NewsBusters is showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday evening.
Click here for posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2009. Today, the worst bias of 2010: Journalists attack the Tea Party as Nazi “goons;” Arizona’s attempt to thwart illegal immigration is likened to the Nazi occupation of Denmark; and Katie Couric suggests a Muslim version of The Cosby Show as a remedy to American “bigotry.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Former NYT Supreme Court Reporter Greenhouse: ‘Breathtaking Radicalism’ of 4 Justices Opposed to Obama-Care’
In her latest nytimes.com column, posted Wednesday night, "The Mystery of John Roberts," Linda Greenhouse, former Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, retraced previous conservatives losses at the Supreme Court from the pre-Internet days of the early '90s and the relatively muted response of conservative activists.
That set the stage for Greenhouse to criticize the "torrent of right-wing leaks" and "invective" that poured over Roberts after his shock decision upholding Obama-Care. Greenhouse, whose strident liberal moralizing is obvious now that she is no longer a reporter, suggested Roberts may have "evolved" to his position partially due to "the breathtaking radicalism of the other four conservative justices," and quoted one of her favorite judges in suggesting Roberts may read the criticism and think to himself "What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?"
The obvious reason for this trip down memory lane is to draw a then-and-now comparison with the torrent of right-wing leaks in the immediate aftermath of the decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. I’m not surprised by the claim that the crucial vote by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to uphold the health-care mandate under the Congressional tax power represented a late switch, having suggested that scenario myself in a column written the day of the decision. But I’m amazed by the leaks (to be clear, I had none) and by the invective that continues to be heaped on the chief justice.
I doubt there was a single reason for the chief justice’s evolution (I know, conservatives hate that word in the context of Supreme Court justices’ ideological trajectories), but let me suggest one: the breathtaking radicalism of the other four conservative justices. The opinion pointedly signed individually by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. would have invalidated the entire Affordable Care Act, finding no one part of it severable from the rest. This astonishing act of judicial activism has received insufficient attention, because it ultimately didn’t happen, but it surely got the chief justice’s attention as a warning that his ostensible allies were about to drive the Supreme Court over the cliff and into the abyss. (Extraneous question: Is the liberal love affair with Anthony Kennedy -- which should have ended five years ago with his preposterously patronizing opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart, upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and suggesting that women are incapable of acting in their own best interests -- finally over?)
Indeed, before she retired as a reporter, Greenhouse in July 2008 attacked Justice Kennedy for sexism after he upheld the ban on the gruesome abortion procedure. Greenhouse continued:
Readers of this column know from my regular references to Judge Richard Posner of the federal appeals court in Chicago that he is one of my favorite judges. A pragmatic libertarian and prolific author, Judge Posner has the enviable quality of being willing to say out loud exactly what he thinks. So his comment on what may lie ahead for John Roberts, in a July 5 interview with Nina Totenberg of NPR, was perhaps not surprising, but I still found it amazing. Here is what he said:
“I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All of a sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, ‘What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics.’ Right? Maybe you have to reexamine your position.”
Justice Scalia ‘Went Too Far’ Talking Immigration, But Ginburg’s Partial-Birth Abortion Rant Was Welcomed by NYTimes
On the eve of the Supreme Court's monumental decision on Obama-care Thursday morning, New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner chided Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for politicizing the bench in "A Dissent By Scalia Is Criticized As Political." But when liberal Justices get political, they are "'passionate and pointed" and finding their own voice.
When Justice Antonin Scalia read aloud from his dissent in the Arizona immigration case on Monday, including an attack on President Obama’s recent decision not to deport many illegal immigrants who arrived here as children, it raised some eyebrows. Mr. Obama’s policy was announced two months after the case had been heard.
But Monday was a busy day at the Supreme Court, and Justice Scalia’s contention that the administration was refusing to enforce the nation’s immigration laws was only briefly noted as analysts pored over the meaning of his colleagues’ striking down of key elements of the Arizona law and their ruling on juvenile sentencing.
In the days since, however, the discussion has mushroomed. Commentators from across the political spectrum have been saying that Justice Scalia, who is the most senior as well as, hands down, the funniest, most acerbic and most politically incorrect of the justices, went too far.
“Illegal immigration is a campaign issue. It wouldn’t surprise me if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads,” Judge Richard A. Posner, a prominent federal appeals court judge, wrote Wednesday in the online journal Slate. Judge Posner, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, is a famously conservative but also contrarian jurist who has criticized Justice Scalia’s focus on pure constitutional originalism as naïve and unrealistic.
While Bronner identified Posner as "famously conservative," the famously liberal columnist E.J.Dionne was not tagged with an ideological label.
The Washington Post assailed Justice Scalia in an editorial that appeared online on Wednesday, saying he was endangering his legacy and the court’s legitimacy. E. J. Dionne, a Post columnist, called for his resignation.
In contrast, liberal justices are lauded by Times reporters when they get political on the bench. Here's Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse in May 2007 praising a "passionate and pointed" dissent on partial-birth abortion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Clinton appointee, calling on Congress to overturn the Supreme Court's own ruling.
Whatever else may be said about the Supreme Court's current term, which ends in about a month, it will be remembered as the time when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found her voice, and used it....But the words were clearly her own, and they were both passionate and pointed. In the abortion case, in which the court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act seven years after having struck down a similar state law, she noted that the court was now 'differently composed than it was when we last considered a restrictive abortion regulation.' In the latest case, she summoned Congress to overturn what she called the majority's 'parsimonious reading' of the federal law against discrimination in the workplace....