‘Doesn’t sound like an apology’: WaPo’s ‘clarification’ of Clarence Thomas’s explosive race hit falls short

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The Washington Post was forced to issue a “clarification” on Thursday — in lieu of an apology — after publishing a story featuring a racist assertion that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas “reflected the thinking of white conservatives.”

The correction being to instead label Thomas as “the Black conservative justice.”

The story in question, authored by Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Marianna Sotomayor, was on the role U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., will likely play in who President Joe Biden ultimately selects to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. The reporters reminded readers of Clyburn “saving” Biden’s presidential aspirations in 2020 when he endorsed the then-faltering candidate in his state’s Democratic primary. A move that put Biden “on course to win the White House.”

Wootson and Sotomayor then wrote:

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), a friend and ally of Clyburn’s for over 3o years, said even Clyburn’s critics respect his political instincts and his connection with a valuable but often disappointed subset of Democratic voters.

“Nobody that I’m aware of feels that opposing Clyburn’s nomination would be the wise thing to do,” he said. “If you know that a person has been vetted by Jim Clyburn, you know that person won’t go to the court and end up being a Clarence Thomas,” referring to the Black justice whose rulings often resemble the thinking of White conservatives.



The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, was hit with serious blowback over the remark and eventually issued the “clarification.”

“CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story imprecisely referred to Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinions as often reflecting the thinking of White conservatives, rather than conservatives broadly. That reference has been removed,” the newspaper stated.

According to the online reaction, the Washington Post fell well short of expectations with its clarification. For a lot of folks, nothing short of an apology would suffice.

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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