Dan Gainor: Supreme bias -- Media bash 'Trump the Destroyer' over court pick

The imminent Supreme Court nomination was too much for the media to handle this week. The prospect of President Donald Trump appointing a conservative court caused reporters and commentators to explode in bias and bile.

The media tried everything from urging Democrats to pack the court in the future to blasting the religious faith of one of the nominees. CNN political analyst Brian Karem even warned of “Trump the Destroyer,” like filling the court spot was reminiscent of “Ghostbusters.” (If you ask “Who you gonna call?” the answer should never be Karem.)

News outlets did their best to resurrect FDR’s scheme of packing the court. Former NBC Cable president Tom Rogers told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Democrats have to cheat to win.

“The Democrats could simply increase the number of justices to neutralize any ideologically extreme appointments that President Trump is successful from making in this point in time on forward,” he explained. Notice how only conservatives are “ideologically extreme appointments” to this former news exec.

Politico ran an even more revolutionary piece. “Grant statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, and break California in seven, with the goal of adding 16 new Democrats to the Senate,” wrote former congressional speechwriter Rob Goodman. The idea gained such popularity that even liberal Vox delivered an explainer story: “Why an FDR plan from the 1930s is suddenly popular again,” though “sore losers” were never mentioned as an answer.

The bias didn’t stop at remaking the court. It also focused on whining about the new justice. CNN outdid itself trying to depict President Donald Trump’s second court pick in a negative light.

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin has quickly positioned himself as the most hyperbolic of all anti-Trump commentators when it comes to the court pick. He complained about Justice Anthony Kennedy’s decision “to turn over his precious seat on the Supreme Court to the least dignified man ever to serve as president” and warned it would lead to a “brazen conservative majority.” A brazen liberal majority is OK if you get a check from CNN.

It’s not just Rep. Maxine Waters talking about how to be uncivil.

One of the three likeliest nominees is Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a conservative Catholic. She has come under particular media attack. CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza said she fits the “the casting-call nature of Trump's search.” “If you believe Trump makes decisions based on image and appearance (and he does), then here's the next Supreme Court Justice,” he explained.

A CNN profile of the three focused heavily on Barrett’s faith and family. “She’s 46 and has seven children,” went the profile, going into detail about her family when it hadn’t done the same for the two men among the likely picks.

Daily Beast contributing editor Erin Gloria Ryan naturally told “CNN Newsroom” that any female Trump nominee “should be known as the Aunt Lydia of the Supreme Court” – referring to one of the main characters on the left’s favorite this-is-Trump’s-American-horror show “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

MSNBC mirrored the hate of CNN. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson mocked Barrett’s faith on “Morning Joe”: “Susan Collins, you know, for example on Barrett, she might have some problem with the ‘handmaid’ thing, right? Which I think a lot of people would have problems with.” (“Handmaid.” See?)

Network political analyst Zerlina Maxwell also targeted Barrett’s religion and even accused her of speaking to a “hate group" because she spoke to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which actually argues in front of the Supreme Court and “keeps winning,” according to the Post.

2. Uncivil Wars: It’s not just Rep. Maxine Waters talking about how to be uncivil. Post columnist Jennifer Rubin went after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claiming she deserves a "life sentence" of harassment.

Huckabee Sanders "has no right to live a life of no fuss, no muss," according to Rubin, ranting on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” because of “lying to the press – after inciting against the press.”

Not to be outdone easily, the Verge co-founder Joshua Topolsky wrote a disgusting comment about Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro. The tweet, which has been deleted, said, ”Ben Shapiro is the Jew who helps other Jews onto the train.” Shapiro showed he’s the better man, responding, "I've been called worse by better."

CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill‏ rationalized an incident where a teen had his MAGA hat stolen and soda thrown in his face. He tweeted: “I actually don’t advocate throwing drinks on people. Not at all. But yes, i think MAGA hats (deliberately) reflect a movement that conjures racism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc. So yes, it’s a little harder to feel sympathy when someone gets Coca Cola thrown on him.”

The Times, which famously fought for the 1st Amendment in the Pentagon Papers case, has switched sides. The paper published a bizarre anti-free speech screed headlined: “How Free Speech Was Weaponized By Conservatives.”

In a story you probably won’t see very many places, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul had to deal with another threat of violence. “Capitol Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man who threatened to kill me and chop up my family with an axe,” he said. The Times devoted just 147 words to the story of that incident, including headline.

3. A Bad Week for Journalism: Journalists who want to point to how ethical journalism is need to choose a better week as an example.

“After more than two decades at ABC News, Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz have decided to leave the company,” began ABC’s press release that ended an embarrassing chapter for the news organization. It was nice spin for the departure of Ross, who delivered two very high profile disasters to the network.

In December, Ross reported that National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was “prepared to testify … against President Trump, against members of the Trump family and others in the White House.” It impacted financial markets and was criticized by Trump because “the Stock Market went down 350 points.” Ross also incorrectly reported in 2012 that the Aurora, Colo., shooter was tied to the Tea Party.

The New York Times didn’t cut ties with its reporter Ali Watkins, but she was demoted. The paper told readers that she “will be transferred out of the newspaper’s Washington bureau and reassigned to a new beat in New York.” (In other words, closer to bosses.)

Watkins was skewered by an internal Times review that showed her involved with two sources on her beat, including “a three-year affair with a high-ranking aide on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which she covered for several news organizations before joining The Times in December.”

The Times, which famously fought for the 1st Amendment in the Pentagon Papers case, has switched sides. The paper published a bizarre anti-free speech screed headlined: “How Free Speech Was Weaponized By Conservatives.

The article was part of the paper’s institutional panic over the prospect of a conservative Supreme Court. The key argument was straightforward and disturbing: “Some liberals now say that free speech disproportionately protects the powerful and the status quo.” When journalists write “some,” it usually means the reporter and his/her friends.

There’s also a dangerous move afoot in New Jersey for the state to fund “journalism.” CNN’s Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter seems unworried by the ethical dangers of reporters getting paid by the very politicians they cover. “What if every state provided some seed $$$ for local journalism -- as a way to rebuild some of what's been lost through years of budget cuts and layoffs?” he tweeted.

Daily Caller Media and Breaking News Editor Amber Athey pointed out some of the potential conflicts of the “Civic Info Bill.” “Beyond just funding, the government will have a large role in deciding who is eligible to receive such grants,” she reported.

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.