August 18, 2011

"NPR Devotes Over 4 Min. to Supposed Ethics Issues of Thomas, Scalia, Alito; Barely Touches on Kagan."

Ha. I heard this segment myself the other day, and the intro completely had me thinking that it was going to focus on the issues relating to the liberal justices:
At times of partisan stress in American politics, the Supreme Court can become part of the game, and the ethics of individual justices can come in for criticism. In recent months, liberal groups have chastised conservative justices for attending private conferences put on by conservative political interests, and conservative groups have responded by leveling some criticism in the other direction.

NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has that story.
I kept waiting and waiting for Totenberg to get to the part about the liberal justices. After loads of detail about the conservatives, all we ngot was one sentence:
The conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, has also suggested that Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan should recuse herself from participating in any upcoming case challenging the Obama health care law, because she had been a legal official in the Obama administration.
Ridiculous!

71 comments:

nana said...

And you are surprised?

traditionalguy said...

And we wonder why the level of informed debate is nursery school 2 year olds.

The sweet old loving lies are all we are ever get from the liberal media campaign operatives paid with public funds.

But they sure purified themselves from Juan Williams for fraternizing with the Fox News O'Reilly show.


The liberals are at war with the truth every where that they think thy can trick their audiences.

traditionalguy said...

Did you hear that Rick Perry had sex with Sweet Sonia, the Hispanic Justice ...or was that Ahrnuld Swartznegger.

The ethics rules by Alinsky are popping up everywhere from Madison to DC.

Lucius said...

Talk of Nina Totenberg makes me want to try my luck with a link again.

wv: rencest Ohoho, she never tried that, I bet!

Maguro said...

Ethics issues don't apply to liberals. They're pure of heart.

caplight said...

NPR's audience wants to be tricked. Stories like this soothe them and reinforce their world view. "There, there. Auntie Nina is going to tell you story. . ."

Lucius said...

Oh hell, never mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIS2U8grY1E

Takes me forever to learn . . .

chickenlittle said...

Nana said it first at 6:16

The Crack Emcee said...

"As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind:

Shut the fuck up."


David Mamet

avwh said...

Wouldn't want the truth to shock the tender psyches of NPR listeners. So you see NPR is just doing a public service by having Totenberg be so blatantly one-sided in her reporting.

MikeinAppalachia said...

"I kept waiting and waiting for Totenberg to get to the part about the liberal justices."

"Don't hold your breath" comes to mind.

DKWalser said...

You only heard part one of Nina's two part report. NPR, unexpectedly, ran out of time and couldn't run part two. (NPR had to run late-breaking news from a basket-weaving festival in upper Vermont.)

I'm sure that's the explanation.

Geoff Matthews said...

Wasn't Kagan involved in the law's construction?
I'm pretty sure it was more than just being part of the administration.

damikesc said...

Wonder if they will discuss Obama's new policy of not deporting illegal aliens unless charged with another crime, apparently.

Under Obama, people can NOW choose what laws they follow. Splendid.

hoop said...

NPR is wonderful.

I never listen to politics on radio. It's just a recipe for high blood pressure, no matter if you agree/disagree with the host. Instead, I use NPR to find out other people's persuasions without getting into a political debate.

If someone tells me they listen to NPR, I can assume their politics are liberal (~95% or better success). If they don't, it's usually the opposite (~75% better, since some people don't listen to radio). If they ask me, I just explain I listen only to sports radio for escapism and they leave me alone. In any case, I avoid potential political tirades.

See? It's wonderful.

Amartel said...

NPR should just stop pretending it's objective and admit it's a shamelessly partisan Obamabot hack shack. Stop wasting everyone's time. After all, it doesn't really need public funding, right?

What's ridiculous is the people who whine about "Faux" News, which at least has liberal and progressive perspectives in regular circulation and, bonus, is not funded by tax dollars, and think NPR and PBS are sterling examples of objective journalism. Rubes.

Calypso Facto said...

Yet the Dems say we have nothing to cut from the budget...

What? Cut our publically funded propaganda machine? Terrorist!

edutcher said...

The second you heard the name, Nina Totenberg, you knew where it was going.

Palladian said...

Nina Totenberg is one of the NPR "personalities" whose voice makes my skin crawl and makes me want to smash my radio, repeatedly, with my lump hammer. Daniel Schorr was another one but, thankfully, the old bastard's dead. When Totenberg speaks, especially about the dread conservative Justices, you can hear the smug little smirk on her face. I remember once reading someone who described NPR's on-air voices as aurally projecting the image of a person who has a bumper sticker on their Saab that reads: "I'd Rather Be At An Embassy Dinner".

