McConnell vents over ‘fake news’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday vented about his “frustration” with media coverage of the Biden administration’s exploration of expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court.
McConnell chastised members of the Capitol press corps for not pointing out more often in its coverage of the court expansion debate that two prominent liberal jurists, late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer, firmly opposed expanding the Supreme Court beyond nine seats.
McConnell told reporters he’s frustrated with the coverage “most of you engaged in with regards to the issue of expanding the Supreme Court.”
He noted that both Ginsburg and Breyer in recent years said that “nine is the right number” with regard to the appropriate number of court seats, calling them two of the most influential members of the Supreme Court in “recent decades.”
“And yet I read story after story after story that do not mention that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, two of the most important liberals in modern time, are opposed to court packing,” he said.
“So why don’t you include in these objective analyses of this issue that fact?” he added.
McConnell noted that he doesn’t often publicly scold the press over what he views as “fake news” but added that he felt compelled to speak up after reading stories about Biden’s Supreme Court commission that failed to mention Ginsburg’s and Breyer’s views.
“I’ve never been one to complain about fake news but I want to start with the total frustration I have with the coverage that most of you have engaged in with regard to the issue of expanding the Supreme Court,” he said at the top of his weekly press conference.
Republicans are feeling generally frustrated over what they see as President Biden getting a free pass from the media.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), one of McConnell’s close allies, tweeted last week that Biden’s public comments are largely scripted and he has opted for few sit-down interviews with media outlets.
Cornyn later defended his comments by pointing out he was tweeting an excerpt from a Politico story and said he was not questioning whether Biden’s mental or physical faculties are slipping.
Republicans felt frustrated in general as they search for a break-through message to dent Biden’s 59-percent approval rating.
They also see what they call a double standard between the bruising coverage former President Trump endured during his four years in office compared to what they think is a relatively gentle treatment of Biden during his first 100 days, though they acknowledge Biden has been far less controversial and provocative than Trump was.
Republicans are also skeptical over news outlets reporting during the 2020 campaign that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, something that Biden used on the campaign trail, a bombshell report which the CIA last week acknowledged was doubtful led to any U.S. troop deaths.
The conservative Heritage Foundation, a GOP-allied think tank, last month published a commentary declaring “the media is on Team Biden.”
Updated at 3:34 p.m.
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