Media Bias Essay - How Different Sides Discussed the Alito Senate Confirmation Hearings

Essay by EJY345High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2006

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

On October 31, 2005, Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. was nominated by President Bush to the Supreme Court--to fill a vacancy after Sandra Day O'Connor stepped down--and, after a long series of hearings, was confirmed by a vote of 58-42 by the U.S. Senate on January 31, 2006. Alito's confirmation before the final vote received a great deal of press coverage. The liberal-biased media claimed Alito promulgated "right wing fanaticism," and right-wing editors shot back. Clearly, when examining coverage of this issue across the political spectrum, it becomes clear that both heavily left and right wing magazines were biased and used ad hominem (personal attacks) against the other, and that generally "mainstream" press best revealed the facts of the story.

In the January 23, 2006 issue of The Nation, a strong case was presented for not confirming Alito to the Supreme Court, a case that sometimes twisted facts to present a convincing argument.

For example, when citing Alito's past "radical" history, the article stated:

The only exception to Alito's big-government activism comes with the regulation of business. There he seems to be on a one-man crusade to undo decades of regulation, most clearly displayed in a still-astounding dissent arguing that the federal ban on machine guns violates the Constitution's commerce clause--a radical position...that would shred not only gun-control statutes but a host of environmental laws and other Congressional action (The Nation).

This paper skewed the facts to make their case sound more convincing; in reality, Alito ruled against the machine-gun ban because he was following the precedent of a one-year-old Supreme Court case, not because he was "Machine-Gun Sammy." Also, the harsh, condemning words used in this article are meant to rally up support against the nomination of Alito. This article calls Alito's nomination "threatening" and his supporters "religious fanatics"; they...