Wednesday's lead editorial on Bush's Supreme Court nominee John Roberts delivers invective worthy of Sen. Kennedy on Robert Bork (or the editorial board's own Adam Cohen  about anyone to the right of William Brennan ):
"If he is a mainstream conservative in the tradition of Justice O'Connor, he should be confirmed. But if on closer inspection he turns out to be an extreme ideologue with an agenda of stripping away important rights, he should not be.The far right is on a drive to resurrect ancient, and discredited, states' rights theories. If extremists take control of the Supreme Court, we will end up with an America in which the federal government is powerless to protect against air pollution, unsafe working conditions and child labor."
Yet when it suits a liberal agenda, the paper's editors can be quite friendly toward states' rights, (or"federalism ") as was the case when the Senate was debating tort reform legislation.
Political reporter Adam Nagourney files "Bush's Strategy for Court; Disarm the Opposition," in which he tips his hat to Bush's political skill but betrays a large labeling disparity, talking of Bush planting a "conservative imprint on the Supreme Court." Nagourney's story has eight mentions of "conservatives," one "right wing" and a mention of Bush "moving the court to the right." Meanwhile, liberal activists are identified only as "abortion rights groups," without ideological labels like "liberal."
By contrast, the usually label-happy David Kirkpatrick  contains himself in his story about groups on the left and right girding up to fight over Roberts. Kirkpatrick finds four "liberals" to go with three "conservatives."
Supreme Court specialist Linda Greenhouse has a "news analysis" on the Roberts pick, "Anchored in Modern Law." (Roberts is apparently thus anchored, as opposed to those conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.)
With impressive psychic powers, Greenhouse writes of the marginalized anger felt by Scalia and Thomas and contrasts that with the supposedly more reasonable and respectful Roberts: "There are others, potential nominees whom the president might have chosen, who probably also feel a lump in the throat when they think about the Supreme Court, but it is caused by anger rather than reverence. That is not to say that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, whom President Bush had offered as his models for a Supreme Court selection, do not respect the institution, but their stance is one of opposition to many currents of modern legal thought that the court's decisions reflect. Now the question is whether Judge Roberts, if confirmed, will, like those two justices, commit himself to recapturing a distant constitutional paradise in which the court was faithful to the original intent of the framers or whether, like the justice he would succeed, he finds himself comfortably in the middle rather than at the margin. His rsum suggests the latter, as does his almost complete lack of a paper trail. There are no flame-throwing articles or speeches, no judicial opinions that threaten established precedent, no visible hard edges."
For the editorial on Bush's Supreme Court nominee John Roberts click here .
Nagourney on Roberts click here .
Greenhouse on Roberts click here .
Touting a Left-Wing "Body Count" for Iraqi Civilians
Hassan Fattah touts a left-wing anti-war report on civilian casualties in Iraq in a Wednesday story featuring a headline that betrays none of the politicized controversy over the report. Instead the head lends the hodge-podge "report" (collected mostly by news clippings) a false sense of authority: "Civilian Toll in Iraq Is Placed at Nearly 25,000."
As if this ideological "report" is the last word on the matter. Fattah's story at least notes the report "is sure to stir debate" while noting the issue of civilian deaths in Iraq "has long been contentious."
But the highly political nature of the report is avoided. As noted by National Review Online's mediablog , the researchers are affiliated with far-left outfits  like Counterpunch and Peace UK (and, strangely, a lot of music departments all over England). Hardly scholarly.
"According to the new report, American fire accounted for the greatest loss of life in Iraq, about 9,270 civilians, or 37.3 percent of the total. There are no estimates by the American government of civilian deaths at the hands of the American military. Most of those fatalities came during the war, the report stated. The crime wave that has overcome Iraq since the Saddam Hussein government fell was the second leading cause of death, accounting for almost 35.9 percent of the deaths, or 8,935, the report said."
Here's the website  of the unlabeledleft-wing group. The actual 28-page "dossier" refers to the terrorists who kill Iraqi civilians with car bombs and the like as "unknown agents," innocuously defined as "those who do not attack obvious military/strategic or occupation-related targets." The report mildly notes that these "unknown agents" are planting "suicide bombs in markets and mosques."
You can read the rest of Fattah here .
Blistering Blair Over the Iraq War
London-based Alan Cowell once again can't help himself from fingering Tony Blair for blame in the London terror bombings in Wednesday's 'Seeking Moderate Support, Blair Meets Muslim Leaders."
Near the top he writes: "A new opinion survey published in The Guardian on Tuesday said two-thirds of Britons believed there was a direct link between the bombings on July 7 that claimed 56 lives and Mr. Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq as the main ally of the United States."
But that same poll disputes  Cowell'sthinking that Blair would suffer politically after the terrorist attack. The story accompanying the poll notes: "Labour's poll lead remains almost unchanged on last month's Guardian/ICM findings Despite public unease about the prime minister's decision to support the invasion of Iraq, Labour has the support of 39% of voters (up one point on last month), the Conservatives 31% (no change) and the Liberal Democrats 23% (no change)."
Cowell continues: "The Iraq war has been unpopular with many Britons. Even before a bullet was fired, over one million people marched through London in protest in early 2003. Since then, the decision to side with the White House has haunted Mr. Blair.Earlier this month, as Mr. Blair basked in a series of political and diplomatic triumphs, the Iraq debate seemed to be receding. But it has revived as Britons ponder whether the four British Muslim men aged between 18 and 30 who bombed three subway trains and a bus had been inspired to do so because of their opposition to Mr. Blair's policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere."
More Cowell here .
Loving the "Anti-Wal-Mart"
Steven Greenhouse has a long profile of the mass discount retailer Costco in the Sunday Business section, "How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart." The photo caption reads in part: "The company is challenging the idea that discount retailers must pay workers poorly." The clear implication: Wal-Mart does.
It's not so much a liberally biased story as one that will please liberals, confirmed by the story's #1 spot  as the Times' most e-mailed story on Wednesday, a lofty post generally reserved for the latest Bush-basher  by Paul Krugman.
Greenhouse has long ridden Wal-Mart hard, while Costco, with its unions and higher pay, is seen by populist liberals like Jim Hightower  as the anti-Wal-Mart, the "decent" alternative to its rapacious competitor.
For more Steven Greenhouse on Costco, click here.