Wall Street Journal vs. CNN, Pro Publica On Justice Thomas

News & Politics

Talk about refreshing.

Let’s get real. From the moment of his 1991 nomination to the US Supreme Court by President George H.W. Bush, Clarence Thomas was a target for the media.

For those who came in late, then-Justice Thurgood Marshall had made known his decision to retire in the summer of 1991. Justice Marshall was the first black to serve on the Court. Appointed by Democrat President Lyndon Johnson, Justice Marshall was a liberal’s liberal. 

But it was his race that launched the media and left-wing activists (but I repeat myself)  into action at his retirement. Because Justice Marshall was black, liberals of the day said that his seat was the “black seat” on the Court. Bush obliged by nominating then Circuit Judge Thomas.

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And all hell broke loose. The reason? Judge Clarence Thomas was both black – and conservative. In a much later film of his life - Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words - Justice Thomas said the reason for the instant controversy, including an accusation of sexual harassment, was that he was black…but he was “the wrong black guy” and had “to be destroyed.”

From that day right down through the decades until today Justice Thomas, now long a seriously influential conservative Justice, has been targeted by the leftist media. Today the game in the left-wing media is to charge him with ethics violations. 

Which opened the door for the Wall Street Journal’s crack columnist James Taranto to pen his column this week titled as follows: 

Clarence Thomas Discloses, the Media Opposes

In which Taranto singles out the Thomas attacks from CNN and Pro Publica. He opens his column by saying this: 

One reason Americans don’t trust the media is that politically biased reporters routinely adulterate the news with tendentious language and prepackaged opinions. The result is crude propaganda—lousy opinion writing and unreliable information rolled into one and deceptively packaged as straight news.

He goes on to detail the latest attacks from the media on Justice Thomas, attacks that revolve around trumped up charges of ethics violations. Taranto ends by citing the Pro Publica reporter in question for doing “sloppy work.” He ends by saying:

 Journalism has no moral force unless it’s honest and attentive to accuracy.


Again, James Taranto gets it exactly right when he says that “politically biased reporters routinely adulterate the news with tendentious language and prepackaged opinions.”

Exactly again. The problem in this case is that a far-left leaning media has had it in for Justice Thomas – and his conservative activist wife Virginia – right from the get go of his nomination by President Bush. It is telling that when it comes to media scrutinizing of liberals on the Supreme Court – there is none.

And it’s notable too that when President Biden nominated Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to be on the Supreme Court, the media swooned. Yet, tellingly, just as with Clarence Thomas, when then-Senator Biden tried to block George W. Bush’s nomination of another black female jurist – Judge Janice Rogers Brown -to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the media yawned. Why? Because, of course, like Justice Thomas, Rogers was a conservative.

The real problem here, or one of them at least, is that just as James Taranto makes plain in his Wall Street Journal column, the media is really about “crude propaganda—lousy opinion writing and unreliable information rolled into one and deceptively packaged as straight news.”

All in the service, in this case a full 32 years after his nomination, of smearing Justice Thomas.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Happy Labor Day.

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