Taxpayer-Funded Trash: SCOTUS Drops Nuke on Fabricated NPR Story About Justices' Mask Fight


NPR reported a shocking story Tuesday about infighting among U.S. Supreme Court justices.

According to the report, Justice Neil Gorsuch refused to wear a mask despite being asked to do so for Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

NPR Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg, citing “court sources,” said that Sotomayor “did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked” because she is diabetic.

“Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form or other asked the other justices to mask up,” Totenberg reported. “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.”

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To many on the left, the story was a rallying cry.

It showed that the deplorable right-wing “anti-maskers” can be found even in the highest levels of government.

Unfortunately for those members of the left, this whole story was nothing more than a media fabrication.

A statement attributed to Sotomayor and Gorsuch disputed that the two had come into conflict over the latter’s purported refusal to wear a mask.

“Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us,” read the statement issued Wednesday morning.

“It is false. While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends.”

Some pointed out on social media that Totenberg’s report had said it was Roberts, not Sotomayor, who had made the mask request.

The chief justice then issued a statement Wednesday afternoon indicating that was false.

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“I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench,” Roberts said, definitively debunking the NPR report.

The initial story appeared to paint Gorsuch as uncharitable and uncaring, accusations that many on the COVID-crazed left have levied against their conservative peers.

It should come as no surprise that NPR would push a left-wing narrative of this sort.

Despite claiming to be nonpartisan, the organization has a long history of heavily favoring the left.

Back in July, the partially publicly funded outlet put out a story claiming the success of conservative news outlets — namely, The Daily Wire, TheBlaze, Breitbart and The Western Journal — can be attributed to questionable journalistic practices.

Do you trust NPR?

However, The Western Journal’s fact check of that claim found that NPR is guilty of many of its own criticisms — omitting important context in stories, forwarding false claims and failing to communicate its political bias.

According to a former CEO of NPR, its coverage leans very heavily toward the political left.

“Most reporters and editors are liberal — a now-dated Pew Research Center poll found that liberals outnumber conservatives in the media by some 5 to 1, and that comports with my own anecdotal experience at National Public Radio,” Ken Stern wrote in a 2017 Op-Ed for the New York Post.

“When you are liberal, and everyone else around you is as well, it is easy to fall into groupthink on what stories are important, what sources are legitimate and what the narrative of the day will be,” he wrote.

Speaking with The Western Journal, Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing compared the two outlets.

“The difference between The Daily Wire and NPR is that we’re transparent about our biases and we don’t depend on the public dole,” Boreing said. “Their bulls*** hit piece against us was intellectually shoddy and riddled with inaccuracies, but hey, at least I get to pay for their insults with my tax money.”

If nothing else, this most recent NPR story on the Supreme Court lends further credence to the notion that you can’t trust the establishment media.

They’re not just reporting on facts — they’re pushing a political narrative.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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