AJ Lynch said...

Yes, Totenberg described Kagan simply as a "legal official" even though she was Solicitor General. I heard that segment too and thought Totenberg is such a partisan douchenozzle even for an NPR librul.

kcom said...

The great sin of the modern press is the sin of omission.

While what they say about the things they want to talk about may be true, or at least may be within the realm of a plausible argument, it's what they don't report on that defines their bias. Ten thousand words on the "potential" violence of the Tea Party is very rarely balanced by even a few paragraphs on the actual violence that is committed by those on the other end of the political spectrum.

Sixty Grit said...

"all we ngot was one sentence"

Good thing we didn't nget any more than that...

hoyden said...

@kcom: The great sin of the modern press is the sin of omission.

My most favorite fortune cookie fortune:

A half truth is a whole lie.

America's Politico said...

NPR to GOP: Adios Mofo.

Here is why Obama-Biden will win.

I was in Obama campaign. I visited many campaign stops: CA, IL, DE, NY, etc. Each place was full of young people, so much energy, that I knew "McCain was toast". There were so many reporters that I knew "GOP was a goner".

Now, there are no young people. There is still the press (see NPR).

GOP has no solid candidate - Perry is a joke, just like Palin or Bachmann. Romney is the best shot, but he is a mormon. GOP will never elect him.

Ergo, Obama will win, due to lack of GOP solid candidate.

Does GOP have a solid person? Yes, Paul Ryan, Christie, Daniels.

But, they are not on the ticket.

Thus, GOP will never win the WH.

Believe me. I know how things play out. I have seen the core power of Obama in 2008. While it is not like that in 2012, GOP is not good at all.

MarkG said...

Back in the olden days when I used to listen to NPR, I was amused that their idea of "diversity" seemed to be someone with a folksy southern accent or a slight speech impediment.

MarkG said...

AP: Has anyone reminded you lately of how totally wrong you were in 2010?

rcocean said...

Nina is still alive? I thought she died 10 years ago.

Is Daniel Schoor still there?

Bruce Hayden said...

Nina is still alive? I thought she died 10 years ago.

No, I think that was her husband, a former Democratic Senator from Colorado.

Tim said...

It's a good thing your tax dollars didn't pay for the liberal advocacy journalism at NPR...

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"Is Daniel Schoor still there?"

Dan Schorr finally went from being on Nixon's Enemies List to being on life's Enemies List.

Lance said...

Nina Totenberg is one of the NPR "personalities" whose voice makes my skin crawl and makes me want to smash my radio, repeatedly, with my lump hammer.

On the other hand, when I hear Mara Liasson's voice, I turn up the volume a bit so I can hear better.

Ambrose said...

This is what happens when you make 9 lifetime appointees the final arbiters of matters that should be decided by the political process. The Court in its power grab thought it was de-politiczing certain "too important" matters; instead it was politicizing itself

traditionalguy said...

I recomend listening to NPR on Saturday mornings.

They have some great shows on.

The terrible liberal fantasy world is slowly becoming a farce as the investments go down the drain, and pensions become cut when they are unfunded or bankrupt.

So on the economy and Obama's false hopes of a recovery, listening to them is like watching the sinking scene in Titanic.

Actually NPR does run the other side of many Conservative/liberal issues for balance, but you have to listen in several days later.

chrisnavin said...

NPR started out as Radio Pacifica. You can talk about emotions, jazz, national parks, the market, politics, science etc.

...but it all has to go back to some idea of equality and justice...as they see fit.

If someone one wants to make an equally broad, deep (for radio), and appealing national network, feel free.

Please focus on free markets, individual liberties and the threats well intentioned idealists and universalists pose to them, religion as though believers aren't just deluded fools, the arts (preferably w/o State and excessive diversity and relativist b.s.)

It's a free country.

Calypso Facto said...

Envisioning NPR?

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr. Churchill calls an "iron curtain" between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals.

Aldus Huxley, 1947

SteveR said...

There's no reason for any objective thinking person, much less a conservative, to listen to Nina Totenberg, or NPR for that matter.

George said...

Nina Totenberg is an utterly predicable whore.

Eric said...

If someone tells me they listen to NPR, I can assume their politics are liberal (~95% or better success).

Meh. I'm as conservative as they come and I listen to NPR. Yeah, sometimes it's hard to drive while rolling my eyes, but they do have a lot of good stuff that isn't related to politics.

