Politics of Fear: The Media Campaign to Terrify Americans over the Next SCOTUS Justice

‘An issue of life or death,’ ‘Clean air and water is at stake,’ ‘All human and civil rights are at stake’
By Grabien Staff

Americans who care about their basic civil liberties, clean air and water, and indeed life on planet Earth as we know it, should be terrified, the media has frantically warned over the last two weeks, as President Trump will soon be picking a nominee for the Supreme Court.

In the moments after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be retiring from America’s highest court two weeks ago, the media went into hyperbole overdrive, issuing one dire warning after another.

MSNBC's Ali Velshi narrated a segment listing various things gay Americans will likely lose under the new court. "If I were involved in a same-sex marriage" in a conservative state, Velshi said, "I'd be panicking." 


MSNBC analyst Midwin Charles said that with the exception of "straight, white males," everyone should be "freaking out" about the next Supreme Court justice.

An editor at the Daily Beast, Erin Gloria Ryan, said that if Trump were to pick a woman for the job, she should be known as the villain in "A Handmaid's Tale" due to her anticipated antipathy to preserving federal abortion guarantees. Another CNN guest, Neal Katyal, said the next justice could take the Court "in a really dangerous direction."


MSNBC's Rachel Maddow cautioned that birth control could soon become illegal and told viewers that this is a "pull the fire alarm moment."

MSNBC contributor Al Sharpton cryptically cautioned: "All human and civil rights are at stake."

CNN contributor and adviser, Karine Jean-Pierre, said the rights of workers, women, gays and transgenders "could be gone."


"Everything is at stake when you’re looking at the SCOTUS pick, everything that we worked for for decades is on stake, abortion, working — worker’s rights, everything, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ rights, everything that we have worked so hard for now could be gone," Jean Pierre warned.


CNN's Baraki Sellers said the damage won't just be over the short-term, but will last "for generations to come."


Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor, Jennifer Rubin, predicted the post-Kennedy Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, which will lead to "50 civil wars" as the states all decide for themselves what their abortion laws should be. 

Another MSNBC guest, Dorothy Roberts, took things even further. Once states ban abortion, women will likely be arrested for having miscarriages and stillbirths:


"There is already criminalization of pregnant women for harming a fetus. This began in the late 1980’s, early 1990’s, when black women primarily were being prosecuted for drug use during pregnancy. Women were thrown in jail right after giving birth, and that has exacerbated recently with states passing fetal protection laws, and prosecutors already pitting women in jail for stillbirths, for miscarriages and for botched apportions. So already women have been imprisoned for harming a fetus. And abortion is — it’s a very thin line between putting a woman in prison for a stillbirth or a miscarriage that she’s blamed for, for something she did during her pregnancy, and criminalizing abortions."  


Democratic lawmakers also frequented the airwaves to issue apocalyptic warnings.


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told MSNBC that Trump is "literally trying to punish women" with his forthcoming Supreme Court nominee. "It's an issue of life or death," she added emphatically. And in a separate rally, Gillibrand said this nominee will determine "whether we are going to criminalize women, whether we are going to be arresting women for making decisions about their bodies."


"This is not a fire drill," she exhorted. "This is not a hypothetical case.”


At the same rally, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said "some of the precious ideals of our country" could be lost after Kennedy's replacement takes the court. 


Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-Calif.) said Trump's Supreme Court legacy will "turn back the clock a hundred years. It’s creating an era of disenfranchisement."


Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) predicted presidential abuses of authority will become greater: "What’s at stake are [Americans'] constitutional rights, the protection against the abuses of power by the president, by Congress, by corporate America and reversing the long-standing precedents of the Supreme Court.”


California Attorney General Kamala Harris said the next SCOTUS justice will likely mean "the destruction of the Constitution." 


Sen. Blumenthal (D-Conn.) suggested that virtually all life on Earth is threatened: "The first point is to take it to the American people to show them what’s at stake, to mobilize them and say to them your health care rights and protection against precondition existing abuses is at stake, clean air and water that you use and breathe is at stake, the future of your rights to reproduction decisions is at stake and also to our colleagues. "


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