Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation: CNN, NYT echo White House talking point accusing GOP of 'QAnon-signaling'

Ted Cruz discusses Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ‘disturbing’ rulings

Senate Judiciary Committee member Ted Cruz joins ‘Hannity’ with reaction.

Members of the legacy media appear to be on the same page as the White House regarding the line of attack toward GOP lawmakers during the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

Ahead of this week’s confirmation, Republicans, led by Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, have been scrutinizing Jackson’s record on sentencing child pornography cases as the Biden nominee is being accused of going “soft” on such heinous crimes. That sparked an avalanche of media “fact-checks” accusing Hawley of being “misleading” and “unfair” with his accusations. 

But the criticism toward Hawley and his GOP colleagues have shifted as Jackson’s hearing was underway.

“Hawley’s embarrassing, QAnon-signaling smear has been fact checked by: @washingtonpost , @nytimes , @AP , @CNN , @ABC , and @NRO,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates tweeted Tuesday, linking to several articles. 

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Michael A McCoy

The “QAnon” jab toward Republicans, referring to the ultra-fringe group of right-wing conspiracy theorists, was reverberated throughout the media. 

“This is about appealing to the QAnon audience, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told anchor Wolf Blitzer. “This cult that is a big presence in Republican Party politics now that is where Sen. Hawley is trying to ingratiate himself with that group and run for president with their support. This has very little to do with Judge Jackson.”

CNN correspondent Abby Phillip said Toobin was “absolutely right,” saying Hawley’s line of question is “definitely a dog whistle to the kind of QAnon right.”

Toobin appeared on-air at least three separate times pushing the same talking point, according to transcripts.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman used a similar framing to attack Hawley in a piece slamming Republicans for their “bad-faith attacks” on Jackson.

“Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), in an apparent attempt to secure the QAnon vote when he runs for president, tore a few sentences in previous rulings and writings out of context to make the repulsive accusation that she is ‘soft’ on child porn,” Waldman wrote. 

The New York Times published a piece alleging Republicans were playing to the “base and fringe.”

“Republicans contended that the nominee had been especially lenient on purveyors of child sexual abuse imagery, a claim that spoke to a fixation of those wedded to the QAnon conspiracy theory,” the Times wrote.

Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Washington. 
((AP Photo/Evan Vucci))

MSNBC host Joy Reid blasted the senator, tweeting, “What @HawleyMO is doing right now is a direct shout out to Qanon & the right wing fanatics who want to ban Toni Morrison books & books by LGBTQ authors. He wants to smear Judge #KetanjiBrownJackson as soft on child pornography bc that’s the Q narrative Republicans are running on.”

Vox correspondent Ian Millhiser accused Hawley on Monday of invoking “QAnon Libel” against the Supreme Court nominee. 

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