Progressive critic Dr. Roberto Rodriguez has a new commentary (New America Media, 6/2/09) demonstrating how the miserable press reaction to Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s U.S. Supreme Court “nomination clearly shows us is that what this nation needs is more incisive journalism, not less.” But, Rodriguez laments, “to be sure, the rise of right-wing media, which include Fox News and virtually all the known right-wing radio talkshow hosts, is the antithesis of journalism”:
Their coverage of the Sotomayor nomination points to the need for honest debate, not simply on the issues of race, but on the right wing’s aversion to truth. It also points to the right wing’s pompous beliefs, on every topic, including affirmative action, that their positions are “American.”
Extremist politicos Newt Gingrich and Tom Tancredo, both of whom have zero credibility but are stars of right-wing media, have led the charge that Sotomayor is a racist. They have been joined by the usual wingnuts: Rush Limbaugh, Gordon Liddy, Glenn Beck, Pat Buchanan, Lou Dobbs, to name a few. Even Juan Williams of NPR, has parroted the claim that Sotomayor’s (out-of-context) statements are racist. The fact that the nationÃƒÆ’Â¢ÃƒÂ¢”Å¡Â¬ÃƒÂ¢”Å¾Â¢s discussion centers on whether she is a racist or not–or that she is an “affirmative action” pick (Buchanan)–points to both the power of the wingnuts and also to the virtual impotence, or complicity, of mainstream media.
While “these pundits who daily rant against ‘illegal aliens,’ and who daily clamor on the need to fortify the U.S.-Mexico border, are quoted as credible sources by the mainstream press,” Rodriguez remains hopeful that “the majority of Americans can see through the false arguments…by these so-called patriots.” Yet “this does not hold true for the mainstream media. As we are seeing with Sotomayor, all it takes is a handful of ‘extremists’ to control and shape the media debate.”