Stuart Taylor on Alito nomination

This is definitely a must read. I don't have a link to the piece and I didn't think that it was proper for me to reprint the entire piece, but here is less than 20 percent of the article.

National Journal Group

Opening Argument --
Alito: A Sampling of Misleading Media Coverage
By Stuart Taylor Jr

A sometimes subtle but unmistakable pattern has emerged in major news organizations' coverage of Judge Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination.

Through various mixes of factual distortions, tendentious wording, and uncritical parroting of misleading attacks by liberal critics, some (but not all) reporters insinuate that Alito is a slippery character who will say whatever senators want to hear, especially by "distancing himself" from past statements that (these reporters imply) show him to be a conservative ideologue.

I focus here not on the consistently mindless liberal hysteria of the New York Times' editorial page. Nor on such egregious factual errors as the assertion on C-SPAN, by Stephen Henderson of Knight Ridder Newspapers, that in a study of Alito's more than 300 judicial opinions, "we didn't find a single case in which Judge Alito sided with African-Americans ... [who were] alleging racial bias." This, Henderson added, is "rather remarkable."

What is remarkable is that any reporter could have overlooked the at least seven cases in which Alito has sided with African-Americans alleging racial bias. Also remarkable is the illiterate statistical analysis and loaded language used by Henderson and Howard Mintz in a 2,652-word article published (in whole or in part) by some 18 newspapers. It makes the highly misleading claim that in 15 years as a judge, Alito has sought "to weave a conservative legal agenda into the fabric of the nation's laws," including "a standard higher than the Supreme Court requires" for proving job discrimination.

The systematic slanting -- conscious or unconscious -- of this and many other news reports has helped fuel a disingenuous campaign by liberal groups and senators to caricature Alito as a conservative ideologue. In fact, this is a judge who -- while surely too conservative for the taste of liberal ideologues -- is widely admired by liberals, moderates, and conservatives who know him well as fair-minded, committed to apolitical judging, and wedded to no ideological agenda other than restraint in the exercise of judicial power.

Here are some other examples of slanted reports about Alito, not including those noted in my November 5 and 19 columns:

* A December 3 Washington Post front-pager by Charles Babington stressed Alito's supposed effort to "distance himself" from two 1985 documents in which he had asserted that (among other things) "I am and always have been a conservative" and "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." Babington added that this distancing "may expose him to accusations of insincerity or irresolution, advocates said."

Indeed. Articles such as Babington's have fueled a clamor about Alito's supposed "credibility gap" by liberal groups and attack-dog senators like Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Liberal editorialists and columnists have joined in.

Such suggestions of insincerity are not based on anything that Alito has said. They are based on misleading characterizations by reporters of what senators say Alito has said in private meetings with them. Needless to say, some of these senators are spinning their own agendas. . . . .


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