Media Reaction to Roe v. Wade’s Overturn

From the Poynter Report with  Tom Jones:

Media reaction to Roe v. Wade’s overturn

The news came as no surprise, but it was nevertheless emotionally overwhelming, incredibly impactful and expectedly divisive.

On Friday, the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, which for nearly 50 years gave women the constitutional protection for abortion.

The Associated Press’ Mark Sherman wrote, “The ruling, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.”

The news sent shockwaves throughout the country. Networks and cable news stations broke into regularly scheduled programming with wall-to-wall coverage.

But, again, even though Sherman was correct when he wrote that this day seemed “unthinkable” just a few years ago, Friday’s blockbuster ruling was expected. At least for the past couple of months. It was on May 2 when Politico’s Josh Gerstein and Alexander Ward had one of the biggest media scoops in recent memory when they obtained an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated inside the court that said Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

Within a day of the Politico story, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed that the leaked memo was authentic. So while we’ve known for several weeks that Friday’s news was coming, it still felt … stunning.

Yet it would appear major media outlets used that time well and were well prepared to cover Friday’s breaking news.

And now, as we wake up on this Monday morning, here’s a look at some of the stories worth your time:

In one of the first surveys following Friday’s decision, a CBS News poll showed that by a more than 20-point margin, Americans called Roe v. Wade being overturned a step back rather than forward for America. And women polled, by more than three to one, think the ruling will make women’s lives worse rather than better. Go to the link for more questions and breakdowns.

So what might some of this mean for the midterm elections? Well, last week — just two days before the court’s expected decision came down — a USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed that even those who opposed striking down Roe v. Wade, by a 59% to 29% tally, said that the economy is more important when they vote in November. Seven in 10 said the Supreme Court’s decision will have no impact on whether they vote in November.

Again, this was before the official ruling. Might that sentiment have changed with the emotions stirred up by the ruling actually going into effect?

Meanwhile, Politico’s Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick write that this is a dicey issue for Republican candidates in battleground states. Ferris and Mutnick write, “Multiple Republicans in tough races this fall — incumbents in districts Joe Biden carried — avoided abortion questions in the hours after the decision. Several others said only that it was an issue for states, not whether they’d support any legislation Democrats might put on the floor.”

They added, “Democrats say that silence, or occasional deflection, is a telling sign that Republicans know abortion rights remain broadly popular with much of the electorate — and that the GOP will soon face the wrath of suburban and purple-district voters. Some Republicans, too, acknowledge that abortion rights polling generally favors the left.”

The headline on a Washington Post story from Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz: “Democrats seize on abortion ruling in midterms as Republicans tread carefully.”

Linskey and Itkowitz write, “Democrats across the country are seizing on the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, with state and federal candidates seeking to turn anger about the decision into support at the ballot box, even as Republicans aim to keep attention on rising prices and crime less than five months before the midterms.”

But South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested the voters have already decided, telling “Fox News Sunday,” “This was won through the ballot box by conservatives, and we’re not gonna let liberals intimidate the rule-of-law system to take it away from us.”

Not buying it…

During an appearance on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Peggy Noonan said the court’s decision removes the topic of abortion from the federal level and returns it to the state level, but added, “I do not see this big decision as a settlement of this question, but I do think it has put forward a legitimate, and to me a desirable democratic settlement and it’ll be turbulent for the next few years.”

But later, she had some of the panel, most notably moderator Chuck Todd, laughing out loud at something she said. The humor was unintentional. The panel included NBC News chief Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell, NBC News senior Capitol Hill correspondent Garrett Haake and Kimberly Atkins Stohr, senior opinion writer for The Boston Globe.

Noonan said, “Look, you know what the Republican Party should do now? It should use this victory, if you see it that way, to change itself and become a party that helps women …”

By this point, the panel was already laughing and talking over Noonan as she continued “… to change its reputation (and) become a party that helps women and children, becomes responsible and supportive.”

Stohr interrupted with “​​We are here because Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell got together and made a litmus test for overturning Roe for Supreme Court nominees. Sandra Day O’Connor did not have that litmus test. David Souter didn’t have it. Anthony Kennedy didn’t have it. That is why we are here — because Republicans from the top set the tone.”

Twitter had a field day with Noonan’s take that was, uh, eyebrow-raising to say the least.

Other notable comments

Of course, Friday’s news was the major focus of the Sunday morning news programs. Among the notable commentary and comments:

Talking about recent GOP-nominated Supreme Court nominees who were asked about Roe v. Wade during their confirmation hearings, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told “Meet the Press”: “They lied. … It sends a blaring signal to all future nominees that they can now lie to duly elected members of the United States Senate in order to secure Supreme Court confirmations.”

South Carolina Republican Gov. Kristi Noem appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and talked about the state’s trigger law that immediately banned abortions and makes performing an abortion a felony. Noem told moderator Martha Raddatz, “I don’t believe women should ever be prosecuted. I don’t believe that mothers in this situation (should) ever be prosecuted. Now doctors who knowingly violate the law — they should be prosecuted.”

Noem said the same thing on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams was asked by host Jake Tapper whether the Senate should sidestep the filibuster to codify Roe v. Wade. Abrams said, “I would support lifting it for Roe v. Wade. I would support lifting it for voting rights. These are constitutional issues. I believe — and I have said this very consistently — that when we are talking about fundamental protections that should be accorded to every citizen in our country, then the filibuster is wrong. And we should suspend the filibuster with regards to voting rights, and we should suspend the filibuster with regards to making certain that we can protect the constitutional right to privacy and the ability of women to make choices for themselves and their bodies.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” “I am horrified … that my daughters will have fewer rights than I’ve had virtually my whole life.”

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