Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tea leaves

There's a certain kind of journalism that calls itself analysis. Sometimes it's useful for setting the background and the imperatives the actors are acting from.

Then there's this kind of piece from Peter Canellos. It strings together a few slightly inside-politics tidbits with a few quotes such as this:

"If [Sotomayor's confirmation] takes a month, it does bump things up against the adjournment time," said Dartmouth College political scientist Linda Fowler. "The worry for Obama is less the loss of bipartisan spirit than the time constraints. An acrimonious nomination fight just eats up a lot of time."
There was an opportunity here put in perspective the previous two Supreme Court confirmations:
  • Samuel Alito - "Samuel Alito is gliding toward confirmation as a Supreme Court justice after a week of hearings..."
  • John Roberts - "The White House swearing-in ceremony took place three hours after the Senate voted 78 to 22 to confirm Roberts."
There are two possible explanations:
  • Republicans are much nastier and more focused in these fights.
  • Many journalists are eager or at least willing to adopt the Republican narrative.
Just for a moment, I'm going to hold in abeyance my natural suspicion of both Republicans and pundits.

I bet there were analyses just like Canellos's before Alito and Roberts, and those fights hardly amounted to anything. Now, there are sixty Democrats (or should be), and the Sotomayor confirmation will most likely take place with keening, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but it will still happen quickly.

And the analyses will continue unabated and unabashed.


globeisatrocious said...

For nasty and focused, please see Bork hearing. Did you consider how excellent both Alito and Roberts were for another explanation? And consider Harriet Miers as an example of some self-reflection in which Dems might engage. And those wacky journalists, always eager to adopt Republican talking points, esp. the NYT. What a dream world you occupy.

lovable liberal said...

Bork has proven over and over again that he's a lunatic right-winger. It was right to bork him.

Are you claiming the laughable nonsense that Harriet Miers and Sonia Sotomayor are comparable? Do you really think all vagina-Americans are interchangeable? Because that's the obvious interpretation of your comments.

Last, Judith Miller. Elisabeth Bumiller. Journalists constantly deliver Republican talking points, no matter how deeply steeping in bullshit they may be.