I don't like the call-in show format, and I can't stand commercials. It would be nice to have a commercial-free network that wasn't so far to the left, but there isn't one.

Brennan said...

Nina Totenberg's audience is about the size of Ann's readership without the hundreds of millions of dollars to NPR affiliates that license the Morning Edition and All things Considered programming.

Can Washington finance a syndication deal for Professor Althouse?

Steven said...

Well? It's built into her name, you know. Poor dear can't help but go carrying water for her side. She has to be totin' a berg.

viator said...

NPR is a wholly owned subsidiary of the DNC and has been from 2008. It is also rife with liberal illusions ((the cure for debt is debt, the world is in throes of human caused warming, fracking will destroy the world as we know it, liberals are rational, conservative are irrational, liberals believe in science (but not the Green Revolution, GMOs, metrics, vaccinations, transparent scientific research, testing, laws of economics, etc)). I used to be a member, supporter and avid listener. Then I had my David Mamet moment. Now I want all government funding of NPR to cease. Let them pay for propaganda with their own money, not Other Peoples Money.

Curious George said...

"I kept waiting and waiting for Totenberg to get to the part about the liberal justices."

Really? This explains a lot.

Clyde said...

NPR: "'Fair and balanced'? Never heard of it!"

This was the radio network for whom Juan Williams was too conservative.

Jeff L. said...

Read this blog daily and have for years, enjoy it very much. I don't think I have ever commented but having heard this segment on NPR I thought I would chime in. Like an earlier commenter I generally have abandoned NPR for sports radio but lately have been listening again. When I heard this segment I thought it was generally pretty fair. It identified Common Cause as a "liberal" organization and also said observers from the right and left felt its accusations against Thomas were meritless. the piece then generally discussed various reasons historical and theoretucal why justices recuse themselves and what part judicial ethics play.

Perhaps I heard a different piece but this segment I found to be informative. It did give short shrift to what seems to me to be a pretty substantive case that Kagan should recuse but other than that I thought it was pretty well done and even handed.

hoop said...

Eric,

The 95% was off the top of my head, obviously. I caricatured the situation a bit for humor, but it is something I've used successfully in the past to get a political read on people without risking a political conversation. It's really helpful in social gatherings where you don't want to open up the politics/religion Pandora's box. Not perfect, but good enough for a rough guess.

Clyde -->
NPR: "'Fair and balanced'? Never heard of it!"

This was the radio network for whom Juan Williams was too conservative.


A few of us used to joke that a balanced debate on NPR consisted of a socialist and a communist arguing over how evil Bush really was.

Scott M said...

a balanced debate on NPR consisted of a socialist, a communist, and an African a capella rainstick band arguing over how evil Bush really was.

It seemed like it was lacking something intrinsically NPR-ish.

virgil xenophon said...

NPR is useful in that they feature plenty of non-political, straight-ahead interesting "life-style"/literary/"niche" stories about business, etc., segments that can be heard nowhere else; but their political coverage? "Well my God!" (as one political wit opined when describing the nature of Churchill's mistakes which were rare but often gigantic doozies)

Chantel Hull said...

I heard this too and thought the exact same thing... absolutely ridiculous. How about some balance?

RAS743 said...

Yes, it is ridiculous. But how is this report different from any other thumb sucker Nina Totenberg has done in her career at NPR? It's of a piece. She's carried so much water for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee over the years, sliming everyone from Robert Bork to Charles Pickering, that she may as well be one of their staffers. Should we expect anything but this from her after all this time? I don't think so. Nina Totenberg is a political hack, pure and simple.

Squid said...

It identified Common Cause as a "liberal" organization and also said observers from the right and left felt its accusations against Thomas were meritless.

Jeff L: Nina didn't say the accusations were meritless. She said, paraphrasing, that Virginia Thomas' activities might be unseemly to some, but technically not illegal.

If you honestly think that the casual listener would come away from that piece thinking that conservative Justices are really good people who are being unfairly attacked by partisan watchdogs, I'd like to know what color the sky is in your world.

NPR knows that there's a very big case coming before the Court in the near future, and NPR knows that Blessed Saint Jugears is going to get whacked on the snout with a rolled-up Constitution. Thus, NPR is seeding the ground now with excuses as to why their Righteous Crusaders for Justice will suffer such an embarrassing defeat.

Jeff L. said...

