Nets Fretted Over ‘Staunch Conservative’ Courtroom Selections, Skimp on Liberal Labels for Dem Picks


Joe Biden on February 25 nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to fill the emptiness of Supreme Courtroom Justice Stephen Breyer. In terms of ideological labels for prime court docket picks, the networks have one rule: Republican nominees are “staunch,” worrisome conservatives. Democratic nominees, nonetheless, are hardly ever labeled as excessive liberals. 

in article 1

Within the 24 hours after the nomination went public, the morning and night newscasts on ABC, CBS and NBC solely used the liberal/left label 5 instances for Jackson. In distinction, over an identical 24 hour interval after the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, the identical networks deluged the general public with 13 labels, displaying concern over the “staunchest” of “dedicated” conservatives. 

This partisan cut up on Supreme Courtroom nominees is nothing new on the networks. Because the nomination of John Roberts in 2005, ABC, CBS and NBC have used 60 conservative labels within the first 24 hours after an announcement of a GOP Supreme Courtroom choose and simply 12 liberal labels for Democratic alternatives. 



On the February 25 night newscasts, there have been simply two liberal labels for Jackson. Each of them had been paraphrased feedback from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. On ABC’s World Information Tonight, Rachel Scott famous the Republican had voted to verify Jackson as a circuit decide. She added, “[Graham] got here out as we speak and referred to as this a win for the novel left.” On the NBC Nightly Information, Peter Alexander echoed this, saying, “Graham tweeted [that] the novel left has received President Biden over but once more.” 

The morning reveals on February 26 repeated the road from Graham. On CBS Saturday Morning, Ed O’Keefe generically famous that Republicans assume she’s a “a car of the far-left.” In whole, there have been three extra labels, bringing the overall within the first 24 hours to 5. 

Much more common was non-ideological praise, resembling Jan Crawford on the CBS Night Information touted Crawford’s “stellar tutorial and authorized credentials and a compelling life story.” She added, “Her resume reads like that of a future justice: Graduating with honors from Harvard and Harvard legislation.” 

Opening World Information Tonight, anchor David Muir singled out Jackson’s religiosity: “Choose Jackson saying her religion obtained her right here, saying she’s humbled by this extraordinary honor.”  Many of the segments appropriately identified the historic nature of Jackson’s nomination and that she could be very nicely certified. 

However that is all fairly the distinction to the strict warnings and fear the journalists used when then-President Donald Trump introduced Amy Coney Barrett as his alternative on September 26, 2020. On that day’s CBS Weekend Information, Jan Crawford fretted, “[Barrett] sees the legislation loads like her previous boss, the late Justice Scalia…. That might make her one of many court docket’s staunchest conservatives” 



On the NBC Nightly Information, Hallie Jackson referred to as out the selection: “From President Trump, a transfer to cement a extra conservative Supreme Courtroom for a era….In contrast to [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg, Barrett is a dedicated conservative. The federal appeals court docket decide nicely appreciated by the President, key Republicans, and lots of on the spiritual proper.” 

On the September 27, 2020 Good Morning America, the present’s journalists highlighted Barrett’s religion connections. Visitor host Rachel Scott noticed: “The religious Catholic has sturdy assist amongst spiritual conservatives and anti-abortion activists.”  Reporter Janai Norman famous, “Barrett is religious Catholic with sturdy assist amongst spiritual conservatives and anti-abortion activists.” 

On the identical day’s Right this moment, Willie Geist warned that Barrett might “lock in a conservative majority for a era.” 

The sample has repeated itself for President Trump’s different nominees, in addition to Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama. 

On the July 10, 2018 CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford referred to as Brett Kavanaugh a “conservative mental powerhouse” who had a “conservative judicial philosophy.”

On the identical day’s Good Morning America, Terry Moran labeled the nominee a “true blue loyal foot soldier in so most of the conservative authorized causes and partisan Republican battles of the previous era.” 

When George W. Bush picked John Roberts in 2005, GMA’s Nina Totenberg discovered him to be “very, very conservative.” Additionally in 2005, World Information Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas deemed Sam Alito was a “staunch conservative.” 

In distinction, right here’s what former MRC Research Director Rich Noyes found when it got here to Democrats: 

ABC and NBC’s personal correspondents by no means referred to any of President Obama’s Courtroom alternatives as “liberal” throughout their first 24 hours of protection, whereas CBS supplied seven such labels — two for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one for Justice Elena Kagan, and 4 for Choose Merrick Garland, whose nomination failed within the face of GOP opposition.

Because the nomination of Jackson proceeds, there’s one factor viewers may be positive of: Journalists won’t fret and fear in regards to the “staunch,” “dedicated” liberalism of the potential Supreme Courtroom justice. 

(Director of Media Evaluation Geoffrey Dickens on February 23 highlighted the hypocrisy in the case of the mainstream media: Democratic Supreme Courtroom nominees are by no means liberal sufficient.)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here