On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the oral argument for the controversial Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer. The case tackles the idea of a separation between church and state, “The question: Can states refuse to give money to churches even when it's for something that doesn't involve worship,” noted Anchor Lester Holt during NBC Nightly News. And judging by questions asked by the justices, it appeared as though the majority might side with the church. And judging by NBC’s coverage, the network was appalled by the idea.
An MRC analysis of labels used on ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows during the 24 hours after each of the past six Supreme Court nominations demonstrates the pattern. GOP nominees John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch were labeled by reporters as “conservative” a total of 36 times, while Democratic nominees Sonya Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Merrick Garland were called “liberal” a mere seven times — all on CBS. In fact, there were more occasions (10) when reporters either denied that a Democratic nominee was liberal, or labeled them “centrist” or “moderate.” Republican nominees were never described as “centrist” or “moderate.”
Whomever Barack Obama selects to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia expect the liberal media to worry the selection isn’t progressive enough. As might be expected, journalists criticize the Supreme Court appointments made by Republican presidents as “hardline” and “very conservative.” But even the nominees elevated by recent Democratic presidents have been challenged as not liberal enough for the media’s taste.
Reporting on the outcome of Harris v. Quinn on the front page of Tuesday's Washington Post, staff writers Jerry Markon and Robert Barnes buried the perspective of the successful party in the case, non-unionized home health care worker Pam Harris, in the 21st paragraph of the 29-paragraph article, "Ruling on union dues a blow to organized labor."
But right out of the gate, Markon and Barnes choreographed a melodrama pitting a narrow conservative majority on the Court versus the nation's labor unions and their valiant liberal defenders on the Court. An excerpt is reproduced below (emphasis mine):
Matea Gold and Robert Barnes utterly failed this morning as ostensibly objective journalists. In their front-page stories covering yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Washington Post staffers front-loaded their stories with melodramatic political language suitable for a left-wing "campaign finance reform" group's press release rather than objective news copy.
"An elite class of wealthy donors who have gained mounting influence in campaigns now has the ability to exert even greater sway," Gold groused in her lead graf. In the column to her right, Barnes, the Post's Supreme Court correspondent began by offering that:
Better belated than never.
More than two years after she dishonestly claimed that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was caught "heckling" President Obama during his State of the Union address, Rachel Maddow has finally come clean on what actually occurred. (video after page break)
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is clearly beside herself over the possiblity the Supreme Court might strike down ObamaCare.
"This court," she wrote Wednesday, "is well on its way to becoming one of the most divisive in modern American history...It is run by hacks dressed up in black robes...[M]irrors the setup on Fox News":
Syndicated columnist Mark Shields on Friday excoriated Supreme Court justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts for "taking our system and absolutely screwing it up completely."
Appearing on PBS's Inside Washington, Shields was complaining about how "these campaigns have been taken over totally by Super PACs" as a result of the Citizens United decision (video follows with transcript and commentary):
George Washington just got a promotion. Yes, he's still one of the slave-owning oligarchs who, according to liberals, stuck us with a short-sighted Constitution, and whose colleagues were probably having sex with slaves.
But with the 2012 election on the line and conservatives citing the Founders' legacy as a touch-stone of limited government, Time Magazine has found it useful to turn the first president into a proto-liberal.
NPR's Nina Totenberg spent more than 4 minutes on Wednesday's Morning Edition to supposed ethical conflicts of interest for conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia. By contrast, Totenberg devoted only 17 seconds to the more current issue of liberal Justice Elena Kagan's service in the Obama administration as a factor in upcoming cases before the Court.
Host Renee Montagne introduced the correspondent's report by noting how both "liberal groups have chastised conservative justices for attending private conferences put on by conservative political interests, and conservative groups have responded by leveling some criticism in the other direction." However, the journalist devoted the first three minutes of a seven-and-a-half minute segment on the criticism launched at Clarence Thomas's wife from the left:
The video-game industry has won again in court, insisting on their right to make the most debased gaming experience imaginable and market it to children with little commercial restraint. On June 27, the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 against California’s law mandating that children are not allowed to purchase “Mature” video games without a parent.
The political elites are celebrating the Court ruling as a victory for a vibrant First Amendment, rejectinthe very notion of social responsibility on the part of the video-game makers and their often-twisted conceptualization of what constitutes “fun” for children.
Ever since Justice Samuel Alito mouthed "not true" after an inaccurate partisan applause line at President Obama's State of the Union address earlier this year, some in the mainstream media have been keen on presenting the conservative wing of the Supreme Court as partisan political actors with an eye on sticking it to the Obama administration wherever possible.
Today, New York Daily News writer Richard Sisk dusted off the meme in a short item chock full of loaded language painting Alito and Chief Justice Roberts in a negative light (emphasis mine) for opting to "boycott" the 2011 State of the Union Address: