Politico, Axios, NBC News, and MSNBC slander Justice Clarence Thomas
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not be hearing a case challenging New York's vaccine mandate. The petition was filed by health care workers in 2021.
Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito released a dissenting opinion.
Thomas wrote the following:
Petitioners are 16 healthcare workers who served New York communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They object on religious grounds to all available COVID–19 vaccines because they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children.
It is obvious that Thomas was referring to the perspective of the objecting health care workers and not his own.
Thomas could have been more explicit about referring to the beliefs of the health care workers and could have worded his statement as follows: "They object on religious grounds to all available COVID-19 vaccines because of their belief that they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children."
News outlets such as Axios, NBC News, MSNBC, and Politico deceptively attributed the beliefs to Thomas instead of the health care workers.
Clarence Thomas suggests COVID vaccines are made with "aborted children" https://t.co/hHHG33qtQb— Axios (@axios) June 30, 2022
Axios provocatively headlined its piece "Clarence Thomas suggests COVID vaccines are made with 'aborted children.'" The headline was amended to "Clarence Thomas suggests COVID vaccines are created with cells from 'aborted children."
The Axios piece added an editor's note: "The headline and lead of this story have been updated to note Thomas was referencing cells of 'aborted children' in his dissent."
The article began with a lie: "Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote Thursday in a dissenting opinion that coronavirus vaccines were developed using cells from 'aborted children.'"
The article proceeds to provide the details about the petition. However, there was no unambiguous mention that the religious beliefs were that of the health care workers and not Justice Thomas.
Clarence is such a theocrat. It's the basis of his profound "Own the Libs" judicial philosophy. https://t.co/xoA1udcdwv— Christopher Knight (@KnightLAT) July 1, 2022
The next was NBC News.
NBC's headline was "Justice Thomas cites debunked claim that Covid vaccines are made with cells from 'aborted children.'" The word "debunked" was eventually removed from the headline, with no editors providing their reasoning.
Their article began with the claim that Thomas supported a misleading claim that all COVID-19 vaccines were made with cells from "aborted children."
The third paragraph clarified that "Thomas, citing the plaintiffs, wrote that the healthcare workers 'object' to the state's vaccine mandate "on religious grounds to all available COVID-19 vaccines because they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children."
Social media, of course, were glad to parrot and spread the lie:
Several GOP members of the Supreme Court have gone full MAGA. They are detached from truth and reality.— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) June 30, 2022
Clarence Thomas just wrote that Covid vaccines are developed from aborted children.https://t.co/Oh64L9lcMg
This week, Clarence Thomas expressed support for a debunked claim that all COVID vaccines are made with cells from "aborted children." https://t.co/euL5J3HMfZ— Benji, Virgo’s Finest. (@gntlmnking) July 3, 2022
The next was MSNBC.
MSNBC's Steve Benen based his column on the NBC report. "Clarence Thomas cites misleading claim about Covid vaccines" stated the following:
The Supreme Court's standing as a credible and respected institution has already suffered greatly. The more justices cite misleading claims, the more it further tarnishes the court's reputation.
Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines early in their Covid vaccine development to test the efficacy of their formulas, as other vaccines have in the past. The fetal tissue used in these processes came from elective abortions that happened decades ago. But the cells have since replicated many times, so none of the original tissue is involved in the making of modern vaccines.
The MSNBC piece issued an update: "This post has been edited for clarity and accuracy."
Finally, there was Politico.
Politico's article was headlined "Clarence Thomas suggests Covid vaccines are developed using cells of 'aborted children.'" The headline was amended to "Clarence Thomas cites claim that Covid vaccines are 'developed using cell lines derived from aborted children.'"
Politico was the only among the outlets to issue an explicit correction that reads as follows:
An earlier version of this report misattributed the claim that Covid-19 vaccines were 'developed using cell lines derived from aborted children' to Thomas. The headline and article have been updated to directly state that Thomas was referencing petitioners' claims.
For the record: This corrects an earlier deleted tweet that misattributed the claim that Covid vaccines were “developed using cell lines derived from aborted children” to Thomas. The story and this post were updated to directly state that he was referencing petitioners’ claims.— POLITICO (@politico) July 1, 2022
So did these edits and corrections help?
The amendments to the headlines and the texts of the articles were meaningless because the articles were rooted in falsehoods. The only apt remedial action was for the headline and body to be replaced by a plainly worded correction reflecting the facts.
But that didn't happen. The amended article still leads readers to believe a total untruth. Also, social media posts continue to reflect the earlier incorrect version of the articles.
The lie traveled around the world and back again while the truth was lacing up its boots, as the saying goes. Perhaps that was the goal to begin with.
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the conservative Supreme Court justices have become targets of the left.
The "protester" wing has been deployed to "demonstrate" and shout threatening obscenities before the homes of the conservative justices. The media assassins have been tasked with smearing conservative justices and undermining the credibility of the Supreme Court.