Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas accepted lavish gifts from a GOP megadonor, and U.S. media outlets are spinning the story according to their bias.
These Kudzu briefs auto-update every few hours with fresh analyses on the controversy:
Thomas has received numerous gifts over an extended time period from billionaire and friend Harlan Crow without disclosing them, possibly violating the law. Congress requested an investigation, but the Chief Justice Roberts has instead referred the request to the Judicial Conference.
The gifts included the following:
Clarence Thomas' non-disclosure, and Chief Justice Roberts' reaction raises questions about the Supreme Court's lack of ethics office or code, leaving justices without guidance about what gifts they can accept and how to report them. The lack of transparency undermines public trust in the judicial branch and highlights the need for a formal code of conduct for Supreme Court justices.
Left-leaning sources have more heavily amplified this story, even after accounting for differences in representation. There are more than twice as many left-leaning news outlets in the Kudzu U.S. Media Module, but the left-leaning outlets have amplified more than twice as many stories than the right-leaning outlets.
Of the 543 left-leaning news outlets we follow, 213 (39.2%) of them have amplified 1,533 related stories.
Of the 266 right-leaning news outlets we follow, 79 (29.7%) of them have amplified 645 related stories.
Phrases related to Thomas’ gifts made the top keywords list for left-bias outlets:
The right-bias list uniquely contained words that presumably support his innocence:
Interestingly, “luxury trips” appeared on both lists.
Left-bias outlets have amplified the story with much more even participation, including Raw Story, Bloomberg, CNN, etc. In contrast, the Washington Times has heavily dominated the right-bias reporting, followed by the Washington Examiner and Fox News.
California-based outlets have reported significantly on both sides, sharing similar volume with New York and Maine on the left, and Florida and Texas on the right. Texas and Florida have been significant contributors on both sides of the isle, as have several others, such as Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
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