Bench Memos

The Washington Post Is Unfair and Unbalanced

Matt correctly observes that the Washington Post’s coverage of filibuster reform is “pretty fair and balanced” compared with the New York Times’ “sputtering.” But it’s setting the bar far too low to credit the Post for surpassing the standard of unfairness set by Pravda on the Hudson. I think the Post’s story today by Mike Allen and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum is a textbook case of media bias. The Post has basically adopted Democrat talking points. Consider:

1. The headline and the opening sentence use the inflammatory term “nuclear option”.

This term has no descriptive value. Something like “filibuster reform” would be a far more objective and informative term.

It’s unfortunately true, of course, that many on our side have adopted the “nuclear” lingo. Indeed, NRO’s home page today uses the phrase “Going nuclear” to call attention to this blog. That may excuse the Post’s usage. But it’s instructive to compare the Post’s far greater reluctance to use the term “partial-birth abortion,” even though that term was in the title of the bill passed by Congress, has considerable descriptive value, and was used daily by opponents of the legislation.

2. “If Frist and the GOP majority prevail, a long tradition of filibustering will be narrowed.”

Poppycock. As Charles Krauthammer explained in the Post last week, “One of the great traditions, customs, and unwritten rules of the Senate is that you do not filibuster judicial nominees.”

3. “Republicans believe they have figured out how to use the chamber’s rules” to effect filibuster reform.

Oh, those wily Republicans. It is not until 16 paragraphs latter that the reader learns that the Republicans would be merely following a path previously trodden by Democrats.

4. Priscilla Owen, President Bush’s nominee to the Fifth Circuit, is “an abortion opponent.”

What underlies this characterization? Evidently the mere fact that Justice Owen construed the judicial-bypass provisions of the Texas parental-notification statute, and the Texas Supreme Court’s role in reviewing trial court findings of fact, somewhat more narrowly than some of her colleagues.

Most Popular

Elections

The Debate Dumpster Fire

On the menu today: You know what we’re talking about today -- that Godforsaken festival of incoherent crosstalk that was allegedly a presidential debate. It Figures That a Dumpster Fire of a Year Like This Would Bring Us a ‘Debate’ Like This Last night, I thought the first presidential debate of the ... Read More
Elections

The Debate Dumpster Fire

On the menu today: You know what we’re talking about today -- that Godforsaken festival of incoherent crosstalk that was allegedly a presidential debate. It Figures That a Dumpster Fire of a Year Like This Would Bring Us a ‘Debate’ Like This Last night, I thought the first presidential debate of the ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More
Elections

Everybody Loses, Which Helps Biden

Reactions to tonight's debate will likely be deeply polarized, as everything else is. There are a few things that are clear. One, this was probably the worst presidential debate in American history. There was a ton of cross-talk and shouting down, there were many bald-faced lies and obvious evasions, a former ... Read More

Ben Sasse: Everybody Loves Amy

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018, Ben Sasse had three words on his mind: Amy Coney Barrett. They’d been on his mind for a while. The Nebraska senator had first started hearing about Barrett from faculty at Notre Dame Law School, where Barrett was a professor, shortly after Trump ... Read More

Ben Sasse: Everybody Loves Amy

After Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in 2018, Ben Sasse had three words on his mind: Amy Coney Barrett. They’d been on his mind for a while. The Nebraska senator had first started hearing about Barrett from faculty at Notre Dame Law School, where Barrett was a professor, shortly after Trump ... Read More
Elections

Trump Did Himself No Favors

The debate was a remarkable example of the fact that Donald Trump, the most self-serving man in America, doesn’t know how to do himself any favors. For the first ten or twelve minutes of the debate, he was walking away with it — Trumpy, sure, but in control and surprisingly reasonable-sounding. If he had ... Read More
Elections

Trump Did Himself No Favors

The debate was a remarkable example of the fact that Donald Trump, the most self-serving man in America, doesn’t know how to do himself any favors. For the first ten or twelve minutes of the debate, he was walking away with it — Trumpy, sure, but in control and surprisingly reasonable-sounding. If he had ... Read More

Chaos in Cleveland

The 90 minutes of “debate” between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden cannot be told as a cohesive story, or reduced to a few bottom lines. It was too fast and too disorganized. Almost anyone watching would have just picked up impressions along the way. I’ve grouped mine into piles ... Read More

Chaos in Cleveland

The 90 minutes of “debate” between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden cannot be told as a cohesive story, or reduced to a few bottom lines. It was too fast and too disorganized. Almost anyone watching would have just picked up impressions along the way. I’ve grouped mine into piles ... Read More