His Dishonor: Mainstream Media Keep Slanting News Reports on Ousted Judge Moore

Barb Wire

I’ve heard of contempt of court, but open contempt for a judge? That’s apparently OK if that judge is Roy Moore.

Like this headline. ” ‘Not going to miss the Ayatollah of Alabama’: State’s chief justice ousted over anti-gay-marriage order,” crows The Los Angeles Times. And that’s just the most blatant of several tactics in several articles meant to manipulate your view of the case.

Moore, the always controversial chief justice of Alabama, was suspended after telling its probate judges not to issue gay marriage licenses even after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized them. That drew fire not only from the usual liberal groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center – which filed the complaint that launched the probe – but also their acolytes in mainstream media.

But before dissecting individual specimens, let’s take a workmanlike example – the Associated Press account, run by CBS News:

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defiance of federal court rulings on same-sex marriage violated judicial ethics, a disciplinary court ruled on Friday before suspending him for the rest of his term.

The punishment effectively removes Moore from office without the nine-member Alabama Court of the Judiciary officially ousting him. Given his age, he will not be able to run for chief justice again under state law.

Moore was found to have encouraged probate judges to deny marriage licenses to gay couples six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that everyone has a fundamental right to marry in all 50 states.

Not that Moore skirts controversy. He’s the same guy who put a stone monument of the Ten Commandments in a court building, then refused to remove it. So the Court of Judiciary – the same panel involved here – tossed him out in 2003. Yet he was re-elected years later.

All of that is in the 400-word AP article, but the Los Angeles Times goes further. Right from the lede, you can tell where things are going:

Roy Moore, the conservative Alabama chief justice who ordered probate judges across the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was ousted from his position Friday after an ethics panel found him guilty of violating the canons of judicial ethics…

Read full article at GetReligion.org


The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Jim Davis
Jim Davis writes for GetReligion.org, scrutinizing religion coverage in mainstream media. He also runs the Faith and Values page on Facebook, and freelances as a writer and photographer with The Florida Catholic newspaper. He worked for more than three decades as the religion editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, covering national as well as local events and issues. His other projects have included copy editing and writing for a Christian web designer, editing educational white papers for the University of Florida, and publicizing Jewish studies at Florida International University.

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