Squid it may be that I heard a different segment or differently edited segment. She specifically identified common cause as a liberal outfit (I generally haven't seen that identification in the MSM when referring to Common Cause) and said commentators on both left and right agreed there was nothing to their complaint (paraphrasing). It was not ambiguous at all per my recollection which is why it stuck out to me. My personal world view is essentially conservative (libertarian in many respects and pro life which I do not feel conflicts with libertarian instincts - that is my pro life position is not based on religion but rather seeing the fetus as an individual meriting inherent rights to life liberty etc.)

I listened to the whole segment driving home from work and I do not think it reflected badly on the conservative justices (or even Ginny Thomas. It was noted she was an activist vs the health care law but did not have any loaded language suggesting disapproval with that position. It was stated as relevant information.)

The bias was in omission. It did not to my recollection address the concerns about Kagan other than citing some concerns existed. Considering Kagan may have been disingenuous in her confirmation hearings re: her role with the health care law and in fact her activities on behalf of the law is exactly the sort of thing that historically has made justices recuse rather than the at best tangential connection of a spouses activity is a weak point about the segment.

The sky is a beautiful blue here in Chicago today in my world.

MisterBuddwing said...

Hypothetically, if someone were to come up with a news report questioning the ethics of the liberal members of the Supreme Court that also says very little about the ethics of the conservatives, would anyone here be screaming about a lack of balance? Or would someone have the temerity to say, "Maybe it's that way because it's true"?

WV: nonishil

Scott M said...

would anyone here be screaming about a lack of balance?

Yes, especially if tax dollars are involved. Please do not make the mistake that everyone here is an unapologetic ideologue. Some of us can think for ourselves and, occasionally, do.

MisterBuddwing said...

With respect, you're kind of missing my point, which is, it's folly to expect every single news report to come squarely down the middle in suggesting the two sides involved are equally good and equally bad. (And truth be told, I'm sure there are some "ideologues" who feel that split-down-the-middle is, in its own way, a form of bias.)

WV: liesse

Scott M said...

I don't see how it's follow to expect news reports on the SCOTUS done by a taxpayer-funded media operation to determine how many minutes the piece will be and to do everything possible to give equal time to details on both sides.

I wrote copy for radio for years and know what I'm talking about. It's possible to refine these things down to the half-second. Most of NPR's pieces are pre-produced so there's no excuse for not having balance.

Given the context of this particular piece and the fact that they seemed to have gone out of their way to camouflage Kegan's actual prior involvement, that would seem to go a step further than simply not providing equal balance.

Scott M said...

follow = folly (damned Swype)

JorgXMcKie said...

Seriously, the Left [and I'm not on the Right] will never, ever no matter what, admit that NPR and most of the MSM are in the tank for the Left. They can't afford to. It's getting to be about all they have left.

virgil xenophon said...

Nina Totenberg swims out to meet troop-ships..GOD I loath that snarky lefty! Palladian @7:53am is dead on target! I concur with every consonant & syllable he wrote..

Ann said...

Palladian said...
"Nina Totenberg is one of the NPR "personalities" whose voice makes my skin crawl and makes me want to smash my radio, repeatedly, with my lump hammer."

And Skip Inskeep always sounds like a petulant frat boy trying to talk a coed into going up to his room.

Carl H said...

"Forget about it Jake. It's Chinatown."

Jeff L. said...

Well my first floow up to squid di not get posted for some reason so I will condense the response on this try.

Squid: Nina didn't say the accusations were meritless. She said, paraphrasing, that Virginia Thomas' activities might be unseemly to some, but technically not illegal.

My recollection was that she unambiguously stated that common cause's criticism of Justice Thomas was considered on both ends of the spectrum to be unfounded. There was no squishiness which is why it suck out to me. Also she identified common cause as a liberal group something I have not heretofore seen in the MSM.

The piece I perceived to be fair to the conservative justices and Ginny Thomas for that matter. It was a pretty down the middle discussion of recusal at the supreme court level. Ginny Thomas was noted as an anti health care activist without any coded language indicating support or disdain for that activity. It was relevant info.

the bias was in omission. It only noted that there was concern re: Kagan and did not touch on at all the reason for that concern namely that it appears she worked on the law while with the Obama admin. That is a much more substantive concern than a spouses activism and by not addressing it made the segment weaker than it should have been.

But it was not in tone or substance an attack piece on the conservative justices and was quite informative.

Btw the sky today here in my world, Chicago, is a beautiful blue.

Cheers

Original Mike said...

Ridiculous!"

