https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-980_f2q3.pdfMonday afternoon, the Associated Press covered the just-released Supreme Court decision on Ohio's voter-roll purging procedures. Both the APNews.com tease and reporter Mark Sherman's content misled readers by stating that the Court, in upholding those procedures, had declared that "States can target people who haven’t cast ballots in a while in efforts to purge their voting rolls." Since when is trying to make sure that voters still live where they say they live is a form of "targeting"? And since when is six years "a while"?
The first questionable habit of the liberal Fact Checkers is to nitpick tweets, especially Trump tweets. There can be outrageous and blatantly false statements in a tweet, but often tweets use a political shorthand. The headline was "AP FACT CHECK: Trump wrongly claims GOP can hold top court". Trump tweeted that "we need more Republicans in 20189 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court" to prevent a repeal of the Second Amendment.
The latest episode in the Trump administration's long-running legal battle to impose a temporary ban on travel from several nations concluded on Monday. Its result, as described by National Review's David French, was that "in a per curiam ruling, the Supreme Court restored the vast majority of the Trump administration’s temporary travel ban — including the temporary ban on refugee entry." Much of the establishment press is nevertheless describing this major Trump administration legal victory as "partial" and "limited." Most reports are also failing to note that the ruling was unanimous.
On Tuesday at TheFederalist.com, 2015 Noel Sheppard Blogger of the Year recipient Mollie Hemingway pointed to several outrageous examples of poor press coverage of the Supreme Court's unanimous move to send Obamacare's HHS contraception mandate case back to the lower courts.
Hemingway's core observation was that usually plaintiff-sympathetic establishment press outlets "suddenly have trouble even naming the Little Sisters of the Poor" until their stories' very late paragraphs. She even found that Adam Liptak's story at the New York Times, one of the establishment press's two primary gatekeepers, failed to mention the Little Sisters at all in a 1,283-word report. One item she did not cite was at the Associated Press, the other primary gatekeeper, where the coverage was in some respects even worse.
Never one to let facts get in the way of the proabort narrative, Mark Sherman at the Associated Press characterized today's 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow Texas's abortion law to stand while on appeal as one rendered by "the court's conservative majority."
Really? Anthony Kennedy is one of the justices in the critical "Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which reaffirmed in principle (though without many details) the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment." That's hardly "conservative," though Sherman at least applied the "liberal" label to the four dissenters. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
In a story appearing this morning at the Politico about the Department of Justice's broad and unannounced subpoenas of the April and May 2012 personal and business phone records of reporters and editors at the Associated Press involving 20 phone lines and involving over 100 reporters and editors, James Hohmann found several "veteran prosecutors" who aren't necessarily outraged by what most members of the press and several watchdog groups have declared a blatant overreach. Instead, Hohmann summarizes their "far more measured response" as: "It’s complicated."
Hohmann utterly ignored a May 15 Washington Post story which chronicled claimed discussions between AP and government officials. Ultimately, it appears that the Obama administration's Department of Justice under Eric Holder may have only gone after AP out of spite because the wire service refused to accommodate administration requests to allow it time to crow about foiling a terrorist plot before the story gained meaningful visibility, and not because the release of the story, especially after what appears to have been an appropriate and negotiated delay, represented a genuine security risk. One obvious unanswered question is why DOJ waited, according to the AP's Mark Sherman in his original story, until "earlier this year" to obtain the phone records if it was so darned important to find out who the alleged leaker was.
In a disptach early this evening, the Associated Press's Pete Yost, perhaps signaling his employer's intent to remain the journalistic lapdog known as the Administration's Press, accepted at face value Attorney General Eric Holder's claim, while defending his department's actions, to have played no role in its wide-ranging subpoena of two months of AP phone records involving 20 cellular, personal and business lines used by over 100 wire service reporters and editors. Yost also did not address whether DOJ received judicial approval for its fishing expedition, a question the AP's Mark Sherman identified last night as unresolved.
It apparently hasn't occurred to Yost that if an Attorney General is aware that his underlings are about to engage in blatant, First Amendment-chilling prosecutorial overreach and intimidation -- a characterization the reporter himself made clear is shared by critics of all political stripes -- merely removing oneself from the case is a completely insufficient reaction. Instead, the AG is duty-bound to order it not to happen, and to remove anyone who chooses to defy his order. If the AG supports what his people have done, then he's responsible for the results and fallout. That's how being the boss is supposed to work. Excerpts from Yost's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on a trip underwritten by the U.S. State Department (aren't justices expected to keep their distances from the government to protect their perceived impartiality?), was in Egypt on Wednesday at a Cairo University law school seminar. While there, according to the Associated Press's Mark Sherman, she told students that (in Sherman's words) "she was inspired by last year's protests that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's regime" and to speak to them (in her words) "during this exceptional transitional period to a real democratic state." The news that Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties now control about 75% of the seats in the country's parliament seems not to have registered with Ginsburg or Sherman -- or, for that matter, the State Department.
Sherman's AP story failed to note what Ms. Ginsburg said about the U.S. Constitution in an Egyptian TV interview, as did virtually all of the rest of the establishment press. ABC's Ariane de Vogue is currently the most notable exception, but as readers will see, she clearly buried the lede. Here are key paragraphs from her report (the related video is at Hot Air; the relevant portion begins at the 9:28 mark; bolds are mine):
The dictionary from which Sherman is working must have interesting definitions of "unsentimental" and "compassionate."
See for yourself in the first four paragraphs of the AP writer's report on what is known thus far from the documents provided by the Clinton Library relating to Ms. Kagan:
Headlines can be an excellent window into the biases, albeit sometimes subtle, of editors. An AP story about a gun rights case, McDonald v. Chicago, challenging the Windy City's handgun ban before the Supreme Court today is one such example.
"High court looks at reach of Second Amendment" reads the headline the Associated Press assigned its story by Mark Sherman.
The AP's headline is pretty straightforward and unbiased. As Sherman reported in his story, the controversy in question is whether the ruling in Heller extends to the states or if the ruling only forbids the federal and D.C. governments from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.
Yet at least two media outlets picking up on Sherman's story opted for more loaded headlines.
By now, you have all heard of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision prohibiting the death penalty in cases of child rape. Having read several articles, the mainstream media's take on the case was mostly informational and understated. And that was to be expected. While the ruling could be considered a victory for civil libertarians, even the press understands that you can't do a victory dance when a child rapist is spared the death penalty.
The United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana's voter ID law today in a 6-3 decision. In an earlier post, Ken Shepherd pointed out that Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman framed the ruling as "splintered." While the four conservative Justices joined in the majority opinion, the decision itself was written by liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, and so Sherman's terminology is questionable at the very least.
But this isn't the first time Sherman has used the phrase "splintered." When the Supreme Court issued its death penalty ruling two weeks ago, Sherman wrote:
U.S. executions are all but sure to resume soon after a nationwide halt, cleared Wednesday by a splinteredthat approved the most widely used method of lethal injection.
Incredibly, Sherman framed this decision as being made by the "conservative court led by Chief Justice John Roberts," even though it was a 7-2 decision.