Accuracy in Media

NowThis is lying to its young audience when it claims that “conservatives are freaking out at the idea of a Black woman on SCOTUS” (i.e., the Supreme Court of the United States). Producer Emily Barger lays the nonsequiturs and condescension on thick in the short space of the one-minute clip, returning to the same lie over and over. 

“Conservatives are pissed that President [Joe] Biden is considering replacing Justice Stephen Breyer, an old white dude, with a Black woman,” it begins.

Most conservatives would have no complaint if the search for the best possible Supreme Court justice ended with a Black woman on the bench.  They just think that finding the best possible justice should be the goal, not satisfying an identity-politics promise Biden appears to have made for political reasons.

In fact, Republican President George W. Bush may very well have appointed America’s first Black woman justice in 2006 were it not for the vocal objections of then-Sen. Biden (Delaware), who had opposed her appointment to the D.C. Circuit court a few years earlier. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Missouri) has even suggested that Biden nominate that judge, Janice Rogers Brown, for the Supreme Court to “make amends.”

Barger ignores such evidence in her NowThis video. After simply dismissing concerns about reverse racism as “not a thing,” she gives a dishonest summary of a controversial tweet by Georgetown Law School professor Ilya Shapiro. Although his phrasing was arguably sloppy, Shapiro did not say that “there aren’t enough qualified Black women,” as Barger says. Rather, his point is that the “objectively best pick” from a progressive president would be Asian-Indian judge Sri Srinivasan. Choosing someone other than “the best” for some ulterior reason implicitly means, as Shapiro tweeted, somebody “lesser.”

Next, Barger immediately pivots to a strange (perhaps racist) claim.  Objecting to Biden’s promise on the grounds of “identity politics leaves no room for a Black woman to be considered a viable choice,” she writes. That would only be true if Barger believes that Black women could never be viable unless given a boost based on their sex and skin color.

Barger then provides viewers a history lesson. In 232 years, she says, 108 of 114 justices to ascend to the highest court have been white men. That trend ended in 1967, with the appointment of Thurgood Marshall. One hopes at least some of the NowThis audience notices something about the math and the calendar.  

Beginning with Marshall, 18 new justices have been appointed.  Two of them were Black men.  Five of them were women, one of whom is a Latina.  Of the remaining 11, one was the first Italian American, and one was Jewish (that “old white dude,” Breyer).

This mix is a clear indication that identity has been rapidly becoming less of a factor for success in America. Why would Biden, Barger and NowThis want to resuscitate race as a criterion for the most important positions in the country?

The answer, as Accuracy in Media has noted frequently, is that the primary purpose of NowThis is to promote and defend the Democrat Party.  That is why Barger doesn’t mention Biden’s objection to Janice Rogers Brown, as well as his infamous role in the campaign to keep Clarence Thomas, one of the two Black justices, from being appointed.

Why Barger ignores Jewish justices while highlighting Jews as two of the three conservatives she maligns is a question Whoopi Goldberg might be able to answer.

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