When they’re not outright telling us what to think, the AP sometimes points out the tediously banal and attempts to use that to influence public opinion. Take today’s John Roberts-bashing piece called, “Roberts' Writings Reveal Strong Views.”

Washington Post foreign affairs reporter Robin Wright has no sense of humor -- at least when it comes to a conservative daring to make any kind of joke related to women in the workplace, even a little girl. Saying “I don't know whether they were quips,” on Friday's Washington Week on PBS, Wright proceeded to act offended as she made clear that “as a woman” she was “struck” by how, in the Reagan-era memos written by Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, he “questioned whether it was a good thing for a woman to go back later in life to law school” and he dubbed, as a “little huckster,” a Girl Scout who wanted to sell some cookies” to President Reagan. The humor-challenged Wright arrogantly judged: "I have to say, you know, one case of this is one thing, but to see this repeatedly was really striking, as a woman, to me."

Host Alan Murray pointed out that Roberts' asides were “jokes” and, as noted in an earlier NewsBusters posting by me about the Post's deliberate distortion of his quip in a story headlined “Roberts Resisted Women's Rights,” his remark about homemakers becoming lawyers was a slap not at women but at how there are too many lawyers. NBC's Pete Williams, however, chimed in with how “the President of NOW said his views are, quote, 'neanderthal.'"

The front page of Friday’s Washington Post features an article with a lead clearly framed through a liberal prism intended to paint Supreme Court nominee John Roberts as an extremist and/or a male chauvinist. “Roberts Resisted Women's Rights: 1982-86 Memos Detail Skepticism,” declares the headline over the August 19 story it took three reporters to research and write, Amy Goldstein, R. Jeffrey Smith and Jo Becker (along with six more credited at the end of the article.) The loaded lead: “Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. consistently opposed legal and legislative attempts to strengthen women's rights during his years as a legal adviser in the Reagan White House, disparaging what he called 'the purported gender gap’ and, at one point, questioning 'whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good.’”

A look at the full quote, however, shows that the Post distorted the personal aside in the memo. Roberts was not making a disparaging remark about women but -- in response to a judging panel at Clairol considering an award to a female White House staffer who had convinced some homemakers to go to law school -- he simply offered a quip about whether society needs more lawyers: "Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide."

[Update, 11:30am EDT: The New York Times got the joke.]

Described alternately as “insular,” “Mayberry-like,” and “nearly all-white,” AP writers Tom Coyne and Ashley M. Heher have raised serious questions about the racial integrity of John Roberts’ boyhood town.

In today's Washington Post on page A04, staff reporters R. Jeffrey Smith and Jo Becker penned this headline: "Library Missing Roberts File"

The headline, and the first paragraph, were seemingly written to set the tone of possible file theft by the Bush Administration:

In today's Washington Post, staff writers Amy Goldstein and Jo Becker relay excerpts from Supreme Court nominee Judge John Roberts writings during his tenure in the Justice Department and the Reagan White House which show conservative leanings on social issues like abortion and affirmative action. Goldstein and Becker start off citing a 1985 memo, then hint that it provides perhaps the "clearest insight to date on Roberts's personal views on abortion.' Of course, Roberts's personal views on abortion aren't as relevant to legal precedents like Roe v. Wade, as much as the legal reasoning underpinning such precedent. As a Court justice, Roberts would be expected to interpret the Constitution objectively and correctly, not according to his personal views. So that said, it seems Goldstein and Becker really buried the lede as later, deep within their piece, they relay something you'll never likely see front and center in a liberal metropolitan newspaper: the fact that liberal and conservative legal scholars alike agree Roe v. Wade is bad case law, arrived at by shoddy legal reasoning.

With a little nudge from the White House, Sheryl Gay Stolberg partially corrects her faulty story from yesterday on the John Roberts' nomination.