By Rich Zeoli

Driving home from my 3-6pm show in Philadelphia, I turned on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. The lead story was that President Donald Trump’s nominee to the United States Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch, was blasting the President’s comments about the judiciary. Wow, I thought. This is going to be huge! I waited patiently for the secret audio recording of Gorsuch criticizing the man who just nominated him to the highest court in the land. After all, for this to be the lead story, this has to be juicy! But I was quickly disappointed when I realized, alas, there was no Michael Clayton secret audio recording reveal.

Then my hopes came back! Maybe Gorsuch couldn’t hold his disdain for the comments and commandeered a podium to make it known exactly how he feels about the President’s comments that the judiciary was being overly political in its treatment of his executive orders. I waited for the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington passionate oration. Nothing.

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Then it hit me. For this to be the lead story on the national CBS News broadcast, it must have been the Judge calling into the show! He was going to let Scott Pelley know exactly how he felt about this threat to the separation of powers! “Demoralizing and disheartening!” Give it to me CBS News!

And then he reported that all of this, this story worthy of national attention, was according to United States Senator Richard Blumenthal. Apparently Judge Gorsuch told him Trump’s comments were disheartening and demoralizing. He supposedly said all of this to the Senator in private. And then Blumenthal told this to Senator Durbin who told another Senator who told another Senator and then someone overheard this and called a reporter. This then became national news. The lead story!

Pundits say this is completely unusual for a nominee to come out and criticize the president who nominated him. Really? As a siting justice he could end up writing the majority opinion overturning the wishes of the president. Oh, oh, maybe the White House wanted this leaked so Democrats could see what an independent jurist Gorsuch would prove to be! Maybe.

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Or maybe we’ve just allowed gossip to become news.

Perhaps Blumenthal is telling the truth. Perhaps he’s lying. Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. That’s the trouble with hearsay gossip. There’s no proof. So is this really the stuff of national news now? The lead story on the evening news show and the morning news shows. An unverified story by a politician who will play a role in the confirmation process and can hardly be called objective. A politician who has made his disapproval of this president very public.

Welcome to the state of news in America. Is it any wonder that a recent Emerson College poll found that more Americans trust the White House than the media? According to their summary:

“A key finding of the poll shows that voters find the Trump administration to be more truthful than the news media. The Trump administration is considered truthful by 49% of voters, to 48% of voters who consider it untruthful. Meanwhile, the news media is considered untruthful by a 53%-majority of registered voters, to only 39% who find them truthful (a 14-point gap).”

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Oh, did I mention that I heard that someone told Senator Blumenthal that someone told him Judge Gorsuch likes to flip turtles on their backs to watch them squirm? That’s tonight at 6:30.