The Atlantic: Sotomayor Smears Started In OC

In October's Atlantic Monthly, media writer Mark Bowden casts his eye at the coverage of the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination and finds himself the Deep Throat of “Wise Latina” quotes. Where did this Deep Throat come from? Here, of course.

Try and remember back to the fight before the health care fight. On the day that Barack Obama nominated Sotomayor in May 2009, it didn't take long for all the TV networks to being publicizing two things about the judge: a clip from a law school speech in which she said that courts make law, and this quote — “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.”

Those two nuggets from Sotomayor's life had been dug up by a Morgen Richmond, an Orange County-based conservative blogger, Bowden writes. Richmond publishes with a few local friends. After the jump, an excerpt from Bowden's article.


Richmond began his reporting by looking at university Web sites. He
had learned that many harbor little-seen recordings and transcripts of
speeches made by public figures, since schools regularly sponsor
lectures and panel discussions with prominent citizens, such as federal
judges. Many of the events are informal and unscripted, and can afford
glimpses of public figures talking unguardedly about their ideas, their
life, and their convictions. Many are recorded and archived. Using
Google, Richmond quickly found a list of such appearances by Sotomayor,
and the first one he clicked on was the video of the 2005 panel
discussion at Duke University Law School. Sotomayor and two other
judges, along with two Duke faculty members, sat behind a table before
a classroom filled with students interested in applying for judicial
clerkships. The video is 51 minutes long and is far from riveting.
About 40 minutes into it, Richmond says, he was only half listening,
multitasking on his home computer, when laughter from the sound track
caught his ear. He rolled back the video and heard Sotomayor utter the
line about making policy, and then jokingly disavow the expression.

Bowden uses Richmond to make a diagnosis about the state of the media: original, unbiased enterprised reporting has been largely replaced by the work of activists with agendas. Read the entire thing here.

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