How The Blaze Frames a Story


Glenn Beck’s The Blaze frames stories and builds narratives much the same way the Worldnutdaily does, in a highly dishonest manner. A perfect example is this article and interview that claims Chief Justice Roberts was “intimidated” into changing his vote in the health care reform case. But the whole thing is spent establishing something we already knew, that he switched his vote.

On the Glenn Beck radio program Tuesday, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) explained why he believes Roberts was intimidated into changing his vote late in the process, as laid out in his new book Why John Roberts Was Wrong About Healthcare.

Lee’s argument is not based on the NSA or its monitoring of the nation’s communication. Rather, Lee said, there are indications that Roberts originally intended to vote against the act, but that a public “campaign of intimidation” made him change his mind.

First, the senator claimed “the opinion was written in a way to suggest he switched his vote,” and that the dissenting opinion reads like it was originally written as the majority. He added that several news outlets reported that Roberts did change his vote, based on insider information.

Yes, Roberts changed his vote. No one doubts that. But that doesn’t mean he was “intimidated” or coerced into doing so. This is like arguing that an invisible dragon burned down your house and then pointing to the smoldering ashes of the house as if that proves the existence of the invisible dragon. As for any evidence of intimidation, Lee admits that he has none:

Lee continued to say that he has “no evidence” that Roberts was being blackmailed, but said that doesn’t mean Roberts wasn’t under any kind of “direct pressure.”

But even if he wasn’t, Lee reminded the Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers were open in their warnings to the court, “denigrating the authority of the house,” and saying the Supreme Court would become irrelevant if it failed to uphold ObamaCare.

And how does that “intimidate” a supreme court justice? Yes, Democrats very publicly talked about the result they wanted in the case. So did Republicans. If the court had voted to strike down the law, would Lee be complaining that the public campaign for that result “intimidated” the justices? Of course not. Roberts is appointed for life. He is insulated from the influence of public opinion and the opinion of legislators, by design. If you don’t have any actual evidence that he was intimidated or coerced, you’re saying nothing at all.

Comments

  1. gshelley says

    Well, to be fair, Roberts has clearly been intimidated on many other issues where public opinion was very strong, such as corporate personhood.
    Oh, my mistake, he hasn’t at all.

  2. Hayden says

    In light of this story, I think the question we should be asking is whether Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990. Although there is “no evidence” to suggest that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990, it is certainly compelling that some people have made allegations that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990. Whether the rumors that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a girl in 1990 are true or not, this is just the type of hard hitting news story you might expect The Blaze to cover. The absence of any stories on The Blaze about Glenn Beck raping and murdering a girl in 1990 is very suspicious, in itself.

  3. Chiroptera says

    The lastest issue of The Nation (article is available to subscribers only, unfortunately) has a review of a book on Roberts by Marcia Coyle.

    The review talks about Roberts obvious judicial activism — rule in a way that supporst the conservative agenda — but suggests that Robers’ seemingly uncharacteristic vote in National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius was at least partly due to his understanding that the Court’s prestige would suffer if it looked like it was a merely partisan political organization whose rulings simply depended on whoever was in control. The article suggests that in order to preserve the prestige of the Court, Roberts understands that he needs to cast a strategic vote that appears to contradict the conservative agenda.

    I remember long ago an article analyzing O’Connor’s vote in Planned Parenthood v Casey along similar lines.

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