Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Press-Court Disconnect

‘Dysfunctional Marriage’

“The media will always need to cover the goings on of the highest court in the land in order to fully report on the richest and most socially significant of the issues of our time. The court will always need the media to write about their opinions in order to convey to their wider and ultimate audience both the immediate substance of their newest opinions and the larger message [supporting] our constitutional democracy. . . .

“Both parties are sure that the relationship is damaged. And each is sure that it is primarily, if not exclusively, the other party’s fault. Neither is willing to acknowledge any personal accountability or responsibility for the difficulties and neither is willing to budge from their longstanding positions that contribute to the dysfunction.

“In thinking of this as a marriage between the Supreme Court and the press, they’re both sort of shouting, ‘Look, the kids are miserable!’ and pointing at the wider citizenry that sort of watches and suffers as the tug of war between them plays out. But each is saying ‘it’s all because of you.’

“In a recent poll, fewer than a quarter of Americans knew how many justices there are on the Supreme Court. There are nine. Although 77 percent of American adults can identify two of the seven dwarfs, only 24 percent can name two Supreme Court justices.”

—RonNell Andersen Jones, constitutional law professor
and former newspaper journalist,
The Blame Game: The People, the Press and the U.S. Supreme Court,”
Morris Media & Society Lecture, Utah State University,

April 14, 2011

Related: See Jay Leno’s scary on-the-street survey of public knowledge on the Supreme Court.

Editorial Comment: Lemme think. Dopey. Stoopid. Doc. Bonehead....

Recommended: Media professionals discuss career flexibility in panel:Moving On: (Re)Inventing Your Media Career.”

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  1. Supreme Court Justices? Let’s see—that would be Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Clarence, Bashful, Elena, Happy, Snoopy, and Anthony. And now the Seven Dwarfs. Let’s see—that would be Angelina, Brad, Jennifer, Sonia, Happy, Rush, and Grumpy. Do I need more and better information about the Supreme Court? Let me count the ways.

    Best regards from Kentucky,


  2. Dopey's smarter than Clarence. More ethical, too.

    Ted sez: Talks more, too....

  3. I laughed aloud, but somehow I feel worse. (And you forgot "Cretin"

  4. Edward,

    More importantly, Grumpy.


    Ted sez: No kidding.