Attorney General Calls for Lawsuit Against Law He Hasn’t Read

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on May 19, 2010

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-Read the excerpt below (posted on May 15th at Newsbusters.org by Tom Blumer).
-Read "Types of Media Bias" in the right column. Then answer the questions.

[Sunday, May 9 on NBC’s Meet the Press, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the federal government is weighing a lawsuit against Arizona’s recently passed illegal immigration law, which is supported by 60% of Arizona voters.

On Thursday, May 13,] …Attorney General Holder…told…the House Judiciary Committee the following about his knowledge of Arizona’s recently passed immigration law-enforcement measure:

…I’ve glanced at it. I have not read it.

…I have not been briefed yet.

… I’ve only made, made the comments that I’ve made on the basis of things that I’ve been able to glean by reading newspaper accounts, obviously, looking at television, talking to people who are on the review panel, on the review team that are looking at the law.

…Holder’s admitted ignorance about a routinely misrepresented law … has received very little establishment media attention.

There is one interesting exception to this at the Washington Post, where Jerry Markon hit Holder pretty hard. Read Markon’s dispatch here.

… [Markon’s Washington Post website article] is datelined 4:11 p.m. on Friday, May 14, just in time to be ignored, and that it seems not to have made it into Friday’s or Saturday’s WaPo print edition.

Elsewhere, it’s slim-to-none pickings:

  • At the Associated Press’s main web site, a search on “Eric Holder Arizona” (not in quotes) returns nothing relevant.
  • The same search at the New York Times returns nothing relevant. The two May 14 items only appear at the top of the paper’s search results because there’s a link to the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling at those web pages. There is also nothing relevant at the Times’s Caucus blog or its Opinionator blog.
  • A Google News Search for May 13-15 on “eric holder arizona immigration law read” (not in quotes; string was necessary to separate Holder’s immigration law comments from other unrelated items) returns 95 items. This is light coverage for an admission such as Holder’s, and the roster of the 95 contains very few establishment press outlets. One prominent exception, as usual, is Fox News. Another notable link is at Investors Business Daily where the paper calls for Holder to resign.

Read the Arizona bill at azleg.gov/alispdfs/council/SB1070-HB2162.PDF.

Read the original post at newsbusters.org.

Questions

1.  What type of bias is the excerpt below an example of?

2.  a) What do you think of the assertion below made by Andy McCarthy at nationalreview.com:
b)  Ask a parent the same question.

Holder Profiles Arizona — Isn’t that really what the Attorney General is doing?

He hasn’t read the Arizona immigration law, even though reading the law is the basic duty of any lawyer (let alone the U.S. Attorney General) who is called on to assess a legal situation.

Thus, he hasn’t got reasonable suspicion that Arizonans are violating the Constitution, even though reasonable suspicion is the basic investigative standard we expect law-enforcement to satisfy before officials harass Americans with stepped up scrutiny.

And we know he has a bias because he told us, unabashedly, that he thinks Americans are “cowards” on matters of race.

Think about it this way: If a police officer, without taking elementary investigative steps to inform himself about the facts of a situation, and thus without reasonable suspicion, simply assumed a person must be guilty of wrongdoing based on the police officer’s avowed prejudice, what would Eric Holder call it?

Watch the video of Attorney General admitting he hasn’t read the law (the first 1:30 minutes):


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
























Answer(s)

1. The excerpt is an example of story selection and omission.  The media has chosen not to report the fact that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has not read a law he says he might file a lawsuit against and that he is basing his knowledge of the law on the news media and what others have told him about it. 

2. a) and b) Opinion questions.  Answers vary.