During last year's confirmation process for Sonia Sotomayor, Media Matters documented that numerous media figures adopted language reflecting gender stereotypes in reporting about Sotomayor's temperament and intellect. Here's what we wrote at the time:
Since Sonia Sotomayor's name was raised as a possible choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, numerous media figures have adopted language reflecting gender and racial stereotypes in reporting about her temperament and intellect. In many instances, reporters and pundits point to characterizations from a controversial New Republic piece by Jeffrey Rosen, which cited in part anonymous Democratic "former law clerks for other judges on" the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on which Sotomayor sits. In a subsequent piece, Rosen defended his original article in part by noting similar comments about Sotomayor from anonymous attorneys in the 2008 edition of the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary. Scholars and others have noted that such descriptions reflect gender and racial biases, and similar characterizations have been cited by The Handbook of Social Psychology (Oxford University Press, 1998) as representing "Anglos' generic stereotypes of Latinos."
ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News reported Lindsey Graham's citation of anonymous criticism of Sonia Sotomayor published in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary without noting that Sotomayor's 2nd Circuit Court colleague reportedly called such criticism "sexist."
On the May 26, 2009, edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Slate editor and judicial reporter Dahlia Lithwick said of criticism of Sotomayor: "[S]o much of this is anti-woman politics. I mean, so much of this is larded up with talk of her being a bully and aggressive -- the kinds of things that she does on the bench that Scalia can get away with, but she can't."
According to reports, at least two women are likely on the short list to replace retiring Justice John Stevens. Will the media again resort to adopting gender stereotypes as they did during the Sotomayor hearings? Let's hope not.
From the April 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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From Crowley's March 31 Washington Times column, titled, "Enemies of the state: Administration smears some opponents, arrests others":
Not surprisingly, then, once they had passed their widely unpopular health care bill, the Democrats moved quickly to delegitimize opposition to it. Their defiant move in the face of overwhelming popular resistance gave them another excuse to equate big-government progressives with good patriots and small government advocates with potentially violent nutcases who must be watched.
As if on cue, this week, Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Justice's Joint Terrorism Task Force carried out raids against a purported "Christian militia group" in the Midwest. According to reports, nine people have been charged with plotting to kill police officers with "weapons of mass destruction." The indictment describes the group as an "anti-government extremist organization" and the FBI special agent in charge, Andrew Arena, cast it as "radical and fringe." That may be, but the description has a conveniently familiar ring to it.
Interestingly, the head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Dawud Walid, rushed to announce the raids at a CAIR banquet at about the same time the story became public. "We salute the FBI for breaking up a militia that was seeking to harm American Muslims," he said. It's curious that he would know that at a time when the FBI still had the investigation under seal. (We're still waiting to hear why Homeland Security and the FBI chose to use the descriptive word "Christian" when they seem unable to use the word "Muslim" in connection with Islamic extremism.)
It's mind-blowingly coincidental that these raids on a supposedly "Christian" militia group would come at the exact moment that Democrats were trying to change public opinion on Obamacare by claiming persecution by their opponents. They have cast Tea Partiers, conservatives, independents, Christians and militia members as all cut from the same unstable, volatile cloth. How can anyone take their opposition to the Democrats' agenda seriously when they're toting guns and being raided by Homeland Security and the FBI? They're all nuts, don't you know?
The Democrats handle dissent by isolating it, smearing it and delegitimizing it in order to crush it. The warning should be clear: If you have small-government, traditional values, you may be considered by your own leadership to be an enemy of the state.
From the March 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Lachlan Markay writes this in a March 29 NewsBusters post:
With the recently announced end of Fox's hit series "24," many liberal pundits are parading the show as a false depiction of the notion that "torture works." Contrary to their accusations, the Jack Bauer interrogation methods bear exactly zero resemblance to any actual interrogation techniques used by American military, law enforcement, or intelligence agents.
Say what? Haven't conservatives been the ones who spent the past several years using 24 to justify "enhanced interrogation" on suspected Muslim terrorists and to serve as a blueprint for how the "war on terror" should be fought? Why, yes they have:
Markay's revisionist claim also goes against what his fellow NewsBusters have written:
24 may have nothing to do with real life, but let's not pretend that conservatives didn't want it to.
From Atlas Shrugs:
Despite Record Levels of Islamic Terror in U.S., FBI raids Christian Groups
In a word, nuts. Seven people have been arrested for allegedly selling pipe bombs in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, Fox News has learned.
How about raiding Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around the U.S.?
Was the armed camp in New York, Islamberg, raided? The Muslim Brotherhood (CAIR) is already crowing about it.
From Marc Thiessen's book: Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack:
Obama claims that by eliminating enhanced interrogations and closing Guantanamo, he is actually making America safer. In his view, both the CIA program and Guantanamo have driven the Muslim street into the enemy's camp and helped al Qaeda recruit new terrorists. As Obama put it in his speech at the National Archives, enhanced interrogation techniques "served as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us." Moreover, he said, "There is no question that Guantanamo set back the moral authority that is American's strongest currency in the world ... [I]nstead of serving as a tool to counter terrorism, Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause."
