CBS added language to AP report to falsely claim "nuclear option" is a Democratic term

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

A November 1 Associated Press article republished on CBSNews.com repeated the false claim that "nuclear option," referring to the Republican-proposed Senate rule change to prohibit filibusters of judicial nominations, is a Democratic term. The article on CBSNews.com reports: "[Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist [R-TN] said he's ready to move against judicial filibusters, using what Republicans call the 'constitutional option' and Democrats term the 'nuclear option.' " Other versions of the AP article, however, do not ascribe "nuclear option" to Democrats. CBS presumably added the language to the AP article.

As Media Matters for America has noted on numerous occasions, the term "nuclear option," as it pertains to judicial filibusters, was originally coined by Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS). Republican strategists have since shunned the term as a liability and have instead urged the use of "constitutional option." A May 17 Washington Post article quoted Republican pollster Frank Luntz saying: "The implication of 'nuclear option' is way too hot and extreme."

This is how the AP article appears on CBSNews.com, under the byline "CBS/AP":

Frist said he's ready to move against judicial filibusters, using what Republicans call the "constitutional option" and Democrats term the "nuclear option."

This is how every version of the same AP article appears in the Nexis database (and republished on the San Francisco Chronicle's website):

Frist said he's ready to move against judicial filibusters, using what Republicans call the "constitutional option," if Democrats force him to.

A Google News search indicated that CBSNews.com was the only outlet to feature this language.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments, The Judiciary, The Senate
Stories/Interests
Filibusters/Nuclear Option
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.