Over the weekend, the WSJ got a head start on the competition. Looking ahead to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, the Journal stressed how Sotomayor's now famous "Latina woman" quote would certainly become a very big deal. (Y'know, the single sentence from a campus speech given eight years ago, the kind of obscure public utterance that always dominates SCOTUS confirmation hearings, right?)
It should come as no surprise that the Journal article, which revolved solely around the "Latina woman" quote, completely failed to place it in context. It's not surprising because Beltway journalists covering Sotomayor appear to have taken some kind of solemn loyalty oath to never place the quote in its proper context. Because if anybody does, than the whole 'controversy' (she's a racist!) collapses.
FYI, Sotomayor's quotes about a wise "Latina woman" making a better decision than a white judge was made specifically in the context of race and gender discrimination cases. But the press has categorically refused to spell that out and pretends Sotomayor was talking about all decisions from the bench. That she had espoused this nutty notion that one group of judges (Latina women) make inherently better legal judgments than another (white men.) If Sotomayor had made that claim, critics would have every right to question her temperament, not to mention her sanity.
But of course, that's not what Sotomayor said. It's just what the press, at the urging of the GOP, pretends she said. It's really an elaborate con game: Reporters and pundits know the correct context. They understand the larger point she was making. They simply refuse to spell it out.
Journalism doesn't get much more dishonest, or gruesome, than watching the "Latina woman" tale play out, yet again. That's why we're already bracing for a dreadful week.
UPDATED: Hey look, Fox News' Juan Williams thinks "Latina woman" was a racist statement because Sotomayor thinks she's "endowed in a much better, superior way, than white people." Did I mention how depressingly awful journalism is going to be this week?