Earlier this afternoon on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell insisted that the now-infamous Ricci case is an affirmative action case despite the fact that it is nothing of the sort. Watch:
Emphasis mine. “The Ricci case will forever be known as an affirmative action case. She’s trying to describe it narrowly, according to the law. But the way it has been interpreted–not legally, but politically–it’s an affirmative action case, and she’s being tagged with it.”
“Narrowly, according to the law” is a strange way of saying “accurately.” But in a way this exchange epitomizes a common critique of political media. That there’s a factual history of the Ricci case never mattered. Sonia Sotomayor’s political critics characterized it as an affirmative action case, and characterized her as somebody smacks down affirmative action challenges because she is a minority. And to the extent that the charges stuck, it was in no small part because people like Andrea Mitchell–people who could have done quite a bit to set the record straight–let that inaccurate characterization stand.