It wasn’t flashy or sensational. Instead, President Donald Trump delivered a somber and solemn Supreme Court nomination is less time than it takes to drive a few blocks in D.C. during rush hour. And most of the media ate it up. Even US Weekly was paying attention.
Damon Linker, senior correspondent for The Week, summed up what for many was reluctant praise: “That was the most presidential seven minutes of Donald Trump's presidency so far, and most normal.” Politico called the pick “Antonin Scalia 2.0,” hardly a phrasing designed to appease the left.
That positivity was a huge departure from what CNN’s Jim Acosta was expecting. Acosta, who had a big league run-in with the president, was denied a question at Trump’s first big post-election press conference. Here the CNN senior white house correspondent summed up what was probably a popular media view: “We were expecting something a little bit more reality TV event here.”
Commentators were obviously impressed with what actually happened. “This is how it’s supposed to be done. I mean this is done to the T,” commented CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash. New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor even noted that, “Barack Obama and Neil Gorsuch were in the same Harvard Law School class, graduating in 1991.”
Another CNN Political Analyst, David Gregory, was so complimentary that he got four-lettered Twitter pushback, which he then retweeted. “Tonight represents a stroke of genius/obstruction by Senator McConnell who saw to it Judge Garland never got a hearing,” he wrote.
His response to the F-bomb tweet was quick. “All you haters on twitter need to get out of your bubbles - not everyone thinks like you. I provide analysis. Take it or leave it.”
Naturally, the left was unhappy. Still smarting after the Merrick Garland snub, many liberals were glum or angry. Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch was both. “2017: The year America became a dictatorship but ‘the optics were great,’” he lamented, retweeting a comment from Erik Wemple of The Washington Post.
CNN political commentator Keith Boykin couldn’t get past the Garland nomination. “It doesn't matter if Neil Gorsuch is qualified. Merrick Garland was too. Confirming Gorsuch would reward @GOP's unprecedented obstruction,” he complained.
Former Star Trek actor George Takei blasted the nominee for his views, saying that “Religious based discrimination and abortion foes just got a boost.” Funny or Die host Billy Eichner hammered the Garland connection. “Gorsuch is extremely anti-LGBTQ and this is a #StolenSeat that belonged to Merrick Garland,” he tweeted.
Many others in the media simply used the high-profile event for sport, with the British press winning the day. The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs noted how Trump’s other likely choice hadn’t won much of anything. “Congratulations to Thomas Hardiman on winning a set of steak knives.”
David Martosko, of The Daily Mail, joked about the speed of the announcement. “The bounce rate from these livestreams is going to be astronomical.”
Time’s Ryan Teague Beckwith gave the American snark, lamenting the lost effort writing up Hardiman stories. “There's a newspaper in heaven where your profile of Thomas Hardiman will be published.”
Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.