Politico editor slams journo for not reporting RBG’s ill health and helping save Roe V. Wade

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Senior Political Editor Michael Schaffer called NPR reporter Nina Totenberg‘s new book, which describes her friendship with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and other DC insiders as “embarrassing.”

In his Friday Politico Magazine review of Dinners With Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships, Schaffer panned the book because it revealed that Totenberg knew how ill Ginsburg was before her death but kept it hidden.

His headline for the piece claimed, “Nina Totenberg had a beautiful friendship with RBG. Her book about it is an embarrassment.”

He lamented the fact that Totenberg failed to warn the world, writing, “But there is a chance that a blunted story about Ginsburg’s decline may have changed the trajectory that led to the end of Americans’ right to abortion.”

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In this Nov. 30, 2018, file photo, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sits with other Supreme Court justices for a group portrait at the Supreme Court building in Washington.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this Nov. 30, 2018, file photo, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sits with other Supreme Court justices for a group portrait at the Supreme Court building in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

His other major criticism of the work was how it depicted her friendships with isolated and “powerful people” and that it “slams” the elites that liberals find corrupt. For example, Schaffer pointed out how Totenberg’s work spoke fondly of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who attended her dinner parties.

Schaffer claimed that it became “increasingly unpleasant to read through such accounts.”

His review began by pleading with Totenberg to know that Ginsburg was dying, but kept it private and thus did not alert the public to the presumed political disaster that would follow her death.

He said: “It was 2020, an election was coming up, and RBG was dying. During the lockdown, we learn in the book, Totenberg’s home was the only place Ginsburg went other than her own apartment. Their weekly Saturday dinners made Totenberg to one of the few Americans to look at justice during the months of isolation.”

He quoted Totenberg, who realized the end was near, writing, “But as the months went by, it became clear that this disease was not just lung cancer. It was a return of the old pancreatic cancer.”

Schaffer asked, “What if Totenberg had gone on the air to disclose what she knew?”

And he claimed, “But there is a chance that a blunt story about Ginsburg‘s decline could have changed the trajectory that led to the end of Americans’ abortion rights. With rival sensational stories focusing on Ginsburg’s health, activists might have gotten GOP senators… on the record vowing not to fill the seat until after voters had a say in November’s presidential election.”

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Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC after Roe vs.  Wade has been knocked over.

Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court building in Washington DC after Roe vs. Wade has been knocked over.
(Joshua Comins, Fox News Digital)

Schaffer then slammed Totenberg for her somewhat endearing portrayals of her powerful DC friends, writing, “But as the pages go by, and Totenberg and her friends become more powerful, the theme becomes more and more uncomfortable—and more and more revealing.”

He added, “It’s not that Totenberg bashes the insiders who come to her dinners… Rather, it’s the way she seems to accept and share the worldviews of her insider friends. In this universe, it seems , that we are all the same way. team.”

Schaffer noted that she was friendly with other judges supreme courtincluding the conservatives. He wrote: “Look no further than Totenberg’s dinner table, where the likes of Nino Scalia (‘a mensch’), Stephen Breyer (he and his wife helped clean up after an I Love Lucy-style dishwasher disaster).”

He suggested that Totenberg was caught up in the “reverence” to which “the court is particularly susceptible” because of its “strange clerical culture”.

Senior Political Editor Michael Schaffer criticized NPR reporter Nina Totenberg for not alerting the world to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's illness that led to her death.

Senior Political Editor Michael Schaffer criticized NPR reporter Nina Totenberg for not alerting the world to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s illness that led to her death.

Schaffer revealed her bias, adding, “I’m not saying Totenberg should treat the judges as if they were venal, low-wattage members of Palookaville’s parochial political machine. But it would be nice if she kept the option open.”

Citing his overall criticism, he said, “But even if you don’t think any amount of scary Ginsburg health reporting could have deterred Mitch McConnell in 2020, it’s hard to come away from this book and not think the bonds also cost her something. – and us too.”

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He then concluded his review by doubting the merits of Totenberg’s friendships, writing: “Dinners with Ruth made me wonder if it would have been better if Nina Totenberg had gotten a dog.”

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