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Pro-Alito Triple Whammy by Brit Hume & His Pals

Reported by Nancy - January 26, 2006 -

With the debate over the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito going to the full Senate & the possibility of a filibuster still lurking in the wings, Special Report this week has swung into high gear. In addition to the expected reporting of the Judiciary Committee vote & speculation about the ultimate fate of the noination, there have been Grapevine segments & "All-Star" panel discussions. Over the past few weeks, Hume has been keeping up a steady drumbeat of attacking anyone even remotely perceived as opposing Alito, but this week the program has been overwhelmingly devoted to the proposition that Alito is the best thing since sliced bread & no reasonable person could possibly find any reason to object to him getting a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Tuesday night (1/24), anchor Brit Hume used 2 of the 4 "prickings" on his Grapevine segment to reinforce the positive image of Alito that FOX News has so carefully crafted:

Picking #2 repeated the image of Alito as the victim who is ultimately victorious over nasty enemies:

Supporters of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito may have considered his Senate confirmation hearings as a series of scurrilous Democratic attacks on Alito's character that drove his wife to tears. But those attacks seem to have backfired. According to a new Gallup poll, public support for Alito ticked up by 10% after the confirmation hearings, up from 49% before the hearings to 54% in the week after the hearings. Those opposed to Alito's confirmation stayed steady at 30%. The poll also found that only 1 in 3 Americans believe Alito would vote to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Comments: Note the language, which casts the questioning of Alito by the Senate Judiciary Committee as "attacks" -- & those "attacks" as being solely by Dems:"scurrilous Democratic attacks ... drove his wife to tears ... those attacks ..." Curious how questions from GOPs aren't considered "attacks" in the FOX News lexicon. See the post by News Hound Melanie about Mrs Alito crying on cue for the camers, as well as my post about Hume's (ab)use of a Saturday Night Live clip on the same topic.

Then, as if that weren't enough, "picking" #4 tried to minimize concerns about personal privacy & reproductive rights:

Public support for abortion is declining: a trend that might explain why abortion advocates are so concerned over the balance of the Supreme Court. According to a new survey from pollster John Zogby, a 52% majority favors abortion, representing significantly lower support than in years past. Zogby points to radically different numbers as recent as 7 years ago when the pro-choice majority was in the 65-68% range. Another poll conducted by Hamilton College with Zogby finds a conservative trend among high school seniors when it comes to abortion. While most students believe Roe v Wade should be upheld, the majority supported restrictions on abortion such as those requiring parental consent. Two-thirds of the students said abortion was always or usually morally wrong.

Comment: See? There's nothing to worry about! Even if Alito's addition to the Supreme Court makes it possible to revoke rights you now take for granted, it's no big deal because polls say so.

Then on Wednesday (1/25) the "All-Stars" (Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke & Mara Liasson) joined the chorus. Hume showed a clip of Sen John Kyl (R-AZ) talking about "partisanship" then commented that "party line voting" on Supreme Court nominees "has not been common" in the past. Kondracke said that Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) made 2 points about this: 1) when Justices Stephen Breyer & Ruth Bader Ginsburg were nominated by President Bill Clinton, the US "wasn't as polarized;" & 2) 22 Dems voted in favor of Roberts. He added that Dems "just don't trust Alito" on a whole range of issues. Liasson started to say "there's a lot at stake" & was (as usual) interrupted by Hume, who asked "Why was there less at stake when Ginsburg was nominated?" Liasson started to reply & was again interrupted by Hume, who said "In other words" it was a single issue. Liasson finally got to finish a thought by noting that "Kyl is saying the next Democratic President can expect as little deference" for his Supreme Court nominations as Bush has received. Barnes claimed that Dems "have forever changed the judicial confirmation process" because "they have made ideology the overriding concern." After some back-&-forth between Barnes & Hume over how many votes Ginsburg got, Barnes said that she "replaced Byron White & moved the court considerably to the left," then went back to how Dems have changed everything, claiming Dems don't care about "qualifications" or "ABA ratings." He said Dems have "injected filibusters" but were "checkmated by the Gang of 14." According to Barnes, "party line voting is new" & when it looked like even Hume wasn't buying that, Barnes flip-flopped to say that the party of the President voting along party lines to support his nominations "is not party line voting." Kondracke said it will be a "long time before this gets put to the test" but "there is payback." Hume asked whether the old system was "worth preserving" or the new system is "more honest" & Liasson pointed out that the Senate has "always used character" to evaluate Supreme Court nominees. Barnes loftily claimed that GOPs "accepted the fact that Ginsburg & Breyer were liberals" but didn't vote against them because of that. Hume observed that "this is about the '90s & this decade" because "in prior decades the Democratic party wasn't so liberal." Kondracke agreed, describing Dems now as "almost formally ideological."

Comment: Ginsburg (&, to a lesser extent, Breyer) really gets under the skin of the reactionaries. FOX News staff & talking heads have been whining about her (&, to a lesser extent, Breyer) for months, every time the topic of the Supreme Court comes up. See, for example: Juliet Huddy; Sean Hannity; Rich Lowry; & Ann Coulter.

But in all their carping about Ginsburg, not one of the "All-Stars" admitted or pointed out that, given the make-up of today's Senate, she'd quite likely not be confirmed -- because of GOP partisanship.

I've previously posted about how the token "Dem" on this panel is repeatedly interrupted by Hume, & Liasson proved no exception. Apparently the only "Dems" Hume feels comfortable engaging are those with no spine.

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Alito, either of the 2 Grapevine "pickings" or the panel discussion about him). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.