Margaret Sullivan on the Tortured Logic From Right-Wing Media About Replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2017 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. The Supreme Court says Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP
FILE – In this Feb. 6, 2017 file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. The Supreme Court says Ginsburg has died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

Back in 2016 and early 2017, Fox News was the self-satisfied home to a great deal of principled thinking about the importance of the American people’s will.

Here, for example, was Laura Ingraham, voicing her approval of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s machinations to bypass Obama nominee Merrick Garland and get conservative justice Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court bench after Trump’s election:

“The last 70 years a Supreme Court justice has not been confirmed in the final year of a president’s term,” preached the future Fox host, then a frequent guest on “Hannity.” She fretted that it “doesn’t matter” to left-leaning partisans. This was lofty-sounding but wrong: To pick just one of many examples to the contrary, the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously confirmed President Reagan’s nomination of Anthony Kennedy in early 1988, an election year.

Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Dana Perino, too, signaled their approval of stonewalling Obama’s nomination pick.

“You know, it’s what goes around, comes around,” Hannity opined, mentioning McConnell’s use of the supposed “Biden rule” to justify the move.”Why should the Republicans act any different?”

There was no such rule, though: Then-Sen. Joe Biden had been discussing, in a 1992 speech “a hypothetical situation involving a voluntary resignation, not a death, that never came to pass,” as Matt Gertz of Media Matters pointed out.

Such high-mindedness was in short supply during Fox’s popular opinion segments on Friday evening. While Fox’s news team gave ample attention to the life and career of the just-deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and TV news across the spectrum discussed the likely next maneuvers in filling her vacancy, nothing was as raw as the comments by conservative activist Ned Ryun.

“This is an opportunity, and I say they seize the moment,” urged Ryun, founder of the grassroots candidate-training factory American Majority in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, barely an hour after news broke of Ginsburg’s death.

For his part, Carlson did have the grace to suggest it might be well to tone things down in those initial hours and wait a bit in order to respect Ginsburg’s memory. But he also threw doubt on a credible report that Ginsburg had expressed her “most fervent wish” that the next president would appoint her replacement.

“It’s hard to believe, and I’m gonna choose not to believe that she said that, because I don’t think that people on their deathbeds are thinking about who’s president. You hope not – that’s a pretty limited way to think as you die. But certainly this will be used as a cudgel by the left.”

The problem is that her words, according to NPR’s reporting, were not uttered in her final hours but a few days earlier in a conversation with her grandchild.

Fox News, though, wasn’t the only place to find tortured logic and misrepresentations.

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Source: Stamford Advocate