Swept up in the excitement of Democrats and left-wing protesters constantly disrupting the first day of Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, on Wednesday, all three network morning shows read from the same script as reporters declared: “Chaos on Capitol Hill.” The hostility was touted as a “coordinated strategy” engineered by “passionate” liberal lawmakers opposed to Kavanaugh.
“Chaos on Capitol Hill. A combative start for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination hearings,” co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed at the top of NBC’s Today show. “A new round of fireworks expected today. Democrats zeroing in on everything from guns to abortion,” she continued.
Introducing a report minutes later, Guthrie emphasized: “And it was a contentious start to his confirmation hearings yesterday marked by delays, interruptions, and outbursts.” The headline on screen read: “Supreme Court Hearings Get Heated; Kavanaugh Showdown Off to Partisan, Combative Start.”
Correspondent Hallie Jackson enthusiastically predicted: “Expect every seat in here to be packed again today because day two might end up even more dramatic than day one.” She summarized the worst moments of the hearing:
New protests outside the Supreme Court....After a day of them inside the capital....Day two of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation now following a chaotic, contentious day one....The hearing had barely begun before Democrats demanded it stop....Decrying what they see as a last-minute document dump for records related to Kavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush administration....Multiple sources tell NBC News that was a coordinated strategy, one Republicans condemned.
That portion of the segment was interspersed with several protesters and Democratic senators calling for an end to the hearing.
ABC’s Good Morning America began with nearly identical rhetoric from co-host Michael Strahan: “Heated Supreme Court hearing. Chaos on Capitol Hill as the confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh gets underway. Protesters interrupting, Kavanaugh’s children removed from the room. Now, the judge heading back to the hot seat.”
Minutes later, fellow co-host Robin Roberts announced: “The judge back in the hot seat this morning after a raucous first day of confirmation hearings. Protesters disrupting the proceedings, some dressed in costumes from The Handmaid’s Tale.” The headline on screen noted: “Supreme Court Showdown; Raucous Hearing Disrupted By Protests.”
Echoing his reporting from Tuesday’s World News Tonight, correspondent Terry Moran declared on GMA:
The hearing rocked by carefully choreographed interruptions.....Democrats talking over Republican Chairman Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa.....And before long more protesters chimed in. All the while, the nominee sitting stone-faced. Although, as the room grew ever more raucous, his daughters were removed, apparently not a scene fit for kids.
Wrapping up the segment, Moran hailed “passionate” Democrats: “So when Judge Brett Kavanaugh takes his place here today, he’s going to get hammer and tong questions from the Democrats. It all shows just how passionate Democrats are to block his nomination and how powerless they feel they are to accomplish that.”
CBS This Morning managed to rein in some of the eager coverage of the protests, though the headline on screen hyped: “Confirmation Clash; Chaos Erupts at Kavanaugh Senate Hearing.” Correspondent Jan Crawford highlighted: “Democrats vowed to keep up the pressure today when Judge Brett Kavanaugh faces his first round of questions.”
The reporter explained:
The interruptions were part of a coordinated strategy by Democrats to urge Grassley to postpone Kavanaugh’s confirmation....Joined by vocal public protests, Democrats pressed for the release of all documents from Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House....Now, 70 protesters were arrested yesterday, and those disruptions will probably continue today as Judge Kavanaugh goes in this hot seat to face questions directly from the senators.
The morning after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement at the end of June, the network morning shows all promised a “bare-knuckle,” “ugly,” and “epic” fight over who would replace him. Now the media are getting their wish.