Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media’s response was a mixed bag when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer after he made aggressively worded comments directed at Supreme Court justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Schumer allegedly threatened the justices, which was met with criticism from President Donald Trump, and Republican lawmakers, and from some media outlets like Fox News and NBC News.

Schumer apologized during remarks on the Senate floor and said it was due to his Brooklyn roots.

“Now, I should not have used the words I used yesterday,” Schumer said. “They didn’t come out the way I intended to.

“Of course I didn’t intend to suggest anything other than political and public opinion consequences for the Supreme Court, and it is a gross distortion to imply otherwise. I’m from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language. I shouldn’t have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never, never would do such a thing. And Leader McConnell knows that. And Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that, too.”

CNN did not buy Schumer’s remarks and wrote, “Schumer did not appear to directly apologize, and instead accused Republicans of ‘gross distortion’ and ‘manufacturing outrage.’” The article’s headline did not include the word ‘apology’ and instead said, “Schumer says he used the wrong words following Supreme Court backlash.” CNN correctly noted that Schumer “appeared to threaten Kavanaugh and Gorsuch” during his remarks.

For reference, Schumer’s offending remarks were:

“I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

Based on Schumer’s initial comments and his apology, CNN made the right decision to be skeptical about Schumer’s claim that he did not intend to threaten sitting Supreme Court justices in his remarks. For example, CNN did not believe Schumer’s claim that his remarks were distorted by his political opponents, which claim could imply that he did not accept full responsibility for his actions. CNN played neutral arbiter in this case and did a good job in reporting the facts.

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