“On 24 June, the day after the luncheon, the court handed down its decision for Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 decision which enshrined the right to seek an abortion,” UK Independent reporter Eric Garcia wrote in a since-deleted article.
Because so-called “fact checkers” simply cannot be relied upon to do anything beyond work feverishly to protect bogus media/Democrat narratives, it oftentimes falls upon Republicans to set the record straight when leftists and their allies in the mainstream press try passing off fake news as legit.
That’s exactly what happened last week when UK Independent reporter Eric Garcia ran with what many on the left saw as a “blockbuster” story of sorts about a lunch meeting that allegedly took place between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on the eve of our nation’s highest court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade.
According to Garcia’s write-up, which has since been deleted but which can be viewed at the archived link, the revelation that the two had supposedly met one day before the ruling came as the result of a Freedom of Information Act request from the left-wing activist group American Oversight (AO).
AO published a batch of emails in mid-September that involved communications between DeSantis’ office and anyone with an official Supreme Court email address. But the ones specifically related to the alleged June 2022 meeting were not picked up by the far-left website Raw Story until late October, which should have been a big clue for Garcia – who heavily relied on the Raw Story article – that there was something wrong with the narrative that Raw Story was spinning.
But it wasn’t. He ran with the story anyway:
A series of emails show Mr Thomas’s assistant corresponding with Diane Moulton on Mr DeSantis’s staff about setting up a lunch with Mr Thomas and four of his clerks.
“Justice Thomas will attend the June 23rd luncheon with Governor DeSantis and the Justice’s four law clerks. Do you think that the Governor would mind coming to the Supreme Court for lunch,” Shean Kelly Makel asks in an email. “Technically we are still closed to the public but the clerks can order lunch from a local restaurant. Or they can dine at Capital Grille. Please let me know.”
Ultimately, they decided to dine at the Supreme Court in the the Natalie Rehnquist Dining Room. On 24 June, the day after the luncheon, the court handed down its decision for Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the 1973 decision which enshrined the right to seek an abortion.
Mr Thomas’s meeting with Mr DeSantis is also sure to raise questions about Mr Thomas’s involvement with partisan elected officials when the court attempts to remain apolitical, particularly on matters in which they might rule.
The problem, however, is that the DeSantis/Thomas lunch actually happened on June 23, 2021, not June 23, 2022, as DeSantis’ deputy press secretary Jeremy Redfern helpfully pointed out to Garcia:
Is June 23th, 2021 a day before June 24th, 2022? pic.twitter.com/VuvwsljSSD
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) October 28, 2022
Garcia profusely apologized in a Twitter thread and also pointed out in the same thread that the article would be taken down:
I am legitimately so sorry. I was not trying to mislead. I am legitimately embarrassed and humiliated. I never wanted to do anything malicious. I am so apologetic. I should have double-checked the dates. https://t.co/bDoYdUYGtF
— Eric Michael Garcia (@EricMGarcia) October 28, 2022
We are taking the article down. I cannot apologize enough. I should have double-checked triple-checked dates.
— Eric Michael Garcia (@EricMGarcia) October 28, 2022
But before the story got taken down, a number of leftist Twitter accounts pounced and seized on the fake news as “proof” of something nefarious between Thomas and DeSantis.
In a since-deleted tweet, Occupy Democrats wrote “BREAKING: Justice Clarence Thomas is EXPOSED as leaked emails reveal that he had a shady meeting with MAGA Gov. Ron DeSantis the day before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — raising serious questions about what was discussed. RT TO DEMAND A FULL INVESTIGATION!”
A second tweet they wrote on the “issue,” where they called for Thomas’ impeachment, is still up, however. It has a “Birdwatch” context explainer below it noting that the claim is false (something that can only be viewed on Twitter):
If you support impeaching Justice Clarence Thomas after he was just EXPOSED by leaked emails revealing that he had a shady meeting with MAGA Gov. Ron DeSantis the day before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — please retweet and follow us!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) October 27, 2022
As of this writing, the below tweet has close to 6,000 retweets, though it also has a Twitter “Birdwatch” context explainer:
BREAKING: Clarence Thomas had lunch with Ron DeSantis one day before abortion rights was struck down according to newly obtained emails.
— PoliticsVerse 🇺🇸 (@PoliticsVerse) October 27, 2022
This one from self-proclaimed “Joe Biden delegate” Lindy Li has over 2,500 RTs and also includes the Birdwatch explainer. She followed up with a tweet that included the link to the false report from Raw Story:
Clarence Thomas had lunch w DeSantis a day before Roe was overturned
Barrett spoke alongside McConnell at the McConnell Center
Roberts, Kavanaugh, Barrett were on the Bush team that fought Gore
Koch funded these Federalist Society hacks
& they wonder why we don’t trust them?!
— Lindy Li (@lindyli) October 27, 2022
Though the Independent completely pulled the story, Raw Story’s is still up though it has been significantly changed to show a different headline (“Emails reveal communications between Clarence Thomas and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis”) and includes a correction at the top that reads as follows:
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Clarence Thomas had lunch with Ron DeSantis one day before the controversial Dobbs decision. The lunch was scheduled for June 23, 2021, not June 23, 2022.)
Though it was nice to see Garcia apologize, it rang hollow considering how him not double-checking the dates wasn’t the only problem with his story. Using the highly unreliable Raw Story website as a credible source was his first big mistake. Had he not done that, he wouldn’t be spending his weekend in a self-imposed Twitter exile.
Beyond that, let’s say for purposes of discussion that Thomas and DeSantis did meet the day before the ruling was issued. So what? Not only had the case already been decided by that point but the ruling was likely already written by that point as well. In other words, had the original story been true, it still would have been a nothing-burger.
There are morals to this story that are as old as time. If it sounds too good to be true, you should probably be skeptical of it, check the sourcing and other particulars, and/or wait a little while to see if the news gets confirmed by impeccable sources. Also, a good editor can be a writer’s best friend.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.