CNN’s Talking Heads Overwhelmingly Repeat Liberal Spin on Court Decision

April 29th, 2008 3:04 PM

Wolf Blitzer and pundits on Monday’s "The Situation Roon" followed-up on Kelli Arena and Wolf Blitzer’s biased reporting on the Supreme Court upholding Indiana’s voter ID law with two segments featuring five talking heads -- four liberals to one conservative. In the first segment, Donna Brazile, who appeared in Arena’s report via sound bite and continued her "voter suppression" argument, faced-off against Republican strategist John Feehery, who effectively countered the liberal argument by bringing up the fact that he had to show ID in order to enter the CNN studio. In the second segment, Jeffrey Toobin, Jack Cafferty, and Gloria Borger picked up on Brazile’s suppression argument and portrayed the Court’s decision as possibly "something sinister" and a "partisan enterprise."

Just before the bottom of the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room," only minutes after the Blitzer/Arena segment, Blitzer, as part of the regular "Strategy Session" segment, brought up the Supreme Court decision in a question to Brazile. After correcting Blitzer as to the correct name of the Bush v. Gore decision referenced in the question, Brazile outlined her voter suppression argument. "Well, Wolf, all the problems we have with election administration in this country with provisional ballots, with people been disenfranchised, the Supreme Court created a problem that doesn't exist. We don't have problems of voter fraud in this country, people impersonating others. Yes, this will harm Democratic efforts to get out minorities and poor people and senior citizens and students."

When Feehery then brought up how "fraud is a problem, it's been a problem," Brazile cast doubt on his argument, which led Feehery to bring up his own driver’s license argument. "[L]et's make sure there is no fraud. I think -- you know, I had to use my driver's license to get into this building. I don't think it's that high of a hurdle to use a driver's license to get -- to be able to vote. Brazile then used a bit of hyperbole to counter his argument. "I have a greater possibility of being hit by lightning than seeing election fraud.... The Supreme Court even couldn't find fraud. But they said it's easy to get an ID, so why not require it? It's just a small problem for people. It's a huge problem if you don't have $16.50 to buy a driver's license."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Jeff Toobin, Jack Cafferty, Gloria Borger | screencap by NewsBusters.orgLater, at the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour, during the discussion with Toobin, Cafferty, and Borger, Blitzer asked Cafferty, "Jack, did they make the right call?" After a brief sarcastic remark, Cafferty quipped, "[T]here's something sinister about these kinds of laws.... The people who may not be able to cast a vote because they can't comply with this law tend to be poor people. They tend to be Democrats. The legislation was supported by the Republicans in Indiana and it was backed by the conservatives on the Supreme Court."

Cafferty then asked Toobin, "Is there something sinister going on?" Toobin, echoing Brazile, answered, "Well, I don't think there's any doubt that this was a partisan enterprise. You know, Democrats have said from the beginning, this is a cure for which there was no disease. Voter fraud is not a major problem in this country."

Borger more directly addressed the "voter suppression" issue in her comments, and then guessed about the possible impact on the upcoming election. "Voter suppression has been a problem in this country. So this case before the Supreme Court does not appear in a political vacuum. And Democrats worry, given past history with voter suppression, that when -- if you get to a close general election -- and believe me, we all know we've been there before -- that this could truly make a difference for them."

Near the end of their discussion, Toobin made the following prediction about voter ID laws. "[L]ook for states with Republican legislatures and Republican governors to start pushing these laws.... It happened in Indiana, happened in Georgia, happened in Florida. And any state where you have that kind of political alignment, you're going to see laws like this."