Washington Times Cites MRC In Detailing Media’s Promotion of Sotomayor

Today’s (Friday’s) Washington Times picks up on a recent report from the Media Research Center (you can read it here) documenting the outpouring of positive coverage for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. The piece, by reporter Jennifer Harper, quotes NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes, but also included a quote from Democratic operative Dan Gerstein claiming, “If President Bush had appointed someone with the same background — working class, an up-by-the-bootstraps story — the coverage would have been exactly the same.”

As TimesWatch editor Clay Waters pointed out yesterday, the press had a far more cynical reaction to the “up-by-the-bootstraps” story of Clarence Thomas, elevated to the Supreme Court by the first President Bush back in 1991.

An excerpt from Harper’s Washington Times piece, “Sotomayor Finds Favor in Coverage”:
For much of the mainstream press, she was incredible, amazing and remarkable - three of the many adjectives used in news coverage to describe the Supreme Court nominee during the past 48 hours. Judge Sotomayor was often framed as a historic figure with street smarts, character and warmth.

"The media elite are helping to build Sotomayor up as a folk hero, whose sympathetic life story is supposed to trump issues of judicial philosophy or her controversial statements about using the courts to reshape the law," said Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center, which analyzed recent broadcast treatment of the nominee.

The analysis said that coverage "stressed Sotomayor's life, not her liberalism," and specifically cited some contrasting coverage of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas when he was a nominee in 1991. "Make no mistake, old people, poor people, black people, women, forget about it. Clarence Thomas is not your friend," noted NBC correspondent Bob Herbert at the time....

Yet gentle treatment by the press is typical in the early days of a much anticipated event, some say.

"It's a mistake to see an ideological or partisan bias in the coverage. The press loves conflict, and there will much to come in the confirmation process. But the press also loves feel-good, human-interest stories. I don't see liberal bias here, but rather a great personal story. It's irresistible," said Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein.

"If President Bush had appointed someone with the same background — working class, an up-by-the-bootstraps story — the coverage would have been exactly the same," he said.
Double Standards Sotomayor Nomination MRC/NB News Sonia Sotomayor Clarence Thomas

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