The Greenhouse Effect: Liberal Supreme Court Reporter Demands C-SPAN Cameras Be Turned Off

Minutes before a panel discussion regarding the Supreme Court was to take place, Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse demanded that C-SPAN cameras be removed. The sponsors of the talk, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, did so, causing the vice-president of programming at C-SPAN to write a letter of protest.

According to the Columbia Journalism Review: " the last minute, the plug was pulled on the C-SPAN cameras because the queen bee of Supreme Court reporters, Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times refused to join the panel if the event was going to be covered by the wonky news channel. According to people who were there, Greenhouse walked in, took one look at the lights and the camera equipment, and, 'became infuriated,' said one person who was standing near her. As Greenhouse herself told me yesterday following the event, she then gave the organizer of the panel an ultimatum. 'I told her she had a choice, either she could have me on the panel speaking candidly or she could have C-SPAN there.'"

Gee, wonder why? Perhaps to prevent what happened when a frank leftist rantGreenhouse gave at Harvard in June 2006 got picked up by National Public Radio. Greenhouse, well-known for marching in a rally for abortion rights in 1989, tore into the Bush administration and conservatives at her alma mater: "Our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha, and other places around the world. And let's not forget the sustained assault on women's reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism."

The AboveTheLaw blog has some scuttlebutt on the content of Greenhouse's untelevised talk:

"What we're hearing is that Linda Greenhouse wanted to be as free as possible to criticize the Supreme Court's recent turn to the right - without having to worry about such pesky things as, you know, "impartiality" (which we bloggers don't have to worry about, thankfully).

"And criticize Greenhouse did, after she had the cameras killed. We understand that Linda Greenhouse had some not-so-nice things to say about the latest SCOTUS Term as a participant on the panel.

"During the question-and-answer session, someone asked about the so-called 'Greenhouse effect' - LG's ability to influence the Court through her coverage (due to the desire of some justices, such as Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, to win favorable press in the New York Times). In response to this question, apparently Greenhouse said something along these lines: 'I WISH I had more influence on the Court, given some of the decisions from this Term!'"

Matthew Sheffield has more at NewsBusters.