Tuesday :: Jul 26, 2005

Washington Post Editors Helping White House Get Roberts Confirmed

by Steve

It looks like the Washington Post has gone on the payroll for the White House and RNC to get John Roberts confirmed to the Supreme Court.

As David Brock’s Media Matters for America noted today, for the second day in a row, the Post excluded Democrats from their key story on Roberts using ground rules demanded by the White House.

Complying with "ground rules" set by Bush administration officials, The Washington Post published a July 26 article that presented the White House's arguments for withholding documents written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. during his tenure as the Justice Department's deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush -- without any Democratic rebuttal.
Under a purported embargo, which the Post said prevented reporters from revealing the administration's decision until midnight -- "too late" to contact Democrats for a response -- staff writers Peter Baker and Charles Babington quoted anonymous White House officials spinning the decision regarding the documents. But while other contemporaneous print media reports noted Democrats' previously stated arguments for full disclosure of the documents, the Post omitted them.
The Post cited several arguments put forth by anonymous officials in the current Bush administration for withholding the Justice Department memos, including that the documents the White House will provide from Roberts's tenure in the White House counsel's office under President Reagan are "sufficient" and that the Justice Department memos are "key to the solicitor general's deliberations over legal strategy, and releasing them would damage traditional privilege."
But unlike the Times and the AP, the Post failed to report that Democrats have argued that there is significant precedent for turning over internal memos from the Justice Department. In recent days, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has cited numerous examples of previous administrations turning over comparable documents during Senate nomination proceedings.

Individual reporters at the Post, like Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Thomas Ricks, and others are objective. But the Post is largely a pro-Bush paper, and their editors have been in the bag for Bush since 9/11.

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