This is demonstrably false. First, the terrorists were successfully recruiting suicide operatives long before the CIA interrogation program existed or there were any terrorists held at Guantanamo. There was no Guantanamo and no CIA interrogation program when terrorists first tried to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993. There was no Guantanamo and no CIA interrogation program when they blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. There was no Guantanamo and no CIA interrogation program when they attacked the USS Cole. And there was no Guantanamo and no CIA interrogation program on September 11, 2001. The terrorists found other excuses to recruit the operatives for these attacks. Evil always finds an excuse.
In the movie Batman: The Dark Knight, whenever the Joker is about to kill one of his victims, he points to the scars that form his hideous smile and tells the story of how he got his disfiguring wounds. Each time it is a different story. The first time he says they were carved into his face by an abusive father. The next time, he claims he did it to himself after criminals disfigured his wife. But when he says to Batman, "Do you know how I got these scars?" Batman says, "No, but I know how you got these," and pushes him off the side of a building. Batman is not interested in the villain's made-up excuses. We shouldn't be, either. [Pages 369-70]
During a Special Report segment, Catherine Herridge stated that a federal court ruling that ordered the release of Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi "exposed the limits" of the civilian criminal justice system. However, Slahi was not being prosecuted in the civilian justice system, and a military prosecutor reportedly refused to prosecute Slahi three years ago after he determined that the evidence against Slahi was obtained through torture.
A March 23 Fox & Friends segment falsely suggested that a recent court ruling reportedly ordering the release of Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi is the result of President Obama's decision to try some Guantánamo detainees in civilian court rather than military tribunals. In fact, the Obama administration has not charged Slahi in civilian or military court, and the Bush administration failed to try Slahi in a military commission after the prosecutor determined that the evidence against him was obtained through torture.
From the March 12 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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From the March 11 edition of The Glenn Beck Program:
From the March 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen falsely claimed that "all the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee" were asking questions similar to those posed by Liz Cheney's controversial ad campaign attacking Justice Department attorneys who previously represented terrorism detainees. In fact, Sen. Lindsey Graham -- a Republican member of the Judiciary Committee -- has joined numerous conservatives in criticizing the ad's attacks.
Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen appeared on Fox & Friends to promote his attacks on Department of Justice lawyers who previously represented or advocated for terror suspects and other detainees. Thiessen claimed the lawyers were "trying to spring terrorists out of Guantanamo" and again distorted DOJ lawyer Jennifer Daskal's past legal arguments.
In his March 8 Washington Post column, Marc Thiessen made a series of false and misleading attacks in an attempt to defend the witch hunt against Department of Justice lawyers who represented terror suspects in U.S. courts. One other argument Thiessen made also leaps out at me: Thiessen compares the DOJ lawyers who represented detainees to "mob lawyers." Thiessen wrote:
Would most Americans want to know if the Justice Department had hired a bunch of mob lawyers and put them in charge of mob cases? Or a group of drug cartel lawyers and put them in charge of drug cases? Would they want their elected representatives to find out who these lawyers were, which mob bosses and drug lords they had worked for, and what roles they were now playing at the Justice Department? Of course they would -- and rightly so.
Yet Attorney General Eric Holder hired former al-Qaeda lawyers to serve in the Justice Department and resisted providing Congress this basic information. In November, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Holder a letter requesting that he identify officials who represented terrorists or worked for organizations advocating on their behalf, the cases and projects they worked on before coming to the Justice Department, the cases and projects they've worked on since joining the administration, and a list of officials who have recused themselves because of prior work on behalf of terrorist detainees.
When someone uses the phrase "mob lawyers," what comes to mind? The first image that I thought of was that of Tom Hagen, the attorney (or consigliere) for the Corleone crime family in the Godfather saga. Hagen was intimately involved in the Corleones' crimes. It turns out that so-called "mob lawyers" have been convicted themselves for criminal activities. Of course, there is no evidence that the lawyers Thiessen is targeting have been involved in any criminal activity.
I don't mean to suggest that people accused of being involved in organized crime aren't entitled to an attorney. They are. And lawyers who have representing a person accused in an organized crime case should not be disqualified from joining the Department of Justice and being "put ... in charge of mob cases."
But Thiessen did not refer simply to "lawyers who represent defendants in organized crime cases"; he used the phrase "mob lawyers," with all the suggestion of criminality that that loaded term entails.
It also bears noting that The Washington Post itself has condemned the people involved in the attacks on the DOJ lawyers for acting as if those lawyers "had committed a crime:"
It is an effort to smear the Obama administration and the reputations of Justice Department lawyers who, before joining the administration, acted in the best traditions of this country by volunteering to take on the cases of suspected terrorists. They now find themselves the target of a video demanding that they be identified, as if they had committed a crime or needed to be exposed for subverting national security.
It is important to remember that no less an authority than the Supreme Court ruled that those held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, must be allowed to challenge their detentions in a U.S. court. It is exceedingly difficult to exercise that right meaningfully without the help of a lawyer. It is also worth remembering that the Bush administration wanted to try some Guantanamo detainees in military commissions -- a forum in which a defendant is guaranteed legal representation. Even so, it took courage for attorneys to stand up in the midst of understandable societal rage to protect the rights of those accused of terrorism. Advocates knew that ignorance and fear would too often cloud reason. They knew that this hysteria made their work on these cases all the more important. The video from Keep America Safe proves they were right.