For many years, Linda Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for the New York Times. She no longer does, but she has an op/ed in the Times. Her latest op/ed is quite revealing, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not.
As regular readers of my posts know, I occasionally cite extreme cases of media bias. This is one in a series.
Here are the first two paragraphs of her piece:
The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- has endured so many near-death experiences that digging into the details of still another effort to demolish it is admittedly not an inviting prospect. (My own reaction, I confess, to hearing some months back about the latest legal challenge -- this one aimed at the supposed effect of a single word in the 900-page statute -- was something along the lines of "wake me when it's over.")
But stay with me, because this latest round, catapulted onto the Supreme Court's docket earlier this month by the same forces that brought us the failed Commerce Clause attack two years ago, opens a window on raw judicial politics so extreme that the saga so far would be funny if the potential consequences weren't so serious.
Do you notice anything interesting? I notice three things.
But to see why they're interesting, you must remember that Ms. Greenhouse was, for many years, one of the leading reporters on the Supreme Court for one of the world's most influential newspapers. With such an important job, she would be expected to pay close attention to what the Supreme Court does. Granted that she no longer covers the Supreme Court for the Times; but I would have expected her, in her editorial writer's capacity, to care almost as much about the issues and almost as much about getting the facts right.
First, consider the last sentence of the first paragraph:
My own reaction, I confess, to hearing some months back about the latest legal challenge -- this one aimed at the supposed effect of a single word in the 900-page statute -- was something along the lines of "wake me when it's over."
One of the most important traits a good reporter can have is curiosity. This statement is not the statement of someone who is curious. "Wake me when it's over." Really?
Second, notice something else. Lots of important issues are about one word. Imagine your favorite piece of legislation with the one word "not" inserted. How can one take seriously someone who thinks important issues can not hang on one word. In fact, it's about a phrase, as the op/ed later makes clear. Imagine that the second paragraph of Article II, Section II of the U.S. Constitution, instead of stating:
He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties
He shall have Power to make Treaties.
There's a phrase missing and it matters.
Third and finally, consider the second paragraph. Ms. Greenhouse writes:
this latest round, catapulted onto the Supreme Court's docket earlier this month by the same forces that brought us the failed Commerce Clause attack two years ago,
Failed Commerce Clause attack? Did she even read the decision? The Commerce Clause attack succeeded. What failed was the attempt to overturn ObamaCare because Justice Roberts interpreted a penalty as a tax.
I very much appreciate Ms. Greenhouse revealing her true colors.