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Fair Or Balanced - How About None Of The Above?

Reported by Donna - October 31, 2005

Today on Studio B with Shepard Smith they decided to have one guest on to talk about the new nominee for the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito. That guest would be Leslie Feldman, Professor of Political Science at Hofstra University, who has written about Ronald Reagan and wrote the book Honor and Loyalty: Inside the Politics of the Bush White House (Greenwood Press, 2002).

It became very clear during the segment that she was very much from the radical right but I was wondering, where was the fair and balanced guest from the left?

The following is my transcript (paraphrased, but pretty much verbatim) between Shepard Smith and Dr. Leslie Feldman.

Shepard Smith: There is a long paper trail behind the president's new Supreme Court nominee. Judge Samuel Alito served 15 years on the bench. 13 years longer than the Chief Justice, John Roberts. And his nomination? Well, it could depend on a few key opinions.

Judge Alito was the lone dissenter in the case of Planned Parenthood versus Casey. The 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands. He said, 'They should have to.' And when the Supreme Court upheld that decision and reaffirmed Roe v Wade, Chief Justice Rehnquist quoted Alito as saying he agreed with the reasoning.

Joining us now is Leslie Feldman, Professor of Political Science at Hofstra University here in the tristate area. What does that mean?

Leslie Feldman: Well...um....

SS: Where does he come down on that thing?

LF: I think he comes down in a rather conservative way.

SS: No, specifically, though. Did he say 'women, you've got to tell your husband if you want to have an abortion?'

LF: Yes he did on that case but in another case, Shepard, he said bans on late term abortions should not be upheld if the life of the mother is at stake. So, in other cases he has shown a more nuanced view.

SS: But an ideological judge, no doubt?

JF: Well, I think probably........

SS: You're gonna lose credibility here if you say otherwise.

JF: Some people will think so.

SS: Oh c'mon, be straight with me.

JF: He's conservative.

SS: He's conservative of course which is exctly what the right wing of the party, the intellectual right wing of the party wanted when they said 'get this woman out of here and get somebody else in here.' (Comment: I think we could make an argument about the 'intellectual' right wing of the party - is there such a thing?)

JF: Well, I think he's intellectual enough for the right wing of the party. But I still think........

SS: So you think the intellectuals who came forward screaming and yelling about how Harriet Miers was wrong will be pleased or displeased with this?

JF: I think everyone will be pleased.

SS: Everyone?

JF: I think the right wingers of the party will be pleased.

SS: And where will Democrats be on this?

JF: Um....I think the Democrats are going to be upset but nevertheless they're going to have to acknowledge that this man is very qualified. He is a very distinguished.......

SS: That is the rub here, isn't it? You know, she's not qualified, you know they've been talking about qualificatiojns here. (Sorry Shepard, not the Democrats - only the radical right wingers) This man, I don't know how you question, get around that question. He's already been there, done that.

JF: Yeah, oh no, he's been a federal judge for 15 years. He's been confirmed by the Senate unanimously, and...uh..he's on everyone's list besides just the president. (Comment: Who is everyone?)

SS: There is a lot of digging to do. When you're doing research on a 100 page book you can get it done pretty fast. This man's got a billion pages.

JF: Well, I think it's a time sensitive issue. (Comment: Why?) That is what they want......

SS: Well, the right wants (that). The left wants to drag this out until the cows come home.

JF: The president has a right to nominate anyone he wants..........

SS: (Sounding exasperated) Oh, I know that!

JF: This man fits in well. He has a very distinguished background.

SS: Does he change the ideology of the court?

JF: Yes, he tilts it to the right.

SS: Where it was tilted to the.......?

JF: Well, Sandra Day O'Connor was very middle of the road.

SS: So the swing vote has been replaced by an ideological conservative vote.

JF: I would say so, yes. Not ideological, a more conservative voice. No one knows how he is going to vote in the future. But I definitely think it tilts the court to the right.

SS: How big's the fight? No matter what side you're on, in our business you like the fight.

JF: Uh...I think that the conservatives are going to get the fight that they seek. And the Democrats.........

SS: They want a fight, don't they?

JF: Yes, they do.

SS: Why is that?

JF: They want some red meat. They want some good fun.

SS: Do they want to poke in the eye of the left wing?

JF: Yes, well, certainly. Because the Republicans have the votes in order to confirm the judge.

SS: Well, the American people, who are not in lockstep with this, whatever percentage you believe there is, will those who are not in lock step with this be out and about raising a stink and going crazy over this? Is he going to slide through?

JF: Not at all. (He'll) slide right through, he's gonna get confirmed.

SS: What happens to abortion?

JF: Ah...I think in some cases it is chipped back...uh....the abortion rights will be chipped back but...um...incrementally....not all at once and perhaps left more to the states.

SS: Alright.

JF: And, he's also going to hear the Anna Nicole case.

SS: Well, there's that.

Comment: And, he's also going to hear the Anna Nicole case?? This was the most duh professor I've ever heard. She dismisses women's rights to choice ever so casually, but makes sure she gets in the point about the Anna Nicole case? Abortion rights - chipped back?!! What kind of expression is that for a scholar? Who cares about the Anna Nicole case?

This was a typical segment on Fox -- not fair and balanced -- only one right wing sided guest.

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