It’s been a confusing news cycle this week, with conflicting slants leaving people more confused than informed. Let’s take a look at two big stories — the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling and the Philadelphia Eagles White House visit — which were riddled with inconsistencies across the aisle.
The Story: The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Christian baker Jack Phillips who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
The Claim: The ruling was “narrow” to some and an “overwhelming” win to others.
Verdict: Both True
How?: Mr. Phillips asked the Court to find that he was within his First Amendment rights to turn away the gay couple in question, as their wedding ceremony conflicted with his religious beliefs. While the justices ruled in his favor, it was on narrow grounds, as the majority opinion did not sanction the right to discriminate. Instead, they found that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission displayed a public bias towards Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs in his initial hearing. The ruling was 7-2 — an “overwhelming” majority vote by Supreme Court standards.
From the Left:
Several left-leaning publications emphasized the narrow grounds on which the ruling was made, arguing that the decision is somewhat of a win for equal rights and the LGBT community.
“If you need to know anything about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the baker who refused to make a same-sex wedding cake, it’s this: It could have been much worse.”
“What this means, in short, is that the Supreme Court has punted on the broader issues involved, narrowing its ruling to the specific circumstances of this individual case, and that what it said should not be interpreted as giving other businesses carte blanche to do what Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, did.”
From the Right:
Although many on the Right acknowledged that the ruling does not bring complete clarity to issues surrounding free speech and religious freedom, the decision was generally celebrated as a success.
“The word of the day, according to the media, is ‘narrow.’ Describing the Supreme Court’s 7–2 holding that the state of Colorado violated baker Jack Phillips’s right to free exercise of religion by ruling that he violated the state’s public-accommodation law when he refused to bake a custom cake for a gay wedding, the New York Times said that the majority ‘relied on narrow grounds.’ CNN legal analyst Steve Vladeck called the decision ‘remarkably narrow.’ NPR’s Nina Totenberg wrote a story headlined, ‘In Narrow Decision, Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of Baker Over Same-Sex Couple.’
While we believe that the court should have issued a broader ruling, one holding that baking a custom wedding cake is protected expression under the free-speech clause of the First Amendment, its actual ruling is significant. It can potentially shift the language surrounding America’s religious-liberty debate and increase the cost of state favoritism and double standards. In other words, it isn’t nearly as ‘narrow’ as legal progressives would have you believe.”
The Story: After several players withdrew, President Trump canceled a White House visit with the Philadelphia Eagles, citing differences over National Anthem protests.
The Claim: The Eagles have kneeled during the National Anthem in protest over the course of the past season.
Some Background: Fox News published a photo of Eagles players kneeling, incorrectly stating that they were protesting. They were praying. However, several teammates have expressed disagreement with the NFL’s recent decision which will now forbid kneeling during the anthem.
From the Left:
Left-leaning editorials generally said President Trump’s decision to disinvite the team was unfair at best and tyrannical at worst. Some also said that it was dishonest to claim that the cancellation was tied to anthem protests, with some positing that it had more to do with crowd size.
“Make no mistake about what Trump is doing here: He is appointing himself the arbiter of what patriotism is and means to the 300+ million citizens of the United States. Patriotism is standing for the National Anthem before NFL football games. If you don't stand, you are -- by Trump's thinking via the statement above -- dishonoring not only the "great men and women of our military" but also the ‘people of our country.’”
New York Magazine
"President Trump ratcheted up his feud with the NFL on Monday night, announcing that Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles are no longer invited to the White House because many players were skipping the event in protest.
While Trump is convinced that the battle over NFL players protesting during the national anthem is a winning issue for him, it appears he was also trying to avoid personal embarrassment. The New York Times reported that fewer than ten members of the team were planning to attend Tuesday’s celebration, which would usually include dozens of players and coaches."
From the Right:
Some Right-leaning publications placed the blame on the players, as many expressed they would not attend the event prior to its cancellation.
“And the criticism doesn't just come from liberal commentators. National Review's Jonah Goldberg tweeted that the attempt to tie the cancellation to the national anthem 'is just a complete act of deceitful propaganda and conservatives should have zero to do with it.'
But not all the fault lies with the White House. The visit was in trouble from the start.
Right after winning the Super Bowl, three Eagles—Torrey Smith, Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long—said they had no intention of making the trip, according to Sports Illustrated. And ESPN reports that most if not all of Philly's black players had decided to skip the visit.”