At the end of March, ProPublica released findings of an investigation that highlighted the financially swampy relationship between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Texas billionaire, conservative donor, and Nazi artifact collector Harlan Crow. Reports came out showing that not only did Justice Thomas spend an inordinate amount of time with the billionaire—after becoming a Supreme Court Justice—he received possibly millions of dollars in gifts and free travel and lodging for about two decades.
On top of that, reports came out showing Crow’s generosity toward Justice Thomas included buying up two vacant lots where Thomas’s elderly mother lived, as well as sending $500,000 to “a Tea Party group founded by Ginni Thomas, which also paid her a $120,000 salary.” Clarence Thomas has released an unbelievably weak statement defending the allegations against him, while not denying any of the details in the stories.
It’s the kind of story that, even in passing, anyone would consider to be newsworthy. Polls show that even conservatives agree that the reports about Thomas’ gift and vacation-receiving ways are unethical.
How is the right-wing ministry of propaganda, Fox News, handling the story? What story? Have you not heard that Bud Light did a single online social media advertisement with a trans celebrity?
RELATED STORY: Clarence Thomas allegedly broke one of the few ethics laws that apply to the Supreme Court
The Washington Post’s Philip Bump analyzed how traditional media outlets like MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, and Fox News were covering the news. It turns out that in the case of Fox News, they aren’t covering it all that much. Over a ten-day period after the news broke, Fox News has mentioned Thomas’ name in less than 50 segments, all less than 15 seconds long, according to The Washington Post.
To put this into perspective, over that same period, MSNBC has mentioned Thomas almost 500 times. As for the name Harlan Crow? Fox News has almost never mentioned his name. Here are the ways in which Fox News has framed the myriad stories about gifts, vacations, plots of land, and business start-up monies from Crow to Thomas:
April 6: “Clarence Thomas report spurs new calls from Democrats for Supreme Court code of ethics”
April 6: “Progressive Democrats call for Clarence Thomas impeachment after reported undisclosed gifts from GOP megadonor”
April 7: “Justice Thomas defends trips taken with ‘dearest friends’ after reports say he accepted gifts”
April 8: “Democrats press Supreme Court chief justice to investigate Clarence Thomas’ trips with GOP megadonor”
April 9: “Report on Clarence Thomas’ travel habits is ‘politics plain and simple’: expert”
April 10: “AOC doubles down on ‘ignoring’ abortion rule, Clarence Thomas impeachment: ‘abuse of judicial overreach’”
April 10: “Senate Democrats demand Chief Justice Roberts open investigation into Clarence Thomas over ‘misconduct’”
But if Fox News is barely mentioning the Supreme Court story, and talking all the way around the various Donald Trump legal indictments and trials and potential indictments, what are they talking about? According to the analysis, Bud Light. The beer. You see, Bud Light signed a sponsorship deal with internet celebrity Dylan Mulvaney. The deal seems to have included Mulvaney making sure to create product placement social media posts.
Mulvaney’s sponsorship deal led to former celebrities like Kid Rock to start shooting Bud Light cans with guns in protest. Fox News covered that more than 183 times. This coming from the network that spends a considerable amount of of resources trying to torture conspiratorial connections between billionaire Democratic donor George Soros and … everything happening that they don’t like.
Between Clarence and his Big Lying wife, Ginni, these two radical right wing activists have secured their spot in the annals of history under fascism.
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On today’s episode, Markos and Kerry are joined by a friend of the podcast, Democratic political strategist Simon Rosenberg. Rosenberg was one of the few outsiders who, like Daily Kos, kept telling the world that nothing supported the idea of a red wave. Simon and the crew break down his strategy for Democratic candidates to achieve a 55% popular vote in all elections—a number that a few years ago would have seemed unattainable, but now feels within reach.