Media Gives 10 Times More Conservative Labels for Alito Than Liberal for Kagan
by Rich Noyes
May 13, 2010
LifeNews.com Note: Rich Noyes writes for the Media Research Center, a non profit research and education foundation dedicated to studying and analyzing the bias in the mainstream media. This column originally appeared in its Newsbusters blog.
As the MRCs Tim Graham documented yesterday, ABC and NBC’s morning and evening newscasts have so far refused to tag Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a liberal, with CBSs Jan Crawford offering the sole ideological label of the nominee on Monday’s Evening News: Her career has put her solidly on the left.
In contrast, all three networks made a major deal out of the last person nominated by a Republican President for a slot on the Court, Justice Samuel Alito. Out of the first 21 stories on the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows after Justice Alitos selection, correspondents conveyed ten explicit conservative labels during the first 36 hours of coverage. In contrast, Graham documented just one liberal label in 14 Kagan stories during the equivalent time period after her selection.
In Alitos case, the networks began trumpeting ideology from the moment he was picked. Anchor Charles Gibson opened ABCs Special Report announcing Alitos nomination: He is very conservative. This is a liberal appellate court, but he is the most conservative member on it….The President has picked someone very conservative, but a very accomplished jurist as well.
Over on CBS, correspondent Thalia Assuras began: Well, this nominee is a conservative that should make conservative Republicans very happy…. After the announcement, correspondent Gloria Borger tweaked: He may be called Scalito because hes quite conservative, but the conservatives say he is not bombastic like Justice Scalia can sometimes be.
On NBC, Matt Lauer began his networks live coverage: In just a minute or so, President Bush will nominate conservative appeals court Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Co-anchor Katie Couric agreed: Alito is a favorite on the right, and he would replace moderate Justice Sandra Day OConnor.
Nearly all of the early coverage made Alitos ideology the centerpiece: This is the candidate conservatives wanted and Democrats feared, ABCs George Stephanopoulos opined on the October 31, 2005 World News Tonight, a few hours after Alito was selected. Conservatives love him, but some Democrats are already lining up to fight his nomination, NBCs Matt Lauer announced the next morning on Today.
But reporters did more than just note which ideological camps liked and disliked Alito they saw no problem with affixing the conservative label on him themselves:
# ABC World News Tonight, October 31: Anchor Elizabeth Vargas: He is said to be brilliant and A STAUNCH CONSERVATIVE.
Reporter Terry Moran: He quickly established a reputation on the bench as brilliant and deeply CONSERVATIVE.
# CBS Evening News, October 31: Anchor Bob Schieffer: Conservatives wanted a CONSERVATIVE on the Supreme Court, and said the President ought to risk a fight in the Senate to get one. Their wishes have been fulfilled.
Correspondent John Roberts: If confirmed, Alito would wipe out the swing seat now occupied by Sandra Day O’Connor, tilting the Supreme Court in a SOLIDLY CONSERVATIVE direction for years to come. # NBC Nightly News, October 31: Correspondent Pete Williams: Alito is considered dependably CONSERVATIVE, though with an independent streak.
Williams, later in the same story: Perhaps because he and Justice Scalia are both Italian American, Catholic and CONSERVATIVE, hes been nicknamed Scalito.
# CBSs The Early Show, November 1: Co-host Harry Smith: A bitter partisan confirmation battle is brewing over President Bushs Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito. Well speak with members of the Judiciary Committee and take a closer look at the CONSERVATIVE judge. Reporter Thalia Assuras: Alitos CONSERVATIVE stance would eliminate the swing vote of outgoing Justice Sandra Day OConnor….
# NBCs Today, November 1: Co-host Katie Couric: President Bushs latest Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, is known for his solid CONSERVATIVE record and a well-developed sense of humor….
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