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Occupy Democrats push out-of-context celebratory photo of Justice Thomas and wife Ginni

A popular post from the partisan organization Occupy Democrats uses an old photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, to falsely claim that the couple is living it up while “American women despair about abortion rights being taken from them.” Let’s take a look at the facts.

A May 5 tweet from the verified account of Occupy Democrats that includes a photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas smiling with his wife Ginni, who appears to hold a bottle of wine. The tweet reads, “BREAKING: As American women despair about abortion rights being taken away from them, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Ginni post a photo of themselves enjoying a $5,135 bottle of fancy wine. RT IF YOU THINK THAT THEY ARE A DISGRACE.” The News Literacy Project has added a label that says, "OUT OF CONTEXT."
This photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, was not taken in 2022 as the Court deliberates a case that could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling.

NewsLit takeaway

Hyperpartisan advocacy groups operate to promote a specific political agenda and sometimes put ideology before accuracy. Political posts designed to elicit outrage — also known as “outrage bait” — can be extremely effective at driving social media engagement and a widening circle of online supporters. It’s always a good idea to stay skeptical about divisive social media posts that provoke a strong emotional reaction, particularly when they resonate strongly with your politics and come from a partisan organization. In this case, people who oppose the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade may be especially vulnerable to reacting to this false claim too quickly. Finally, the fact that this post uses inflammatory language in all caps and explicitly asks people to retweet (“RT IF YOU THINK THAT THEY ARE A DISGRACE!”) are both red flags and indications that the tweet should be approached with skepticism.

Related: “Fact Check: Individuals Who Seek Or Get Abortion in Alabama Are NOT 'Thrown In Prison For Life'” (Christiana Dillard, Lead Stories).

Resource: Reverse image search tutorial (NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom).

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