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Eric Boehlert Headshot

Strange Times

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Not to pile on the New York Times today, but the paper continues to produce some head-scratching journalism. Just look at this morning's article about Bush fending off criticism of his Supreme Court pick, Harriet Miers. Here's the lead:

"President Bush on Tuesday defended his latest choice for the Supreme Court, Harriet E. Miers, from complaints on the right that she was not conservative enough and from accusations on the left that she was a White House crony unqualified for the job." [Emphasis added.]

First of all, the article does not quote a single person on the left complaining that Miers is unqualified for the lofty legal position. No doubt such liberal representatives exist; the Times simply fails to quote any of them, which is strange since the very first sentence suggest the article will be filled with such quotes. More telling though is the fact that it's overwhelmingly conservatives—not liberals--who are complaining Miers' resume is way too thin. Here's a public sampling.

National Review's Rich Lowery: "Watching Bush strain to pump up her accomplishments was cringe-making."

The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol: " Harriet Miers has an impressive record as a corporate attorney and Bush administration official. She has no constitutionalist credentials that I know of."

National Review Online's Jonah Goldberg: "She's never been a judge, never written seriously on constitutional issues, never been a litigator on such issues etc, etc."

The Washington Post's George Will: "There is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks."

New York Post's John Podhoretz: "Without the patronage of George W. Bush, Harriet Miers is nothing more than a fairly obscure lawyer from Texas who served as president of a relatively minor law firm and served in state government on a lottery commission for five years."

None of those quotes are included in the Times article, which reports Bush is getting hit from both sides. Truth is, right now roughly 70 percent of the punches are coming from the right, which is in open rebellion. And there's no question that angry conservatives are driving the debate about Miers' lack of qualifications. So why does the Times suggest it's otherwise?