Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been all about building right-wing narratives regarding President Biden's Supreme Court nominee. First, it sought to brand her as a radical weeks before the nominee was even named. Then, MRC executive Tim Graham tried to otherize the eventual nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, by using only her first name (as if could ever possibly be on a first-name basis with her). Meanwhile, in the days after her nomination, Graham's MRC underlings were laboring to tar Jackson as extreme despite not knowing much about her.
On the day of her announcement on Feb. 25, Curtis Houck attacked Jackson for committing the sin of having gone to the same college as Joy Reid, the MSNBC host whom Houck hates with an obsessive passion. He also weirdly bashed commentator Irin Carmon, twisting her statement that it would be great to have a black woman's perspective on the court regarding issues like abortion since black women are "disproportionately affected by" abortion restrictions into an assertion that she "gave away the game on the abortion industry’s dependence on taking advantage of Black women."
A post by Scott Whitlock declared in the headlline that Jackson was "deeply liberal" -- then unironically stated that "The disingenuous ideological spin has already begun."Whitlock called Jackson "deeply liberal" one more time in the body of his piece. In another item, Whitlock again called her "deeply liberal" and mocked descriptions of her as a pragmatist and consensus-builder.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Fondacaro huffed: "The liberal media were all hands on deck Friday to defend President Biden’s new Super Court nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson from any criticism whatsoever" -- as if he and the MRC would be offering anything except criticism. Kevin Tober upped the rhetorical labeling, claiming without evidence (beyond parroting right-wing Sen. Lindsey Graham) that Jackson is a "radical."
Alex Christy got mad when it was pointed out that conservatives would add nothing to the conversation beyond repeatedly declaring that Jackson was liberal:
On Friday’s CNN Newsroom, White House correspondent John Harwood said that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) opposition to President Biden’s nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on the grounds she is going to be a reliable liberal is not a substantive criticism.
Host Bianna Golodryga asked Harwood to comment on how the GOP will approach the hearings and McConnell’s claim that Jackson was the pick of left-wing dark money groups: “On the one hand, maybe it’s not surprising to hear from—from-- Mitch McConnell some criticism there in describing her as—as-- an extremist, but that having been said, she was on—on-- the shortlist and—and-- top of that shortlist for a while now. Why are we just hearing this from him now?”
The obvious answer is that we are hearing it now because Jackson wasn’t officially the nominee, but for Harwood, the supposed real answer is that conservatives just don’t like Biden. “Well, look, Republicans have a lot of pressure within their party to oppose anything that Joe Biden does," he said.
After reporting that McConnell didn’t object to Biden’s pledge to nominate a black woman, Harwood added: “When I hear Mitch McConnell saying this is the candidate of far-left dark money group, that is a procedural criticism. That is not a substantive criticism of Ketanji Brown Jackson.”
Of course, Harwood has it completely backward. Criticizing the nominee’s actual views on the matter is a substantive criticism while criticizing Biden’s pledge would’ve been a procedural criticism.
Graham then used a post to prove Harwood right:
Naturally, the PBS NewsHour was delighted with President Biden's nomination of radical Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court on Friday night. David Brooks touted how Jackson brings “a new lived set of experiences. It can't help but have a humanizing aspect.” He put her in the mainstream….of the Democrats. That might be correct, but the Democrats are far to the left!
Christy huffed that one commentator portrayed Jackson as, in his words, "almost a goddess-type figure who has descended from Mount Olympus and that she only hopes she will be afforded due process before the Senate," then returned to complain that "liberal black women activists" are "excited" about Jackson's nomination. Mark Finkelstein then pointed the direction for how Republicans will be expected by right-wing activists to handle Jackson's nomination, as revenge for how previous Republican Supreme Court nominees didn't get a free pass from Democrats:
If you want to say that Biden SCOTUS nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson has a solid resume, go ahead. But to make that case by belittling the credentials of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett is shall we say, Pants On Fire.
Amna Nawaz, a PBS NewsHour correspondent who doubles as an MSNBC contributor, said there is a "kind of reflexive Republican pushback to anything this president does right now," as if Democrats never acted this way.
Surely the panel was aware that the verb "to Bork" was coined to describe a savage attack on a Supreme Court nominee, after Democrats in 1987 destroyed the candidacy of Robert Bork, President Reagan's supremely qualified nominee. And who was the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee leading the attack? Then-Senator Joe Biden.
Democrats, with Biden leading the charge, were back at it in 1991, with a vicious assault against the nomination of Clarence Thomas. MSNBC wants to talk about "performative" attacks playing to the base? The best illustration thereof could be the iconic photo of Biden jabbing an accusatory finger at Thomas. Ted Kennedy, seen looking on, launched a vicious attack of his own on Bork.
Most recently, there was the contemptible Democrat attack on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh's, in which Democrats, playing to their base, dredged up unproven allegations of teenaged rape (even gang rape) against him.
So please, MSNBC and the liberal media at large, spare us the faux outrage in pre-emptively accusing Republicans of unfair criticism of Brown Jackson, and take a good look in the mirror at the Democrats' history of scurrilous attacks on Republican nominees.
Whitlock devoted a Feb. 28 post to complaining that conservative Supreme Court nominees were accurately identified by TV network news as conservative. We don't recall seeing a similar MRC study on how many times Fox News identified a liberal-leaning nominee as liberal (or "radical").
Kyle Drennen served up the revenge talking point in a post the same day about a CBS report:
They conveniently didn’t mention how nasty, personal attacks on conservative court nominees like Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh by partisan Democrats (like Joe Biden) poisoned the process.
When a conservative nominee like Barrett was nominated to high court less than two years ago, CBS hyped Democratic claims that the process was “lightening-fast” and illegitimate. Now that a liberal like Jackson has been named to the Supreme Court, the network is frustrated that anyone wants to examine her record and bemoans the fact that she won’t get “87 votes.”
Drennen conveniently didn't mention why Barrett's nomination might have been considered legitimate: it was hypocritically rammed through by Republicans a month before a presidential election, many of whom blocked Merrick Garland's nomination in 2016 out of a professed concern that the newly elected president deserved to fill the seat.