Friday, July 14, 2006

Media Bias Reporting Supreme Court Decisions

Larry Elder has written an outstanding column comparing when a 5-3 or 5-4 Supreme Court decision is reported in the "main scream" media -- Elder's new variation on the meaning of "MSM" -- as a "sweeping rebuke" or a "broad rejection" and when the same vote is portrayed as a "deeply divided" court or a "narrow majority."

No surprise that close decisions are "rebukes" and "rejections" if they go against the Bush administration, but are characterized as barely passed squeakers if the results are not in line with liberal ideals.

I had noticed the L.A. Times headline Elder quotes ("High Court Rejects Bush's Claim That He Alone Sets Detainee Rules") and thought about what unnecessarily pointed wording was used by the Times. The decision wasn't an opportunity for straight reporting on a decision which overturned over 6 decades of legal precedents; it was instead used by the Times as an opportunity to zing President Bush.

Elder also revisits one of the "great lies" of our time, that the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore in 2000 was a 5-4 decision. It was, in actuality, a 7-2 decision on the main equal protection issue; the 5-4 vote often referred to in the press was actually about the "remedy" which should result from the 7-2 vote.

Don't miss Elder's column, it's a gem.


Anonymous Missy said...

Whenever I remind people it was a 7-2 vote in Bush vs. Gore, they look at me like my head is screwed on upside down! Don't get me started.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yep. It's pretty sad how the media has constantly repeated this notion it was 5-4, and so many in the public have bought into it! Laura

10:49 PM  

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