college student on each side of the ruling. For the against, University of North Carolina’s Bunmi Omisore said she’s “disappointed,” “sad,” and “upset” that her identity as a black woman won’t be a feature in admissions going forward.

Because the majority opinion leaves open the door for students to be the ones to initiate discussion of race, Omisore fretted black students will be forced to “write about” the “traumas” of how “hard” it is “to be a black person.”

On the other side of the ledger, incoming Brown University student Alex Shieh hailed the ruling as consistent with the need to not “be judging students based on their race” and instead “look at the individual student and what they’ve accomplished” rather than “a blob in an amorphous, larger racial group”.

Shieh, who’s an Asian-American, offered quite the opposite of a meltdown or hot takes as he calmly called out obsessing over one’s race (click “expand”):

Well, I think that fundamentally — right — for most people, race is just it’s just a characteristic. It’s sort of the way that your body manifests. I think that in some — for some students that does play a role in how they experience the world. But for some students, it doesn’t. And I think that allowing them that option to express that in — in an essay, for instance, affords much more freedom because race doesn’t affect everybody the same way. And to just have a blanket policy where everybody’s race is considered no matter what, I don’t think that’s appropriate because it — it impacts different people in different ways. I find that a lot of these arguments oftentimes in favor of affirmative action are somewhat incongruous because I’ve heard a lot of people that say, like, hey, affirmative action, it’s a good way to overcome past discrimination. But in my experience as an Asian American, I’m not exactly sure how that works for me because it’s much more difficult for Asian Americans to gain admittance to schools than for white students, for instance and I don’t think that you’ll see in the past any instance of Asians discriminating against whites. So, for me, that sort of just falls flat. I’m going to Brown next year and I’m happy that the admissions officers at Brown took me for whatever reason. But it does make me feel a little bit uncomfortable knowing that, in that admission office, when they were deciding whether they were going to accept me, reject me, that they might have been considering my race because I think that that’s not something that I can control or that anyone can control and I think that it’s unfair to judge someone based on that when there are really so many better ways to judge students based on their character, based on their accomplishments. Race? It’s just — it’s just how you’re born and you can’t change it.


Well, I think that this whole business, when we’re deciding, based on race, at least as a factor, that’s sort of assumes that all people of a certain race are sort of monolithic, that minorities are monolithic. And I know at least for Asian Americans, is sort of the way that we’re perceived is hard working, no charisma, no character — and and you see that in those in the Harvard case. You’ll see that that’s how they view Asian American students. They see us sort of as bland and sort of lacking character. And I think that that’s sort of what happens to all minority groups when you view us first and foremost as a certain race and then just look at individual characteristics that we have later. I think we should flip that around and view our individual characteristics regardless of what race we are. First and foremost, I think that’s that’s the most appropriate way to do this, because there again, you can look at recommendation letters. You can look at — there are so many other things that you can look at. And I know that Bhoomi was mentioning sort of this holistic admissions process. In that process you have so much data, you have access to your parents income, for instance, if you might need financial aid. You have access to information about the school district that you grew up in and I think that information actually gives you knowledge of the student situation and sort of what advantages or disadvantages that you might have in life, because any student of any race at an underfunded school district won’t necessarily have the same opportunities that somebody at a very highly funded school district. And so, by looking at what opportunities they had available and how they were able to make the most of that is not something that requires you to look at race when you can actually pinpoint the experiences that a student might have had through other factors that don’t involve race.

Unfortunately, the sanity ended there. 

Contributor Kate Shaw (and wife of MSNBC’s Chris Hayes) cheered the dissenting opinions from Justices Jackson and Sotomayor, focusing on the former’s race-based worldview and bemoaning how “the flagship educational institution of a former Confederate state” in UNC will no longer be able to continue “embrac[ing] its obligation to afford genuine equal protection”.

The meltdown of the day went to liberal contributor Donna Brazile, who railed against the ruling on this “very sad day” and “disastrous” “setback” caused by six justices who went against “freedom” and “whitewashed the Constitution” by “weaken[ing]” “the most effective eliminate barriers”.

Political director Rick Klein picked up on Bruce’s take, arguing “Democrats are going to be looking to rally behind and rally against” the Supreme Court, which could result in a further “sea change” of our politics. Over on NBC, Hallie Jackson and Kristen Welker would do the same.

Fast-forward to the second break-in for President Biden’s speech and Bruce giddily summarized Biden’s remarks as “assur[ing] Americans that he does have a plan” to blunt the Court’s ruling.

Bruce also uttered a key GOP drinking game word, lamenting Republicans are “seizing on the issue of inclusion and diversity.”

On NBC, incoming Mt. Holyoke College president Danielle Holley said “it is going to be...very navigate” as her school “value[s] tremendously everything about our applicants,” but “there’s no doubt that this opinion will make our colleges and universities less diverse”.

Correspondent Antonia Hylton also joined the Special Report from Harvard, where she insisted “it...feels like a gut-punch” for students, who are “devastated” and “distressed, not really for themselves, but more for the generations of students coming up behind them.”

“For many of the minority students, not just black students, but for Latino students, Native American students, Native Hawaiian students who come from communities that have historically been very underrepresented at Harvard and schools like Harvard, they're particular worried about kids like them trying to get access to these schools in the future,” she added.

Without evidence, she claimed “the vast majority of students are” “grieving” and “just worried that Harvard is going to look a bit more like it did many decades ago when the school was much more explicitly barring access” to minorities and women.

After a muted initial set of comments, NBC brought back Harvard University law professor Guy-Uriel Charles later once he had more spice about this “watershed” and “momentous decision” and sadly “sends a very strong message to the rest of our society” about race.

Going finally to CBS, they were fairly pedestrian. CBS News legal analyst Jessica Levinson boasted that affirmative wasn’t about race, “right[ing] the wrongs of our society,” or “help[ing] people who had faced systemic dissemination,” but rather “creating more racially diverse student bodies” for everyone’s benefit.

Moments later, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett made a similar claim about how students wanting to attend “college want a more diverse campus body.”

In the Biden portion, congressional correspondent Nikole Killion adopted favorable framing to liberal claims about rampant racism (click “expand”):

For instance, Leader Hakeem Jeffries, the first black minority leader in the House, he said that the Court has turned a blind eye to the systemic racism, which is, I think a point that you heard President Biden make and one that stuck to me — discrimination still exists in America. And I think that is the debate and the argument that we saw from the justices today as well where you have Chief Justice John Roberts arguing eliminating racial dissemination means eliminating all of it. But, yet, you have somebody like Ketanji Brown Jackson in the dissent saying deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life when you have health disparities, when you still have a racial wealth gap, when you still have housing dissemination. So, you know, are we really equal? I think, you know, when we look in terms of where we are as a society, you know, there’s so much of an argument about are we in a post-racial society? And here you have some Democrats saying no, that discrimination still exists. That’s why these policies should still stand, which is why the President is proposing additional action.

To see the relevant transcripts from June 29, click here (for ABC), here (for CBS), and here (for NBC).