Clarence Thomas Didn't Say Vaccines Use Abortion

Mandel Ngan/Getty Images The mainstream press spends a lot of time talking about the dangers of misinformation and their fight against...


Clarence Thomas

Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

The mainstream press spends a lot of time talking about the dangers of misinformation and their fight against misinformation and the need to control and correct these things. Not so much when it’s theirs, though, like falsely attributing a viewpoint to a Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.

Politico a posted a correction to an article they published last week with the title “Clarence Thomas suggests that Covid vaccines are being developed using cells from aborted children”.

The story moved very quickly, amid a flurry of negative press directed at Judge Thomas, and not only had a huge social media presence, but was quickly picked up by other news outlets. The correction? Not that much.

“An earlier version of this report incorrectly attributed the claim that Covid-19 vaccines were ‘developed using cell lines derived from aborted children’ to Thomas,” the correction told by Kelly Hooper article. “The title and article have been updated to directly state that Thomas was referring to the petitioners’ claims.”

Unfortunately, the other outlets that erroneously carried the “news” were not so quick to share the correction and have yet to follow Politico’s lead in correcting their own stories. They had plenty of time to do so.

In fact, some of them took that long to add editor’s notes that not only didn’t fix, but made the original misattribution worse.

Axios: “Clarence Thomas says COVID vaccines are created with cells from ‘aborted children'”

Their note: “The title and story have been corrected to note that Judge Thomas was referring to fetal cell lines derived from ‘aborted children’ in his dissent, not ‘aborted children’. The story has also been updated with more information on how certain vaccines are developed and additional quotes from the plaintiff’s motion to court.

Business Intern“Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas repeated misleading claims that COVID-19 vaccines were made using cells from ‘aborted children'”

Their note: “This story has been updated to clarify the false assertion made in Judge Thomas’ dissenting opinion.”

Living room (reissue of AlterNet): “Clarence Thomas says COVID-19 vaccines are made with cells from terminated pregnancies”

Article not updated or corrected.

NBC News’ Adam Edelman, Aria Bendix and pete williams wrote “Thomas voiced support on Thursday for a misleading claim that all Covid vaccines are made with cells from aborted children.”

Article not updated or corrected.

There were more examples, including volumes of social media comments. But that’s a non-controversy. In his rigorous and meticulous dissenting opinion, Thomas made no such assertion of fact, nor expressed his “support”. What he did was quote it, as is quite commonplace and necessary in legal writing.

In his dissent on a Supreme Court decision not to challenge the religious freedom of New York’s Covid vaccination mandate for healthcare workers, Thomas wrote: “They oppose on religious grounds all available COVID-19 vaccines because they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children.”

Thomas stated this as a belief of the petitioners. He clearly stated that their objection, which was not the subject of the decision and the judges had not assessed the merits of the claim, was an objection based on religious grounds. Saying that doesn’t reflect what justice himself believes. He didn’t talk about that claim at all, but rather cited it as an example.

What Thomas did is no different than someone observing that there are people who believe the Earth is flat. Noting that this feeling exist does not make that person an adherent or advocate thereof.

In journalism, precise wording is important. Retractions and apologies to readers and Thomas are warranted. The press presented itself as a source of the fight against misinformation. If only they practiced what they preached.

This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Clarence Thomas Didn't Say Vaccines Use Abortion
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