We have previously compared the fierce competition between Supreme Court correspondents Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times, and Jan Crawford Greenburg, of the Chicago Tribune, to the rivalry between Margo Channing (Bette Davis) and Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) in All About Eve.
For decades, Linda Greenhouse has ruled the reportorial roost at the Supreme Court — just as Margo Channing reigned over the New York stage. But just as Channing came to be challenged by a young and attractive newcomer, Eve Harrington, Greenhouse now faces tough competition from Jan Crawford Greenburg.
Perhaps this comparison, much as we love it, must stop here. We don’t want to spoil All About Eve for those of you who haven’t seen it. But let’s just say that Margo doesn’t put up much of a fight when Eve moves into her turf.
Linda Greenhouse, in contrast, is NOT going gentle into that good night. She will NOT pass her tiara graciously to Jan Crawford Greenburg, like a Miss America ending her reign. Greenhouse has no intention of allowing Greenburg to ascend to the post of America’s Next Top Supreme Court Reporter — at least not without a (cat)fight.
How do we know this? Just read between the lines of this “Reporter’s Notebook” item by Greenhouse. It’s snarkily entitled “Alarmism in the Blogosphere” — “blogsophere” being synonymous with “unreliable and dubious rumor-mongering” — and in it, Linda G. goes out of her way to embarrass and even humiliate her younger colleague:
Jan Crawford Greenburg, an ABC News correspondent who covers the court, posted a startling item last week on her blog, Legalities. Under the heading “Faith and Frailty,” she wrote that the “real drama” of an argument concerning the Bush administration’s religion-based initiative came when the argument ended.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s delay in getting to her feet and leaving the bench, Ms. Greenburg wrote, seemed a sign of possible ill health and “made me think I’d better start pulling those possible retirement files together.”
The alarming item quickly made its way around the blogosphere, puzzling court insiders who know that Justice Ginsburg, 73, is in fine health and keeps to a schedule that would exhaust most people who are decades younger….
The explanation is, quite literally, pedestrian. According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg had kicked off her shoes during the argument and could not find one of them.
OUCH. Jan Crawford Greenburg did some phenomenal reporting work for her fantastic new book on the Court, Supreme Conflict. But in a single breezy, casually tossed-off “Reporter’s Notebook” item, Greenhouse makes Greenburg look like a rank amateur.
We conduct a close reading of Greenhouse’s column, after the jump.
Okay. Let’s parse the specific language used by Greenhouse in her write-up:
“a startling item” = “sensationalized and tawdry”
“[t]he alarming item” = “JCG is the National Enquirer of One First Street”
“quickly made its way around the blogosphere” = “I can’t believe she got link love from Drudge for this crap. Actually, maybe I can.”
“puzzling court insiders” = “Just ’cause JCG scored a few good interviews for that book of hers doesn’t make her a TRUE ‘court insider’ — like MOI.”
“According to her chambers, Justice Ginsburg…” = “I still have the best access to the justices, especially those on the liberal wing of the Court. And I’m not ceding my turf to same Jan-ny Come Lately!”
Linda’s implicit message to Jan can be summed up as follows: “You can speculate all you want in that pretty little head of yours. But THIS is what we call reporting, dearie. Try it sometime — you might like it.”
Reporter’s Notebook: Alarmism in the Blogosphere [New York Times]
Faith & frailty [Legalities]
Earlier: All About… Jan?