Hint: We Think He’s Conservative
“Samuel Alito is a federal judge in New Jersey with established conservative credentials....Alito is considered a law and order conservative, and many Democrats believe he would oppose abortion rights....In choosing Alito, the President has made good on a campaign promise to pick Supreme Court nominees in the mold of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Alito once clerked for Justice Scalia, and his writing is so similar to the conservative justice’s, he’s sometimes nicknamed ‘Scalito.’”
— ABC’s Jessica Yellin on the October 31 Good Morning America about an hour before President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
“He is very conservative, this is a liberal appellate court, but he is the most conservative member on it....The President has picked somebody very conservative, but a very accomplished jurist as well.”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson anchoring live coverage of Alito’s nomination, October 31.
“His name is Samuel Alito....He was a former U.S. attorney, lots of experience. He’s also quite conservative. So it seems as if President Bush has made this pick to please his conservative base, which means there will be quite a fight.”
— CNN’s Carol Costello on Daybreak, October 31.
Uh, Who Dubbed Him “Scalito”?
“Conservatives were, quote, ‘deliriously happy’ over the choice. And why not? Alito’s judicial philosophy so mirrors that of the Supreme Court’s hardliner, Antonin Scalia, that he’s been nicknamed ‘Scalito.’...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.”
— CBS White House correspondent John Roberts on the October 31 Evening News.
“The real Sam Alito, according to the lawyers and other friends who know him well, is more like the second coming of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., but with a longer paper trail. They describe Alito as a studious, diligent, scholarly judge with a first-rate mind....They don’t know anyone who isn’t a journalist who actually calls him ‘Scalito.’”
— Washington Post reporters Michael Grunwald, Jo Becker and Dale Russakoff in a November 1 front-page profile of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.
Democratic Law = Alito’s Idea
“On World News Tonight, President Bush’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court. Conservatives are thrilled, liberals incensed. He once said a woman should tell her husband before she gets an abortion.”
— ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas introducing the October 31 World News Tonight. Judge Alito merely ruled on the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s notification law, which was signed by Democratic Governor Bob Casey.
“Like Justice Scalia, Alito is an intellectual favorite of conservatives. One reason: He has favored limits on abortion; most notably arguing that women seeking abortions should be required to inform their husbands first, a position shot down by the Supreme Court.”
— CBS’s Gloria Borger on the October 31 Evening News.
“A Repugnant View of Marriage”
“I want to ask you about this 1991 opinion, Joe Watkins, he was the lone dissenter. He argued that a woman should have to notify her husband before she gets an abortion. Now, let me just say Sandra Day O’Connor heard this same case and Sandra Day O’Connor said this reflects a repugnant view of marriage. Women do not lose their constitutional rights because they’re married....Does this opinion give even you pause? And, again, Sandra Day O’Connor’s notation that it was a repugnant view of marriage?”
— Diane Sawyer to conservative commentator Joe Watkins on ABC’s Good Morning America, November 1.
Fearing the End of Roe v. Wade
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: “[Judge Alito] thought it was okay that Pennsylvania insisted that a woman get her husband’s permission before she got an abortion.....”
CNN’s Carol Costello: “Why, legally, would you uphold something like that? That a woman would have to check with her husband first in order to get an abortion?...I guess what I’m, I’m trying to get at is, is this is a very conservative judge, and he’s going to be against legalized abortion? I mean, you could draw that conclusion from this, couldn’t you? Or could I?”
Toobin: “I think it’s a very good indication that this is a judge who will want to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Daybreak October 31, soon after word of Alito’s impending nomination leaked out. In fact, the law only required notification if the husband was also the baby’s father, not his “permission.”
Bush Failed, They Died
“The sad marker that we all dreaded, but knew was coming, came today. The deaths of three more American service members brought the total U.S. dead in the war to 2,000....More than 90 percent of the 2,000 who died in the war have died since the President declared major combat was at an end in May 2003.”
