On his radio show today, Glenn Beck labeled Obama Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Beck said Sotomayor believes that you need to be the right person in the right class to express the right point of view. The problem is that isn’t what she said. Listen to Beck, and then read the full quote.
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Beck paraphrased Sotomayor and said, “I think she is a racist. I think she decided things based on race. I think she says that a Hispanic woman, with the experience of being a Hispanic woman can make decisions that a white man can’t make. I can’t imagine saying that. That’s like saying Hispanics can’t make money decisions like them Jews.”
Here is what Sotomayor said, “Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O’Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, 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.”
The problem is that Glenn Beck left out the next paragraph of her lecture, “Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.”
By leaving out the second part of her comments, right wing talkers like Beck and Limbaugh have completely distorted her views. She was rejected the idea that white male justices are incapable of handing down fair decisions race and gender cases. In short, whether it is out of ignorance or malice, Glenn Beck is lying.
This is reason number 1,730 why Beck should never be taken seriously as a source of information, but what has been most disappointing is that many others in the media have run with parsed quote, and not bothered to check the facts.