REPORT: On Supreme Court, cable news turns to Republicans for comment

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS, ELBERT VENTURA, ROB SAVILLO, LAUREN AUERBACH, TOM ALLISON & CHRISTINE SCHWEN

A Media Matters analysis found that in the week following Justice David Souter's retirement announcement, significantly more Republican members of Congress, especially on Fox News, participated in daytime cable news discussions about or touching on the Supreme Court than did Democratic members of Congress and Obama administration officials.

A Media Matters for America analysis of daytime cable news shows in the week following Justice David Souter's May 1 retirement announcement found that significantly more Republican members of Congress, especially on Fox News, participated in discussions about or touching on the Supreme Court than did Democratic members of Congress and Obama administration officials.

During daytime programming (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET) on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC last week from May 4 to May 8, nine Republican members of Congress made guest appearances in segments during which the Supreme Court was either discussed or mentioned. By contrast, only two Democratic members of Congress -- and no members of the Obama administration -- appeared as guests in such segments over that time period.

Fox News had the most imbalanced breakdown of guests, with five Republicans and no Democrats in discussions involving the Supreme Court. MSNBC had three Republicans and two Democrats, while CNN had one Republican and no Democrats.

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As Media Matters has noted, media coverage of the Supreme Court in the wake of Souter's announcement has been marked by falsehoods and misinformation.

Below is a list of all the daytime cable programming segments from May 4 to May 8 that featured members of Congress or administration officials as guests and during which the Supreme Court was either discussed or mentioned:

Date

Time (ET)

Network

Program

Guest

Position/Organization

5/4/2009

1 p.m.

MSNBC

MSNBC Live

Gregg, Judd

Senator, New Hampshire [R]

5/4/2009

1 p.m.

FNC

The Live Desk

Graham, Lindsey

Senator, South Carolina [R]

5/5/2009

3 p.m.

MSNBC

MSNBC Live

Grassley, Chuck

Senator, Iowa [R]

5/6/2009

1 p.m.

MSNBC

MSNBC Live

Reid, Harry

Senator, Nevada [D]

5/6/2009

1 p.m.

MSNBC

MSNBC Live

Collins, Susan

Senator, Maine [R]

5/6/2009

4 p.m.

FNC

Your World with Neil Cavuto

Sessions, Jeff

Senator, Alabama [R]

5/7/2009

9 a.m.

FNC

America's Newsroom

Hatch, Orrin

Senator, Utah [R]

5/7/2009

12 p.m.

FNC

Happening Now

Sessions, Jeff

Senator, Alabama [R]

5/7/2009

1 p.m.

FNC

The Live Desk

Cornyn, John

Senator, Texas [R]

5/7/2009

3 p.m.

MSNBC

MSNBC Live

Cardin, Ben

Senator, Maryland [D]

5/8/2009

10 a.m.

CNN

CNN Newsroom

Hatch, Orrin

Senator, Utah [R]

Methodology

Media Matters coded every guest appearance by members of Congress and administration officials in cable news discussions about or touching on the Supreme Court. We coded all programming from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, May 4 to May 8, on CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC. Fox News Channel and MSNBC shows were reviewed on digital video. CNN shows were reviewed via transcripts available on CNN's website and Nexis. Only guest discussion segments in which the Supreme Court was discussed or touched upon were included. Packaged reports, news clips, and news events in progress (press conferences, breaking news reports, etc.) were not coded.

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