The Ethics of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the Journalists who exposed him

Justice Clarence Thomas (Official portrait September 24, 2007)

Left-wing attacks on Justice Thomas have been ubiquitous over the past year, charging that he has a shady relationship with his wealthy friend Harlan Crow.

Let’s put that to rest now, unless the Mainstream Media can come up with some kind of evidence of wrongdoing.

But what about the so-called journalists at ProPublica, the left-wing outfit that’s written articles smearing Thomas? 

This New York non-profit investigative group that often partners with the Texas Tribune was founded by two liberal billionaires and has been supported by George Soros.

As Ron Arnold wrote in the Washington Examiner, ProPublica only seems to investigate things liberals don’t like.  That seems to include Justice Thomas.

Random Samplings is a service of the Texas Public Policy Foundation at

In the Mainstream Media, ProPublica is revered as a bastion of truth.

But go a little deeper than its mild entry in Wikipedia.  The attacks on Justice Thomas seem less alarming than charges against Justice Sonia Sotomayor that seems far more obvious.

But this is par for the course when it comes to media on media.  Take the example of another media outfit that lays claim to straight journalism:  The Epoch Times[Full disclosure:  I write promotional materials for The Epoch Times and have done so for several years.] 

Both NBC News and the New York Times have attacked Epoch over its coverage, and check out the negativity in its Wikipedia entry.  Social media such as You Tube have de-platformed The Epoch Times, and that makes it hard for that newspaper to sell advertising.  Yet when I read front-section articles in The Epoch Times, I detect zero left-right bias.

But ProPublica is revered and The Epoch Times is scorned. 

There’s a far more accurate picture of ProPublica written by Ron Arnold of the Washington Examiner from back in 2011.  Arnold explains the organization’s left-wing origins as created by the “relentlessly partisan” billionaire former mortgage bankers Herb and Marion Sandler and supported in part with money from George Soro’s Open Society Institute.  So, the left-wing pedigree is there.

Arnold’s column pulls no punches in his disdain for ProPublica:

An obscure nonprofit investigative newsroom’s editor in chief is paid $585,117 a year and the group gives away its online stories for publication by big-time “partners,” including the New York Times, ABC World News, and Associated Press.  The 32 highly paid reporters seem to investigate only things liberals don’t like. The newsroom claims to work only “in the public interest” and to focus exclusively on stories with “moral force.”  Don’t bother asking “which public” or “whose morals.” You’re in a left-wing alternate universe 23 floors up in a New York City office building — the headquarters of ProPublica Inc.

But does ProPublica tell the truth?

Lots of shady journalism is built around truth – just as late-night comedy is.  Sure, Justice Thomas has wealthy friends.  Sure, he does things with them.  But as pundit Armstrong Williams writes, there is not even circumstantial evidence that Thomas’s decisions have been compromised due to that friendship.

Williams refers to the (so-called) “bombshell” accusations by ProPublica relating to Thomas and then provides one of the best defenses of “whataboutism” I’ve read so far:

When liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg publicly and injudiciously assailed Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016, describing him as “a faker” and criticizing both his “ego” and his decision not to release his tax returns (comments for which she later apologized), most in the media winced for a few seconds but moved on. Ginsburg remained in its judicial Valhalla, without an adverse footnote, even though she didn’t recuse herself from numerous cases involving the Trump administration that subsequently came before the court. And when Justice Sonia Sotomayor failed to recuse herself from a case in which her book publisher was before the court, there was nary a peep from the media.

This is what I like about the concept of whataboutism.  Journalistic malpractice does not occur in a vacuum.  If ProPublica wants to report on Justice Thomas and insinuate things that may or may not be true, then do the same of the other justices.

ProPublica and the Texas Tribune exist in a parallel world where “journalism” is reported using the language of the left, and where every possible snipe is taken against any conversative.

ProPublica is a perfect bedmate for the Texas Tribune.  Both publish a form of truth, but couch the truth in left-wing terms with plenty of omissions designed to make their stories seem important.  The Tribune does this as well, and to perfection.  They claim the mantle of objective journalism.

Armstrong’s piece is a beautifully written expose of the exposers.  In his article, Armstrong engages in the journalism that the Tribune and ProPublica claim to.

As a parting thought, and considering today’s sexual confusion contagion, I was amused to note that Ron Arnold answered a question I had about the name ProPublica.  He revealed that it’s meant to sound Latin, as in “for the public,” but he notes the “a” ending makes it a feminine noun.

It literally means “for the public woman.”  That seems perfect in today’s society.

Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based author, broadcaster, and songwriter.  Follow his podcast at  Check out his author’s page at  Order books direct from Lynn at https://PlanetLogicPress.Square.Site.  Email Lynn at

Somehow, I think Justice Thomas would enjoy this book!

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