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As the Supreme Court Returns to Session, Study Finds Gross Bias in Favor of Liberal Judges

Alexandria, VA - In a study released today, the Media Research Center's (MRC) TimesWatch division reveals how slanted the New York Times' coverage of Supreme Court nominees has been over the arc of the last seven Supreme Court justices' nominations and confirmations. Supremely Slanted followed the Times' coverage from Clarence Thomas's nomination in 1991 to Elena Kagan's confirmation in 2010, and found stark differences in how the Times reported on the four Justices nominated by Democrats versus the three nominated by Republicans. They have painted conservatives as highly controversial and dangerously ideological, while liberal nominees were presented as "brilliant" moderates who were only newsworthy in that they were often laudably "historic" choices, or, in Kagan's case, she was not only "brilliant," but "very funny, warm and witty."

Findings in Supremely Slanted include:

• The Times demonstrated a 10-1 disparity in labeling "conservative" justices nominated by Republicans compared to "liberal" ones nominated by Democrats.

• In all, the three Republican-nominated justices were labeled "conservative" 105 times, while the four justices nominated by Democrats were labeled liberal on just 14 occasions.

• Republican nominees received intense coverage. Clarence Thomas was the subject of 81 stories through his initial hearings - not including the massive coverage after law professor Anita Hill made her unsubstantiated sexual harassment allegations. John Roberts was the subject of 107 stories, Samuel Alito 92.

• Democratic nominees received far less coverage. Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nomination was featured in a flimsy 22 Times stories, while Clinton's other pick Stephen Breyer was dealt with in a mere 20 stories. Obama nominee Sonia Sotomayor was a partial exception to the rule with 85 stories, but many of those keyed on the fact Sotomayor was a hometown pick. Elena Kagan also failed to excite interest, featuring in only 43 stories.

Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, commented:

"The New York Times continues to provide us with a wealth of evidence proving liberal media bias. Is it any wonder that their coverage of the Supreme Court is anything but judicious? Time and again we see how heavily the scale is tipped when it comes to their so-called news coverage of nominees by Republican Presidents. The Times may as well set up camp inside the Democratic Party's national headquarters."


Visit here to view the full report, Supremely Slanted.