Jul
20
2009

'Objectivity'–Sotomayor's, Sessions' and AP's

In another example of how the racist record of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's top Republican questioner has gone down the memory hole, Associated Press had a whole story (7/19/09) about Sen. Jeff Sessions' assertions that Sotomayor was too prejudiced to get his vote without mentioning that the Senate Judiciary Committee had rejected Sessions when he was up for a federal judgeship precisely because of his long pro-discrimination history. On MSNBC, the subhead of the story was "Top GOP Member of Senate Committee Still Concerned About Her Objectivity." And AP reporter Douglass Daniel would tell you, I expect, that "objectivity" […]

Jul
17
2009

NYT Sotomayor 'Analysis' = What Republicans Are Thinking

Under the headline "Future Nominations Are at Stake in Hearing," New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Charlie Savage suggested that Sonia Sotomayor's nomination is a given; the real battle among partisans and legal activists is "to define the parameters of an acceptable nomination in case another seat opens up during Mr. Obama's presidency." Interesting, then, to see what the parameters of debate are like in this report. The Times solicits comments from five conservatives or Republicans–Rachel Brand, Fred McClure, James R. Copland, Manuel Miranda and Kenneth M. Duberstein. The Times also quoted one law professor with a liberal reputation […]

Jul
15
2009

Misty Water-Colored Memories of the D.C. Press Corps

Number of stories in the Nexis news database dated today that mentioned Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R.-Ala.) questioning of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, in which Sessions accused Sotomayor of harboring ethnic prejudices: 69 Number of such stories that recalled that Sessions was rejected as a judicial nominee in 1986 in part because of his approving remarks about the Ku Klux Klan: 2

Jul
12
2009

Bias 'Packaged as "News" and Endlessly Discussed'

The Women's Media Center has a new action (7/10/09) asking you to support "Media Justice for Sotomayor" against the fact that ,"since the announcement of [her] nomination to the Supreme Court, some in the media have engaged in sexist and racist attacks against her" which are "often packaged as 'news' and endlessly discussed in mainstream media outlets": The Women's Media Center is releasing its new video, "Media Justice for Sotomayor." It documents some of these racist and sexist comments already delivered on high-profile television programs, radio, print and online outlets. As Judge Sotomayor's confirmation hearings approach on July 13, the […]

Jun
15
2009

Big Media's 'Right' Minds Pretend Away Discrimination

In wonderment that, as "Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is making the rounds of the Capitol this week," corporate pundit "jackasses are still saying she has to explain her 'wise Latina' comment," Laura Flanders (Women In Media & News, 6/4/09) remarks that "the money-media have spent the week making the comment 'controversial' (and then calling it that)." After citing FAIR's debunking of this media tempest by actually contextualizing Sotomayor's 2001 hope that "a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life," […]

Jun
12
2009

Joe Klein Solves the 'Hot-Button Issues'

There's almost too much to say about this recent column Joe Klein wrote in Time magazine. But let's start by parsing this: In the good old days of the last century, the years before the collapse of the economy and the World Trade Center towers, political discourse in the U.S. was, too often, rutted in issues that didn't affect the lives of most people. They were important moral and symbolic issues, to be sure. And they were difficult issues, although their subtleties were obscured by extremists, who tended to dominate the debate. Still, the people directly affected by the so-called […]

Jun
02
2009

Sotomayor Coverage the Very 'Antithesis of Journalism'

Progressive critic Dr. Roberto Rodriguez has a new commentary (New America Media, 6/2/09) demonstrating how the miserable press reaction to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's U.S. Supreme Court "nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less." But, Rodriguez laments, "to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include Fox News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talkshow hosts, is the antithesis of journalism": Their coverage of the Sotomayor nomination points to the need for honest debate, not simply on the issues of race, but on the right wing's aversion to truth. It […]

Jun
02
2009

Pundits, and Thus Pols: 'Pathologically' Blameless

Writing on Salon (5/31/09, ad-viewing required) of the "controversy surrounding Jeffrey Rosen's New Republic anonymity-driven smear attack on Sonia Sotomayor's intellect and character," Glenn Greenwald sees more evidence that the one trait that defines establishment pundits more than any other is a pathological inability ever to accept blame or admit error. That's because they work in the most accountability-free profession in America, where people like Bill Kristol (with a record like this) and Jeffrey Goldberg (with a record like this) get promoted despite no retractions or remorse, and establishment media stars in general can pretend that they bear no responsibility […]

May
30
2009

Sotomayor Not 'Normal' Like 'Unbiased' White Pundits

Claiming that he doesn't "know at this point whether Judge Sonia Sotomayor is a good choice for Supreme Court justice or a bad one," critic Dave Lindorff (ThisCantBeHappening.net, 5/28/09) does note that she "is a lousy judge for writers and other creative people" for ruling "that the [New York] Times and periodical publishers could reprint, without any additional compensation, any freelance works they contracted." Then Lindorff proceeds to get to the real problem at the core of so much of the media criticism directed toward Sotomayor: But the elite–the white male editors and TV commentators, the white male politicians, and […]

May
29
2009

Sotomayor Not a Rags-to-Rags Story, AP Explains

This Associated Press story ("Debate Over Who Sotomayor Is a Sensitive One," 5/29/09) sure is confused. Luckilyreporter Sharon Thiemermakes at least that much clear from the very start: There are two sides to Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor: a Latina from a blue-collar family and a wealthy member of America's power elite. The White House portrays Sotomayor as a living image of the American dream, though its telling of the rags-to-riches story emphasizes the rags, a more politically appealing narrative, and plays down the riches. Yes, somehow the White House picked her despite the fact that she is no longer […]

May
29
2009

NYT's One-Sided Sotomayor Framing: Accident or Agenda?

The New York Times' front-page piece today (5/29/09) on Sonia Sotomayor's work with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund is a good example of what is meant by "framing"–and a bad example of how it can distort a story. The bulk of the story describes various cases that the group took on while Sotomayor was involved with it, which is interesting enough. But making a case for the importance of the story (justifying its inclusion on Page 1?), writers Raymond Hernandez and David W. Chen write: Ms. Sotomayor's involvement with the defense fund has so far received scant […]

May
28
2009

Spinning the Sotomayor Abortion Debate in the NYT

Charlie Savage did some good reporting on the Bush signing statements, but his front-page story in today's New York Times on reproductive rights groups' reaction to Sotomayor is way off course. His lead explains that abortion rights advocates are worried about Sotomayor, because "when she has written opinions that touched tangentially on abortion disputes, she has reached outcomes in some cases that were favorable to abortion opponents." OK, so what are those opinions? Here's what he names: She ruled in favor of the Bush administration's reinstatement of the global gag rule; she ruled that anti-abortion protesters could take police to […]

May
28
2009

Supreme Court Fights: Left-Wing Media Bias Is Seldom More Imaginary

Politico's Mike Allen writes (5/27/09) The media's left-of-center bias is rarely more apparent than during court fights. The coverage running up to the pick was slanted heavily toward the notion of how "pragmatic" Obama's legal views are and how unlikely he was to pick a liberal. So coverage of Supreme Court fights is one of the best illustrations of corporate media's supposed lean to the left? Only three of the current justices had what could be described as a "fight" over their confirmation: Clarence Thomas (confirmed by a vote of 52-48), John Roberts (78-22) and Samuel Alito (58-42); all the […]