I discussed here how a last-minute push to confirm Chai Feldblum to another terms as EEOC commissioner failed. The failure cannot be blamed on Fox News’ David Spunt, a new hire at the news network.
Spunt’s report on the controversy over Feldblum might as well have been written by the nominee herself. It begins by stating that Feldblum has bipartisan support and was even nominated by President Trump.
This is misleading. Feldblum was part of a slate of nominees that had bipartisan support. President Trump nominated the members of the slate, but Feldblum, as the one Democratic nominee, was picked by Senator Schumer.
Feldblum did not command Republican support in her own right. Indeed, Republicans blocked her when she was nominated previously, and it’s doubtful she would have been confirmed had not Harry Reid changed the rules to enable confirmation with a simple majority. Republicans backed the slate she was part of because it contained two Republicans and one Democrat, and because Majority Leader McConnell had agreed to it in a handshake deal.
Spunt also says that Feldblum defended religious liberty in 2009. He supports this claim with a video of Feldblum saying she believes in religious freedom.
The statement sounds good, but it’s just talk, not a defense. Spunt doesn’t point to any instance in which Feldblum supported religious freedom in a meaningful way — e.g., when it clashed with any conflicting interests or leftist agenda item. The fact is that Feldblum’s EEOC took positions that run roughshod over religious liberty.
Spunt concludes by citing an email Feldblum sent him in which the nominee says her father, an Orthodox rabbi, would lament the fact that his daughter’s nomination is being blocked. I’m sure he would, but that’s not an argument for confirming her. Parents always want to see their offspring succeed, and one can come from a religious family and still have little respect for religious freedom.
Fox News’ standards have dipped when it serves up an interested party’s irrelevant talking point designed to pull at the heartstrings. An email from someone whose religious liberty has been curtailed by the Feldblum EEOC would have been more probative.
Fortunately, Shannon Bream, excellent as usual, followed Spunt’s report by interviewing Tony Perkins, a vigorous opponent of Feldblum’s nomination. Perkins cancelled out Spunt. But Fox News shouldn’t have to call on a conservative to cancel out the supposedly fair and balanced reporting of its own correspondent.