How Media Outlets on the Left and Right Covered the Trump Immunity Decision


Liberal and conservative media outlets alike on Monday gave top billing to the news that the Supreme Court granted former President Donald J. Trump significant immunity from prosecution.

But the similarities stopped there.

Liberal outlets criticized the ruling as a biased move from a conservative Supreme Court. They said it only heightened the stakes for November’s general election, since the decision complicates the criminal case that accuses Mr. Trump of trying to overturn the last election.

Many conservative outlets offered a relatively straightforward assessment of the decision, which left to lower courts to decide which aspects of Mr. Trump’s conduct were protected from prosecution. But several conservative commentators nonetheless celebrated the 6-3 decision and admonished Democrats who opposed it.

Here’s how a selection of outlets covered the news:

The court’s ruling found Mr. Trump was immune from being prosecuted for “official” acts during his presidency, but said he was not immune from being prosecuted for “unofficial” conduct.

Such broad immunity was needed to maintain “an energetic, independent executive,” according to the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. The ruling also said a district court would have to decide what entailed official and unofficial conduct, including Mr. Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021. That process would likely delay any trial of Mr. Trump until after November’s election.

“This could not be worse for our democracy,” said Ben Meiselas, a co-founder of MeidasTouch, a liberal media network. Mr. Meiselas said the court’s dissent, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, was “about as grim, as dark, and as frankly terrifying” as any dissent “in the history of the Supreme Court.”

Ron Filipkowski, a lawyer and the news site’s editor in chief, argued in a legal analysis that the ruling was a blow to checks on executive power more broadly. But he also said the ruling made November’s election even more important.

“The stakes in this election just went up even higher than they were yesterday,” Mr. Filipkowski wrote.

Salon, a liberal news and opinion site, published an article that also highlighted Justice Sotomayor’s dissent. She said the decision made a “mockery” of the constitutional principle that no man is above the law.

“The outcome is of course a boost to Trump, but the court even taking up the case was itself a tremendous help to the Trump campaign,” wrote Griffin Eckstein, a fellow for the publication.

In another article Monday, Tatyana Tandanpolie, a staff writer, interviewed legal experts who were critical of the ruling, including one who suggested the court may have “legalized murder by one individual.”

The Gateway Pundit, a far-right website that has often spread misinformation and conspiracy theories, celebrated Monday’s ruling as a victory for Mr. Trump and for American democracy.

The ruling was “not just a personal victory” for Mr. Trump, wrote Jim Hoft, the site’s founder, but a “reinforcement of the constitutional framework designed by the Founding Fathers.”

In another article, Cristina Laila, an associate editor at Gateway Pundit, highlighted what she characterized as an “unhinged” statement from the Biden administration, which she described as “desperate.”

Townhall, a conservative news and opinion website, mocked numerous liberal complaints about the ruling.

One article ran with the headline “Liberal America’s Reaction to the Trump Immunity Decision Was Unhinged As Usual.” In it, Matt Vespa, a senior editor for the site, said the ruling had “liberals wondering if Biden could kill Trump,” referring to Justice Sotomayor’s dissent and subsequent social media posts that asked whether presidents could now be prosecuted for any crime.

In another piece, Katie Pavlich, the site’s editor, highlighted a comment from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who said on X that the ruling “represents an assault on American democracy.”

“Members of the swamp and enablers of tyrannical government overreach aren’t handling the fallout very well,” Ms. Pavlich wrote.



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Kim browne

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