— Bob Schieffer on the October 25 CBS Evening News.
What Liberals Dream About
“The long-predicted ‘conservative crackup’ is at hand. The ‘movement’ — that began 50 years ago with the founding of Bill Buckley’s National Review; that had its coming of age in the Reagan Years; that reached its zenith with Bush’s victory in 2000 — is falling apart at the seams.”
— Newsweek’s Howard Fineman in a Web-exclusive commentary posted on his magazine’s Web site, October 12.
Can You Spot the Bias?
“Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s CIA-leak inquiry is focusing attention on what long has been a Bush White House tactic: slash-and-burn assaults on its critics, particularly those opposed to the President’s Iraq war policies.”
— Opening sentence of October 18 AP dispatch by Tom Raum, a “news analysis” piece that many Web sites, including CNN and the Washington Post, packaged as a straight news report.
Dreaming of a Watergate Sequel
“Did the fierce battle of leaks between elements of the Central Intelligence Agency who opposed going to war in Iraq and the hawks in the Vice President’s office escalate to actual law breaking? Did the Vice President, in an effort to defend himself from an onslaught of charges by Joseph Wilson, urge his staff to silence the former ambassador? Did Cheney, through anger or loss of temper, create a climate for political hardball and worse? Did he stoke his staff in the late spring and early summer of 2003 to such a level of ferocity that some of its members crossed the line into illegality? And will Patrick Fitzgerald determine that in doing so, he crossed that dire line himself?”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews introducing Hardball, Oct. 18.
“Tonight on Hardball, we try to figure it out again, if people in the Bush administration crossed the line separating political hardball — tough, clean, Machiavellian politics — and criminality. We’re led tonight by the news coverage to that unsavory tandem of questions: What did the President know and when did he know it?”
— Matthews introducing the October 19 Hardball.
Cheney’s Cheeks, Libby’s Jowls?
“The real lingering question for me is, was this a one-man band, or were there others in the administration who were linked to his efforts to do that? And, of course, the question that will be raised by a lot of people not in any way fans of this administration: What did Dick Cheney know and when did he know it? You know, they’re joined almost cheek by jowl, they ride to work every morning, they’ve been very close philosophically and personally for a long time.”
— Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews on October 28, soon after the indictment of former Cheney aide Lewis Libby.
Nina’s Campaign for Higher Taxes
Host Gordon Peterson: “If you’re running against a Republican in a vulnerable district, you’ve got Iraq, you’ve got Harriet Miers, you’ve got Katrina, you got Tom DeLay being indicted. You’ve got a lot of ammunition.”
NPR’s Nina Totenberg: “And you’ve got the tax cuts!...One of the other things is you say, ‘Look, we’re in this mess fiscally and they want to increase the tax cuts for the most wealthy people in the United States, the top one half of one percent would get a hundred thousand dollars, people who make over a million dollars,’ or something like that.”
Wall Street Journal’s John Harwood: “It didn’t work so well for Democrats in ‘04, though.”
Totenberg: “That’s ’04, I think.”
— Exchange on Inside Washington, October 22.
Al’s Ready to Throw the Switch
“The President’s father...has said that outing a CIA agent is treason....What it looks like is going to happen is that [Lewis] Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed....I don’t know how I feel about it because I’m basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed.”
— Left-wing Air America radio host Al Franken on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, October 21.
Drat! He Figured It Out
Host Bill Maher: “[Louis Farrakhan] was saying, last Saturday in Washington, that he thinks that the federal government, there was a conspiracy to actually blow up those levees so that they would flood the poor black districts in New Orleans. I have to tell you, I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe it. But when you see some of the things that have gone on in this country-”
Spike Lee: “Exactly. It’s not far-fetched....Presidents have been assassinated. So why is that so far-fetched?...If they can rig an election, they can do anything!”
— HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, October 21.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Ken Shepherd, Megan McCormack, Mike Rule
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
CIRCULATION MANAGER: Jennifer Bookwalter