A story published by NPR on Tuesday went viral within liberal media circles, which alleged that Gorsuch refused to wear a mask while on the bench next to Sotomayor, who has diabetes and makes her vulnerable to COVID, despite having been asked by Roberts.
“现在, 虽然, the situation had changed with the omicron surge, and according to court sources, Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked,” NPR’s chief legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg wrote. “首席大法官约翰·罗伯茨, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up. They all did. Except Gorsuch, WHO, as it happens, sits next to Sotomayor on the bench. His continued refusal since then has also meant that Sotomayor has not attended the justices’ weekly conference in person, joining instead by telephone.”
福克斯新闻’ Shannon Bream reported Tuesday on “特别报道” that NPR’s reporting was “not accurate,” according to a source, saying there was never a request by Roberts for everyone to wear masks, Sotomayor never made such a request to Gorsuch and Gorsuch never refused to wear a mask.
在星期三, Gorsuch and Sotomayor issued an unprecedented joint statement declaring the NPR’s story “错误的。”
“Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false. While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends,” 声明读.
That did not satisfy liberals in the media, who continued to defend NPR’s report.
“That’s not what the reporting said, 虽然. It said that Chief Justice Roberts asked him,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow reacted.
“But… the report was that Roberts asked him to wear a mask, not Sotomayor. So… I don’t get this statement,” The Nation correspondent Elie Mystal similarly tweeted. “Is this another fake comma gaslighting from Team Gorsuch thing?”
“I invite anyone here to put their sources up against Nina Totenberg’s,” New York Magazine senior correspondent Irin Carmon challenged NPR’s critics.
NPR reporter David Gura went even futher, suggesting Gorsuch and Sotomayor were lying, 写作, “I surprised at how many Supreme Court correspondents I admire are passing along a statement from two justices that is at best false without any context whatsoever.”
NPR similarly defended its report, 告诉福克斯新闻, “NPR stands by Nina Totenberg’s reporting. Totenberg never reported that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask, or did she report that anyone admonished him.”
The statement was made before the chief justice weighed in.
“I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench,” 罗伯茨说.
Some of NPR’s defenders continued to back the botched report even after Roberts’ 声明. The Nation’s Mystal, 例如, said critics are “certainly free to believe the Chief Justice over the reporter on this.”
Responding to Roberts’ 声明, NPR told Fox News, “We stand by her reporting,” indicating Totenberg will have “another story coming out” imminently.
Totenberg doubled down on her reporting, writing in a follow-up article, “What is incontrovertible is that all the justices have at once started wearing masks—except Gorsuch. 与此同时, Justice Sotomayor has stayed out of the courtroom. 代替, she has participated remotely in the court’s arguments and the justices’ weekly conference, where they discuss the cases and vote on them.”
福克斯新闻’ Brian Flood contributed to this story.