Media complains about 'buzzsaw of Republicans' attacking AG Merrick Garland after Capitol Hill hearing

Media top headlines October 28

In media news today, a former ESPN reporter tells Tucker Carlson about leaving her job over the company’s vaccine mandate, a CNN reporter attempts to clean up Terry McAuliffe’s education comments, and The Washington Post calls for answers on Wuhan lab research

Corporate media spent much of Wednesday harping on Republicans who criticized Attorney General Merrick Garland for standing by his memo to Department of Justice employees addressing a federal response to reports of violence and intimidation of school board officials.

Garland irked Republicans when he told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday the National School Boards Association’s apology over the letter that inspired his memo would not affect the DOJ’s position when it comes to intervening in threats against school board officials.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)
(Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accused the chief law officer of engaging in political affairs after he failed to do research and issued an “abusive” memo. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., also pressed Garland, while Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, claimed that the DOJ memo had a “poisonous, chilling effect” on speech for parents.

When he appeared before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Garland acknowledged the influence of the NSBA’s original letter, which cited instances including non-violent behavior by frustrated parents that did not include threats, but that was deemed disruptive.

CNN reported “GOP Senators erupt” at Garland, Rolling Stone declared, “Republicans are losing their minds,” and The New York Times went with, “Republicans assail Garland,” in a headline that reported “Republicans berated” the AG in the story’s lead. 

Garland “ran into a buzzsaw of outraged Republicans,” Rollins Stone’s Ryan Bort wrote. 

“The barrage of criticism from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee came one week after Mr. Garland faced similar sharp questions from Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee,” Times reporter Katie Benner wrote. 

Other corporate news organizations took a similar approach. 

“Congressional Republicans have settled on a new political enemy. His name is Attorney General Merrick Garland,” MSNBC’s Steve Benen wrote. 

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, asks a follow-up question to Merrick Garland, U.S. attorney general, as he testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., October 27, 2021. Tom Brenner/Pool via REUTERS
(Tom Brenner/Pool via REUTERS)

“Practically every GOP senator on the panel — Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, et al. — went after the attorney general as if he were a pinata. Missouri’s Josh Hawley and Arkansas’ Tom Cotton went even further, calling on Garland to ‘resign in disgrace,’” Benen continued. “The most obvious problem with the GOP’s hysterics is that this is a silly, made-up controversy.”

ABC News published a headline that said Garland was “under GOP attack” and CNN’s low-rated media pundit Brian Stelter called the hearings a “Garland bash-fest,” criticizing Cruz and Hawley for “scolding” the attorney general. 

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR, questions U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 27, 2021. Tasos Katopodis/Pool via REUTERS
(Tasos Katopodis/Pool via REUTERS)

Mainstream media organizations are regularly criticized for framing negative reports about Democrats as Republicans “weaponizing” or “seizing on” an issue. A common occurrence by liberal reporters is highlighting that “Republicans pounce” on news that would otherwise make a liberal look poorly.  

Those headlines signal Republicans are the “other,” Tim Graham of the conservative Media Research Center told Fox News Digital earlier this year. 

“When Democrats pounce, well, they let the media do the pouncing for them,” he said.

Fox News’ Yael Halon, Ronn Blitzer, David Rutz and Kyle Morris contributed to this report. 

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