It’s not the sort of event one would ordinarily expect to find a sitting Supreme Court justice — but Thomas took a private jet to the event anyway.
According to the ProPublica report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, Thomas failed to report the trip on his financial disclosure forms, and it remains unclear who paid for his flight.
In case this isn’t obvious, let’s note for the record that none of this is normal.
In fact, ProPublica spoke to John E. Jones III, a retired federal judge appointed by George W. Bush, who said, “I can’t imagine — it takes my breath away, frankly — that he would go to a Koch network event for donors.” Jones added that if he’d gone to a Koch summit as a district court judge, “I’d have gotten a letter that would’ve commenced a disciplinary proceeding.”
ProPublica has previously revealed undeclared links to Crow including luxury holidays and travel; a real estate sale which benefited Thomas’s mother; and school fees paid for his great-nephew. In a statement earlier this year, confirmed that Crow is a close friend with whom he has taken “family trips” and has argued that he was not required to disclose the free vacations.
Thomas’s links with the Koch network are arguably more ethically dicey, given that the federal judiciary’s code of conduct specifically prohibits both political activity and participation in fundraising. Judges are advised not to “associate themselves” with any group “publicly identified with controversial legal, social or political positions”.
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Deputy Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk and Deputy Assistant and Senior Advisor to the President for Energy and Investment Amos Hochstein met last night with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani of Iraq to confirm the strong U.S. partnership with Iraq as outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries. The United States took special note of Prime Minister Sudani’s leadership moving Iraq’s policy towards strengthening its own energy security, including with electricity grid connections to Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, as well as major energy deals with western firms to capture flared gas in southern Iraq for domestic use and future export. Hochstein and McGurk also welcomed recent agreements between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government regarding monthly budget allocations, and emphasized the urgency of reopening the Iraq-Turkiye Pipeline as soon as possible. On regional matters, McGurk pledged full U.S. support to help finally resolve outstanding maritime boundary issues with Kuwait, particularly in relation to UNSCR 833. Sudani welcomed this support, and reaffirmed Iraq’s longstanding and clear policy recognizing Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, all prior bilateral agreements between the two friendly countries, and adherence to international law, including UN Security Council Resolutions.
Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate who built an unmatched global media empire over seven decades from a single newspaper he inherited in his native Australia, announced on Thursday that he would step down.
"I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change," Murdoch wrote in a memo to employees at Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the many other properties that make up his two corporations, Fox Corp. and News Corp. "The time is right for me to take on different roles."
Murdoch's career has been marked by a singular drive for business success, an eagerness to have sway over elections and policies, and the repeated eruption of scandals. Fox News, which he founded in 1996, has played an increasingly prominent role in his profits, his influence, and his crises.
Murdoch's Sun tabloid relied on anonymous police sources to blame soccer hooligans for a deadly stampede after a stadium collapse; in fact, the police's own poor disaster response was found to be responsible. News Corp. later paid hundreds of millions of dollars after it came to light that people acting on its behalf had hacked into the mobile phones, voicemails and emails. The Murdochs closed down one of its tabloids, News of the World, and abandoned hope of taking full control of Sky, a major British satellite television outfit in which it held a significant stake.
In the U.S., Fox News paid nine figures to resolve a growing wave of sexual harassment accusations against then-Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, among others. It later paid millions of dollars to the family of a slain Democratic National Committee staffer whom it baselessly claimed had leaked thousands of party emails that had actually been hacked during the 2016 campaign by the Russian government.
Yet nothing matched the debacle after the 2020 presidential election.
Murdoch's role in allowing Fox News stars to embrace discredited claims of fraud in that race came into sharp view during a defamation suit filed against the network and Fox Corp. The company settled for $787.5 million this spring, just before opening arguments in the trial were to begin. Dominion Voting Systems, the plaintiff, planned to make Murdoch one of the first witnesses to testify before the jury.
Despite Murdoch's contempt for Trump, Fox amplified his baseless claims of having been cheated out of victory. Documents from that legal case show network leaders were desperate to win back viewers angry that Fox News journalists had projected Trump would lose Arizona on Election Night.
Nothing matched the debacle after the 2020 presidential election?
I guess that's true . . . if you write a 920 word column and none of the words are: Iraq War.
But in the real world, far away from NPR apparently, the Iraq War is the debacle of the 21st century. As the UK's HEAD TOPICS notes:
An MSNBC presenter, Mehdi Hasan, linked Mr Murdoch’s influence and Fox’s news agenda to different political events in the past 20 years. He said in a post on X that “some of the worst things we have had to experience in recent years – the Iraq war, the rise of Trump, the Big Election Lie – are all thanks to him and Fox”. headtopics.
At THE NEW REPUBLIC, in a piece titled "Rupert Murdoch Made The World Worse," Alex Shephard writes:
The worst thing that you can say about Rupert Murdoch, who resigned from the board of the Fox and News Corporations on Tuesday, is that no one has had a greater influence on the news over the last half-century. Murdoch’s influence is both incalculable and fantastically corrosive. It is impossible to look at all of the most malignant aspects of the current news environment—its pace, its callousness, its rancor—without seeing his impact. It is also a fully baked cake. Murdoch may be exiting the scene, but there is no undoing the damage he has done.
[. . .]
Much will be made about Fox News, Murdoch’s greatest and most destructive creation. With Roger Ailes, he turned it into a juggernaut and transformed the media. The cable news industry as we know it is, more or less, the invention of Murdoch and Ailes. News had long been packaged as entertainment, but this reached new heights at Fox News. The network itself existed as an answer to long-standing conservative complaints that the media had a “liberal” bias. It portrayed itself as a “fair and balanced” corrective. It was, instead, a new, powerful partisan machine. It worked immaculately.
Fox News, with Murdoch and Ailes at the helm, transformed news into a massive engine of confirmation bias. It was a safe space for Americans, most of them older and white, to have their fantasies affirmed: Immigrants were pouring into the country, crime was out of control, their way of life was under threat from sources both foreign and domestic. For decades, it pushed conspiracies of every stripe and played a major role in pushing numerous disasters, from the Iraq War to the January 6 insurrection. Pushing conspiracies was and is Fox’s business plan: It exists to tell its viewers that their political opponents are not just their adversaries but represent an existential threat.
Before Rupert Murdoch began illegally making inroads in the US media (foreign ownership was forbidden when Murdoch began his media empire building in the US and he had not yet become a US citizen -- wouldn't until 1985), his trashy ways were already well known. COUNTERPUNCH has republished a 1976 piece by the late Alexander Cockburn.
US political races? So ABC NEWS is the one who let Ronald DeSantis lie this week. Is that the deal? He does a sit down interview with you and you agree to let him lie? From ABC NEWS' report on Linsey Davis' interview with him:
+ New CNN/UNH poll shows DeSantis in freefall in New Hampshire since the last poll in July.
Trump: 39% (+2)
Ramaswamy: 13% (+8)
Haley: 12% (+7)
Christie: 11% (+5)
DeSantis: 10% (-13)
Scott: 5% (-3)
Pence: 2% (+1)
Burgum: 1% (-5)