CNN Plays Up 'Tough Year' for Obama White House in Wake of Supreme Court Rulings
On Monday's This Hour, CNN's John Berman underlined that the Supreme Court's ruling against the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate was "another setback to the administration, in what has been a difficult year for this White House." Berman later asserted that "this has to be very frustrating for them. They feel blocked politically, legally, foreign policy-wise. Pretty much, everywhere they look now, they're getting blocked."
Co-anchor Michaela Pereira also played up how all three female justices dissented in the Hobby Lobby case and forwarded the left's spin about the Court's ruling: [MP3 audio available here; video below]
MICHAELA PEREIRA: ...I can't help but think that there are going to be people that will see this as religious freedoms – religious beliefs – trumping women's rights and their – obviously, what they can do with their bodies. Is that too simplistic a view? And you know, it's very significant to me...that three of the female justices dissented.
Pereira made her "trumping women's rights" statement during a segment with Jeffrey Toobin. In response, the CNN legal analyst actually pointed out the ideological divide at play on this issue and many others:
JEFFREY TOOBIN: ...[S]o many of these issues are about how you frame them – how you see them...the majority sees this as the oppressive hand of government telling religious people that they have to pay for things that they have moral objections to. That's the argument that prevailed with the majority. The defense sees this as women showing up for work at this huge company – with 3,000 people – and oh, by the way, because of the religious views of the owners of this company...you don't get the same health care coverage that the people down the street get and working at another company. That's how the dissenters see it, and...those are, fundamentally, views in conflict with each other, and that's why it was a close and difficult case. And that's why Democrats see this one way, Republicans see it another – in Congress and in the Supreme Court.
Nearly a half hour later, Berman and Pereira brought on left-wing columnist Sally Kohn and National Review's Rihan Salam for their take on the Court's decision. Berman led the segment by claiming that the "decision, I think, is a blow to ObamaCare a little bit," and continued with this "difficult year" line about the Obama White House. He then turned to Kohn, and spotlighted how she "walked in here today with your head hanging a little bit lower, I would say."
Kohn bewailed the "troubling" decision, and took the justices to task for supposedly siding with corporations:
SALLY KOHN, COLUMNIST : Well – and look, this is a troubling ruling, and it's not just a troubling ruling, frankly, for ObamaCare. I think we have to read the dissents very carefully here. This is a troubling ruling, in that it expands the power of corporations, at a time when corporations are way too powerful in our society.
Look, you choose to become a corporation – good on you. That is your choice. That is a legal protection. You get certain special rights and privileges when you incorporate. Now, the Supreme Court has said you also get the benefits of being a person – right? We already said you are a person for – you know, political donations and all these other things with corporate personhood. Now, you even get to have a religion. You get both sides. Corporate power is too big. The Supreme Court is doing the bidding of big business. This is a disastrous ruling for women and for all Americans.
Pereira picked up on Kohn's final point and asked Salam a rephrased version of her earlier point:
PEREIRA: Right, and to that point that this is a 'disastrous' ruling for women, the three female justices dissented. Does that – hearing that from Sally and the fact that these female justices dissented – does that make you feel that there is going to be a portion of America that's not going to agree with this ruling – is going to be quite frustrated by it?
RIHAN SALAM, NATIONAL REVIEW CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: I think there will be a portion of America that won't agree with this ruling, but partly because it's been misunderstood. So, we talk about this as a blow to the Affordable Care Act....This was a mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services. And actually, several of the pro-life Democrats, who voted for the Affordable Care Act, have said they would not have voted for the law had this mandate been explicitly debated in 2009, 2010....
Now, the Obama administration has said, no, this is not going to apply to religious non-profits later. They clarified the ruling. And what that demonstrated, is that there was actually a less-burdensome way for the government to meet their goal of meeting people's health needs without imposing this restriction.
Berman ended the segment by again zeroing in the supposedly negative year so far for the Obama administration:
BERMAN: So, let's back up from the law here for a second, and talk about the bigger picture for this White House right now, because they've had a few rulings now from the Supreme Court that have gone against them – including a key ruling today in unions. They've had a tough year in general on many fronts. I think this has to be very frustrating for them. They feel blocked politically, legally, foreign policy-wise. Pretty much, everywhere they look now, they're getting blocked.
KOHN: Well, I think they're right to be frustrated. And certainly, when you look at some of the rulings of this court – I mean, look again – look at those dissenting opinions, look at the polling of American attitudes about the Court – this is frustrating.
I really need to make two things clear here: number one, Hobby Lobby provided this coverage before they decided to drop it to file suit, which was politically motivated – number one. And number two, the majority of scientists, there's not even a debate about this. These are not abortion-related contraceptives, and this whole suit is based on a false premise. This is ridiculous – sad day.
— Matthew Balan is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Matthew Balan on Twitter.