We Get It — He’s “Conservative”
“He is widely viewed as perhaps the most brilliant young conservative available to this President....I’ve never heard anybody say a harsh personal word about John Roberts, but people who practice law with him who are liberal Democrats say they are under no illusions, he is a very, very, very conservative person.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg on the July 19 All Things Considered just minutes after learning that President Bush would nominate Judge John Roberts to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
“Talking with people who know him and have had arguments with him, debates with him, and who love him; they tell you this is a very, very conservative man.”
— Totenberg in a soundbite included in a July 20 report on ABC’s Good Morning America.
“Democratic lawyers who know him, who’ve litigated against him and just think he’s so smart and so honest and is very conservative....People who know him know that John Roberts is a really conservative guy....Don’t forget his wife was an officer, a high officer of a pro-life organization. He’s got adopted children. I mean, he’s a conservative Catholic....a hardline conservative.”
— Totenberg on the July 23 Inside Washington.
“This is a very conservative man with a strong paper trail that proves it.”
— ABC’s George Stephanopoulos during live coverage of Bush’s announcement of Roberts on July 19.
Judge Roberts vs. “Rights”
“What effect do you think that this person, John Roberts, will have on abortion rights in America?”
“Will he be part of the movement to increase the restrictions on abortion rights, which we’ve already started to see happening, happen here in this country?”
— NBC’s Ann Curry to George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley on Today, July 20.
“He’s, by all accounts, a Roman Catholic who adheres to the tenets of that faith. Do you suspect that he will advocate, when the opportunity comes up, reversing some of the key aspects of Roe v. Wade, which provide abortion rights in this country?”
— CNN’s Miles O’Brien to former Republican Senator Fred Thompson on American Morning, July 20.
Reversing Past Judicial Activism = Legislating from the Bench
“George Bush has said he would not choose someone who wanted to legislate from the bench. So, can not supporters of abortion rights take comfort in that?”
— Gibson to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, July 20.
“The President has said John Roberts would not legislate from the bench. He didn’t want a nominee who would legislate from the bench. Does that mean that this will be a justice who will not be overturning settled law, i.e. Roe v. Wade?”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the July 21 Good Morning America.
Here’s a “Bold” Idea: Move Left
“In the weeks before the Supreme Court concluded its term for the summer, a group of women Senators, Republicans and Democrats, came together with a bold suggestion for President Bush. They, like the White House, were expecting ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist to announce his retirement at the end of June. To fill the vacancy, they would urge Bush to nominate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Chief Justice of the United States....The Senators — in particular the Republican moderates, led by Collins and Snowe — could complicate Bush’s effort to replace O’Connor if he chooses a staunch conservative who does not share her views supporting abortion rights, affirmative action and greater constitutional protections for homosexuals.”
— Chicago Tribune Supreme Court reporter Jan Crawford Greenburg in a July 14 front-page article.
Bush Wags the Dog
Keith Olbermann: “Let’s talk first about the timing of this [announcement of a new Supreme Court Justice]. Is there hard and fast evidence that this was ‘Wag the Dog’? Was this announcement pushed up? Was the decision made any more quickly just to try to eclipse the Karl Rove story?”
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank: “Oh, there’s no doubt about it....They clearly wanted to bump Karl Rove out of the headlines and out of the top of your broadcast. And I believe they’ve succeeded.”
— Exchange on MSNBC’s Countdown, July 19, about an hour before Bush announced his selection of John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O’Connor.
Rove’s Defense Is “Bulls**t”
Lou Dobbs: “[Karl Rove’s grand jury] testimony suggests that President Bush’s political adviser may not have been the original source for the Valerie Plame leak. Rove testifying that he first learned about Plame from columnist Robert Novak, a CNN contributor. Dana Bash reports.”
Female voice (not Dana Bash), whispering near an open microphone: “That’s bullshit.”
— CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, July 15.
Poor Victimized Joe Wilson
“Do you have a sense, specifically a chain of events, of what happened and who made it happen, who actually ruined your wife’s usefulness in the war on terror?...Do you and your wife, or either one of you, ultimately hold the President responsible for what happened here?”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann to former Ambassador Joe Wilson on Countdown, July 22.
“You saw this RNC, Republican National Committee, briefing paper that has been released today: ‘Joe Wilson’s top worst inaccuracies and misstatements.’...What do you make of the, the effort to smear you right now?”
— Wolf Blitzer’s first question to Wilson on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, July 14.
NBC’s Ethics Expert, Bill Clinton
“President Clinton, as you well know, President Bush has been under fire recently because Karl Rove allegedly released the identity of a CIA agent to reporters. President Bush has said it’s a fireable offense now if a crime was committed, but in your view is the ethical violation enough to warrant dismissal?”
— Katie Couric to former President Bill Clinton in a taped interview shown on NBC’s Today, July 21.
Bob Berates Bushies for Acting Like CBS Did During Memogate
“This White House did what it usually does when challenged: It went into attack mode, called charges that the White House had leaked the name ridiculous....Can anything said from the White House podium be taken at face value, or does the White House just deny automatically anything that reflects badly on it?...The President’s people followed the modern public relations rule, ‘Never admit a mistake, just do what is necessary to kill the story before it kills you.’”
— Bob Schieffer, who replaced Dan Rather as anchor of the CBS Evening News in the wake of the forged memo scandal, in his July 17 Face the Nation commentary.
Leak Case Another Watergate?
“In the same summer in which Deep Throat has been identified, that remodeled phrase from Watergate keeps reappearing: What did the (fill-in-the-blank) know, and when did he know it? Our third story in the Countdown, the Karl Rove-CIA leak story mutates again, this time with the current Attorney General involved. Alberto Gonzales admitting that nearly two years ago he sat on the knowledge that the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the leak for half a day before officially instructing the White House staff about the inquiry and reminding them to not do nasty things like, oh, say, shred documents relevant to the case.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Countdown, July 25.
More Hot Air on Global Warming
Anchor Lou Dobbs: “Record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it’s all the result of global warming. Is the Earth witnessing a massive environmental change?”...
Reporter Kitty Pilgrim: “The climate change is not about discomfort, it’s deadly....Nine of the last ten years have been the warmest years on record....”
— CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, July 25.
“Three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s. Climate experts like Kevin Trenberth say the one-degree increase in temperature this century is no reason to break a sweat.”
— NBC’s Carl Quintanilla on Nightly News the same night.
Gloomy Anecdotes Trump Reality
Reporter Trish Regan, to a woman on a Manhattan sidewalk: “Alan Greenspan says the economy is doing fine, we’re seeing a lot of growth. What do you think of that statement?”
Woman: “I disagree with that.”
Regan: “Why do you disagree?”
Woman: “Because the economy’s not doing good if they’re laying off so many people, so it’s not good at all.”
Regan: “In June, nearly 111,000 jobs were lost, making it the worst stretch of job losses in nearly a year and a half.”
Man on the street: “It’s very tenuous. It could fall apart at any moment. One bad piece of news, one additional perhaps terrorist attack, one negative corporate earnings, and it goes right down again.”
— July 20 CBS Evening News. The Labor Department reported a net gain of 146,000 jobs in June and an unemployment rate of 5.0 percent, the lowest since 2001.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Barnes, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Ken Shepherd, Megan McCormack
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERNS: Kyle Drennen, Patrick Skeehan