NY Times' Selective Use of Political Labels in Alito Story

Let’s look at the use of the labels "conservative" and "liberal" in Tuesday's New York Times online story of the Alito confirmation vote.

Reporter David Stout begins:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who has been widely praised for his intellect and integrity but both admired and assailed for his conservative judicial philosophy, was confirmed today as the 110th justice in the history of the Supreme Court.
A few paragraphs down we read:
The vote is also a triumph for the conservative movement, whose adherents have longed to tilt the balance of the court to the right.
The Times continues to use the “conservative” label throughout the story. Examples:
Legal scholars have described (Alito’s) jurisprudence as … solidly conservative. …

He’s the second relatively young conservative to ascend to the court in recent months. …

As an undergraduate at Princeton and a student at Yale Law School, he garnered … notice for his conservative views. …

His involvement with a conservative Princeton alumni group became something of an issue. ….
While generous with the “conservative” label, The Times doesn’t apply the “liberal” label to any current political figure. Instead we get this:
Among two Republican supporters of abortion rights, Senators Olympia J. Snowe of Maine voted for Judge Alito, while Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island voted no, the only Republican to do so.
Snowe and Chafee are staunch Senate liberals.

Why doesn't The Times call them that? And why doesn't The Times describe Alito's confirmation as a defeat suffered by the liberal movement, whose adherents have longed to keep the court tilted to the left?

We know why: The Times wants to convince people that conservatives have an agenda while the liberals who follow its editorial line don't.

And speaking of that, are you finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between Times' news reporting and its editorials?
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