That's Totenberg. I once heard here refer to Roberts as "extreme right wing." I mean, come on! You may disagree with his philosophy, but "extreme right wing"???? Roberts???

Totenberg is a clown.

Fen said...

With respect, you're kind of missing my point, which is, it's folly to expect every single news report to come squarely down the middle in suggesting the two sides involved are equally good and equally bad.

I'm sorry, but thats so much bullshit. I can't believe you served it up.

Its not that we expect "every single news report to come squarely down the middle". Its that every single news report from tax-payer funded NPR always errs in favor of the Left.

We expect journalists to make mistakes. But when those mistakes always go against the Right, its no longer journalism, its Democrat propaganda. And using our tax dollars.

/no, I'm not really here, you didn't see me

Scott M said...

I mean, come on! You may disagree with his philosophy, but "extreme right wing"???? Roberts???

He's white, male, and appointed by a Republican. He might as well be Hitler.

Carol_Herman said...

What a stage!

There are 3 identified conservatives. Scalia, Thomas, and Roberts.

Because Roberts is the chief, he came on board with a very antagonized Anthony Kennedy. Who assumed he'd be made chief.

If Obama wins a second term?

The old conservative court will lose all its conservative labels.

Will replacements for Ruth Bader Ginsberg would be a democrapic pick. With credentials from haaravahd.

The mystery man is Anthony Kennedy. Because IF Roberts and Alito see the way the court bends ... And, the Chief wants to hold onto to his dignity. As well as his right of assigning cases ...

That's where Kagan and Sotomayor get all the tax cases ... While the only way Roberts gets to be in the majorty count is if he learned anything from Sandra Day O'Connor.

I make no predictions.

If you're in politics, and you want to control playing fields ... the way generals who do strategy want to control the battlefields ... you try to get your opponents to pick "the muck and the mire."

Happened at Agincourt. Waterloo. And, at the point southern senators seceded from the union.

Then, we've been fighting social issues since 1973. Names changed, but the undercurrents do not.

Born-Again was the label Jimmy Carter used. And, he won the votes away from Ford, because he got Evangelicals, then.

In 1980, the elder Bush tried to grab the microphone from Ronald Reagan. Barbara Bush never became Nancy's friend. But the elder Bush got the veep's slot ... While James Baker began dishing as the man behind the throne.

Saud's bought a lot of our stuff.

The Chinese also found ways to steal out stuff.

Then, the Chinese depressed their Yen ... making American businessmen willing to change manufacturing points.

So, there ya go.

Businessmen and courts ... all playing for keeps. And, the Supreme Court tangled up in social issues.

I'd bet that in 2012 there's gonna be great turnout. Harder to call those races, because so many people show up on both sides.

Peter said...

Sometimes it’s difficult to forget that Nina Totenberg achieved her position in American journalism largely on the strength of having leaked Anita Hill’s allegations against Clarence Thomas.

But it’s even more difficult to understand why anyone would reasonably expect her to be non-partisan.

As for cutting NPR’s funding, IMHO the quest to do so seems likely to produce unintended consequences. That is, it may be an outrage that NPR takes taxpayer funding, but, the amount it takes is tiny, compared with overall government spending. And it’s not as if it couldn’t get funding from Soros or Buffet or one of the innumerable Liberal foundations if it were de-funded.

So, what’s the point in de-funding? So long as it does take taxpayer funds, there is at least some legitimacy in demanding that it be less biased.

Carol_Herman said...

Nina Totenberg has more than one "claim to fame." She was Potter's mistress. And, she leaked all the pillow talk details she got about "THE BRETHREN" ... A book Woodward wrote up on the supreme court. And, what those secret Monday morning meetings are like ... inside. When the last judge who enters one of the nine seats ... is tasked with "bringing the coffee."

Everything in DC translates to power ... when you know where to spill da' beans.

sorepaw said...

So, what’s the point in de-funding? So long as it does take taxpayer funds, there is at least some legitimacy in demanding that it be less biased.

The point is that governments shouldn't run radio stations.

MSNBC is welcome to Nina Totenberg, if their management considers her an asset.

Rick T. said...

@Palladian

When I heard Daniel Schorr's commentaries, I would marvel that someone who had been so close to so much history seemed to have learned nothing from it.

fb84cdc4-3332-11e0-92a8-000bcdcb2996 said...

"I kept waiting and waiting for Totenberg to get to the part about the liberal justices"

Why? That's like me waiting for my landlord's akita to make a move in chess.