“Democracy Dies In Dickness”*: The Washington Post’s Racism

This article in the Washington Post yesterday, authored by two “reports of color,” Cleve R. Wootson Jr., a White House reporter for the Post, and Marianna Sotomayor (no relation to that other Sotomayor) who now covers the House of Representatives for the Post after coming over from NBC, gained quite a bit of notice from the conservative news media (and none at all from the much larger other side, for this passage when it was first published:


Nice! The two post reporters managed to insult Thomas by reducing his legal opinions to knee-jerk bias, and to attack conservatives based on their race. The obvious rejoinder to this slur would be whether the Post would tolerate an article that criticized, say, Justice Kagan as issuing opinions that are in lockstep with the advocacy of “black progressives.” What does race have to do with either observation, the actual one or the hypothetical reverse negative?

Concluded constitutional law professor Josh Blackman,

The Washington Post called Justice Thomas an Oreo. And that statement isn’t even accurate! The Court’s white conservatives issue rulings that often resemble those of Justice Thomas. Thomas is the intellectual leader of the Court’s conservative wing. And he has been for decades. Gorsuch, Alito, and the rest are just trying to keep up with CT. But once again, we get the racist trope that Thomas is Scalia’s clone. Just the opposite. Scalia often remarked that Thomas pushed him to the right….Discourse about race is upside and backwards. Racially-tinted sentiments about progressives are grounds for immediate cancellation. Racially-charged attacks about conservatives are offered as objective facts in a newspaper of record.

Blackman calls the Post’s casual racism “lazy writing.” That’s more professorial reserve, and in this case, not harsh enough. No editor at the Post saw anything amiss with calling a black SCOTUS justice a white conservative under the skin. Of course, the Post’s favorite President told an audience of black voters in 2020 that they “ain’t black” if they supported Donald Trump, so this attitude is deemed acceptable. The reverse? Deplorable.

Apparently the Post’s racial bias was too graphic for once (is that what they mean by “Post-racial society?”). Today. the Volokh Conspiracy reports that the Post eliminated the smoking-gun line, and replaced it with this:

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), a friend and ally of Clyburn’s for over 30 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 conservative justice.

Oh, you mean a justice who’s black on the outside by white on the inside?

The Post now has a “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.

Translation: “We got caught. In the future, our implicit innuendoes that whites are intrinsically biased and that conservatives cannot be black and independent thinkers will be more carefully composed.”

Blackman, Turley-like, calls the story still “problematic”:

Why is it relevant to this story that Thomas is Black? The reason why is that Thompson called Thomas an Oreo. The initial version of the story dutifully reported that statement as fact. Now, the Post merely alludes to the implication. This sort of casual racism against conservatives is embedded so deeply in progressive culture. WaPo reporters and editors simply treat these barbs as fact.

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!


* About the headline: Yeah, it may cross the line for an ethics blog, but it made me laugh when I thought of it, it accurately describes the Post’s conduct here, and I can’t find any other reference to the parody, which deserves to be circulated, though maybe not here.


6 thoughts on ““Democracy Dies In Dickness”*: The Washington Post’s Racism

  1. I’ll forgive the title, though I don’t think there’s anything to forgive. Sometimes crass language is required when softer words are ignored.

    I can’t think of any examples of the mainstream right showing the same kind of racism against liberals of any race that the mainstream left exhibits on a daily basis. But I don’t think that the right has a white savior complex built into its policies either.

  2. What got me about the original wording, y’know….

    ” “…you know that person won’t go to the court and end up being a Clarence Thomas” referring to the Black justice….”

    Was probably enough to get a faculty member removed from Georgetown law.

  3. One of the beauties of blogs is the ability to ignore the artificially-constructed “rules” that supposedly apply to mainstream journalism. Of course, there is always the risk it will turn off readers or allow you to be pigeonholed, but alas, that’s going to happen no matter what you write.

    This is my typically long-winded way of saying, “I approve!”

  4. Jack, I suppose that you could have changed it to “Democracy Dies in Fickness for this blog (though the general public wouldn’t get the reference) and still basically say the same thing.

    …which is not to say that I disapprove. I don’t.


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