Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearings shined a bright and ugly light on many people and organizations. People, for instance, such as the entire membership of the Senate Democratic caucus (with one notable exception), who, in a display of the finer instincts of hyenas, fell over one another in their abandonment of due process and the presumption of innocence.
And they were not alone. Joining them were “liberal” organizations such as the American Bar Association, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ABA’s standing committee on the federal judiciary evaluates all candidates for the Supreme Court and issues ratings on them. The ABA on August 31 gave Kavanaugh its highest rating. But in what was reported to be a retreat from that stance, on September 27, ABA President Robert Carlson penned a letter on behalf of his organization to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) calling for an FBI “background check into the allegations made by Professor [Christine Blasey] Ford.” This was widely reported by the national media.
The next day, however, the ABA released a letter informing the senators that Carlson’s letter was not reviewed by the standing committee on the federal judiciary before it was sent, and that moreover the ABA’s rating for Kavanaugh remained unchanged. Carlson’s comeuppance, so at odds with the narrative the national media was peddling, went widely unreported.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a hard-left hate group with a reported $400 million in the bank, also sank to its reputation. On September 29, the SPLC released this remarkable statement: “By ignoring the credible accusations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump and the Republican Senate have demonstrated just how far they will go to put a right-wing ideologue on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
So there, in one sentence, is all you need to know about the SPLC, an organization that long ago traded its worthwhile founding mission for its current role as a leftist repository for big bucks from people like actor George Clooney.
If there is one group, other than Democratic legislators, that has covered itself with unforgivable shame it is the American Civil Liberties Union. Not content just to issue jejune statements on its blog, the ACLU took the extraordinary step of spending $1 million on paid TV ads in different areas of the country, calling for the voters there to tell their senators to vote no on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. And what ads they were!
Beginning with a montage of photos or video of Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, Matt Lauer, and Harvey Weinstein, the ads featured a clip of Brett Kavanaugh’s senate denial of the allegations against him, with a voiceover intoning “We’ve seen this before . . . Denials from powerful men.”
Several former ACLU leaders blasted the ads. Michael Meyers, a member of the ACLU national board from 1981-2005, called the spots “bald-faced hypocrisy” and “a violation of everything we believe in as civil libertarians,” while Wendy Kaminer, also a former national board member, blasted the commercials as “appalling and one more example of progressive political sentiment trumping civil liberty concerns at the ACLU.”
No list of the worst miscreants would be complete, of course, without mentioning so many of the “mainstream” media. Especially notable in that regard are the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC News, and above all, if substantially less mainstream, CNN and The New Yorker.
The Times and the Post both published editorials calling for Kavanaugh’s rejection on the argument that he was too passionate in his own defense during his Senate testimony. The Times called it a “rage-bender,” while the Post clucked in with gems like this one: “As senators prepare to vote this week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, they, and the rest of the country, must wonder: Which Brett Kavanaugh are they evaluating? Is it the steady, conservative jurist he was reputed to be before his confirmation saga? Or is it a partisan operative harboring suspicions and resentments about Democrats, with possible misdeeds in his past?” Right. Given the way the matter arose and was treated, how could Kavanaugh, or anyone, possibly harbor resentments toward Democrats?
In the wake of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, blowback has come the way of two anti-Kavanaugh players: first, the creepy porn lawyer Michael Avenatti, who introduced the nation first to Stormy Daniels and then to one Julie Swetnick, who preposterously accused Kavanaugh of being at a party where she was “gang raped”; and, second, The New Yorker magazine, which published a piece by Ronan Farrow and the execrable Jane Mayer, spotlighting the sexual misconduct claims of Deborah Ramirez, a former Kavanaugh classmate at Yale. The New York Times reported it was unable to corroborate Ramirez’s story and that Ramirez told former classmates that she couldn’t even be sure Kavanaugh was the student who exposed himself to her.
But it was CNN, which since Donald Trump’s election has become a kind of journalistic urinal for left-wing provocateurs of all stripes and acuity, that wallowed most often and most deeply in the mud of this affair.
Take Brian Stelter, the journalistic runt of CNN’s litter. It was Stelter who told Avenatti “one reason why I’m taking you seriously as a (presidential) contender is because of your presence on cable news.” And indeed, Stelter was on to something. According to a report in The Hill, Avenatti appeared on CNN 65 times (and on MSNBC 43 times) between March 7 and May 10.
The most obvious takeaway from all this is that “liberalism,” the presumed ideology of all these people and organizations, is dying.
In its place has grown a violent and ignorant and deeply anti-democratic #Resistance, which has embraced identity politics, a victim culture, and an equivocal if not downright hostile view of the U.S. Constitution.
It’s more than a shame. The country could profit right now from the kind of liberalism that is broadminded, nurturing, and tolerant. But it’s not going to come from the Democratic Party as currently constituted, or from those elements of the press that have trashed all traces of journalistic standards in their abandonment of objectivity.