Since the 1980s, the well-worn liberal playbook is to claim that Republican appointees to the Supreme Court should be voted down as ideologues who are outside the judicial mainstream. The establishment media aids this tactic by often tagging GOP nominees as “conservative,” while ignoring — or even disputing — the liberal bent of Democratic nominees to the Court. True to form, ABC, CBS and NBC’s morning and evening broadcasts branded Judge Brett Kavanaugh a “conservative” a total of eleven times in the first 24 hours since his nomination by President Trump.
President Trump won’t officially announce his latest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court until this evening, but it’s already easy to predict the liberal media’s spin. As with all recent Republican nominees, reporters will repeatedly label them as “conservative,” which will nicely reinforce the Democrats’ strategy to paint them as outside “the mainstream.” But when Democratic Presidents announce their Supreme Court nominees, those same reporters can’t find the words to call those choices “liberal.”
The announced retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy has thrown the left even further into angry confusion. Amid all the doomsaying and rending of garments, some in the media are attempting to label Anthony Kennedy as a “traditional conservative.”
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.