NBC Claims O’Reilly Story ‘Stirs Up Memories of Anita Hill’

During the Today show’s extensive coverage on Thursday of Bill O’Reilly leaving Fox News over sexual harassment allegations, the NBC morning program used the controversy to resurrect the unsubstantiated 1991 smear campaign against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Astonishingly, the numerous sexual harassment claims against former President Bill Clinton were never mentioned.

Following back-to-back stories about O’Reilly at the top of the show, correspondent Stephanie Gosk led off the 7:30 a.m. ET half hour with another full report on the topic and lamented: “Well, it’s probably no surprise that in these hyper-politicized times, the recent allegations of sexual harassment against Bill O’Reilly turned into a battle between the left and the right. Some are calling it the politics of sexual harassment.”

After noting that “O’Reilly’s attorney says he has evidence of ‘a smear campaign being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons,’” Gosk highlighted: “Recently President Trump jumped to O’Reilly’s defense in an interview with the New York Times.”

She seized the chance to remind viewers of the President’s crude language toward women caught on tape and released during the 2016 campaign: “That defense follows last year’s campaign bombshell....of sexual allegations against Trump, which he denied.”

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The reporter then reached farther back in time to recall the left-wing hit job on Justice Thomas: “It all stirs up memories of Anita Hill in the early 1990s....And her explosive sexual harassment allegations against eventual Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.” A soundbite was featured of Hill telling the Senate Judiciary Committee: “Judge Thomas began to use work situations to discuss sex.” A clip followed of Thomas telling the senators: “It is a high-tech lynching.”

Returning to present day, Gosk fretted: “Today’s scandal, with supporters and critics split down party lines, a reminder little has changed.” NBC political analyst Elise Jordan lectured: “It’s sad that we are living in such a politicized era where we don’t take the facts of a case as seriously because it conflicts with our own preconceived political biases.”

Somehow Gosk failed to remember Democrats and their liberal media allies going to absurd lengths to defend every one of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals throughout his presidency. In January of 1998, just days after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, Hillary Clinton appeared on Today and infamously told co-host Matt Lauer that the controversy swirling around her husband was part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

Here is a full transcript of the April 20 report:

7:32 AM ET

WILLIE GEIST: And this morning, reaction of all kinds pouring in to the news that Bill O'Reilly is out after 21 years at Fox News, following explosive sexual allegations against him. And what you think may well depend, in part, on your politics. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk is here with more on that. Stephanie, good morning.

STEPHANIE GOSK: Good morning, guys. Well, it’s probably no surprise that in these hyper-politicized times, the recent allegations of sexual harassment against Bill O’Reilly turned into a battle between the left and the right. Some are calling it the politics of sexual harassment.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Fallout From Bill O’Reilly Firing; Fox Scandals Highlight Politics of Sexual Harassment]

This morning, the political pitchforks are out. The firing of controversial Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly over sexual harassment allegations unleashing a firestorm. O’Reilly’s attorney says he has evidence of “a smear campaign being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.”

The conservative website Breitbart also picking up on the theme, with the headline, “Activist Left Gets Monster Scalp.” Overnight, the attorney for one of O’Reilly’s accusers pushed back, saying he’s a Trump supporter and Fox watcher, but –  

DOUGLAS WIGDOR [ATTORNEY FOR FORMER FOX HOST JULIET HUDDY]: When somebody commits egregious sexual harassment, it doesn’t matter whether they’re right, left, center, red, green, black or yellow, they’re going to be held accountable.

GOSK: The popular anchor’s undoing follows reports O’Reilly and Fox paid $13 million to settle sexual harassment claims by several women. Claims that O’Reilly has strongly denied. Recently President Trump jumped to O’Reilly’s defense in an interview with the New York Times.

DONALD TRUMP: He's a good person. You know, I think he shouldn’t have settled. Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled.

GOSK: That defense follows last year’s campaign bombshell...

TRUMP: Grab them by the p****.

GOSK: ...of sexual allegations against Trump, which he denied.

TRUMP: This was locker room talk.

GOSK: It all stirs up memories of Anita Hill in the early 1990s.

ANITA HILL [1991]: Judge Thomas began to use work situations to discuss sex.

GOSK: And her explosive sexual harassment allegations against eventual Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

CLARENCE THOMAS: It is a high-tech lynching.

GOSK: Today’s scandal, with supporters and critics split down party lines, a reminder little has changed.

ELISE JORDAN [NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST]: It’s sad that we are living in such a politicized era where we don’t take the facts of a case as seriously because it conflicts with our own preconceived political biases.

GOSK: O'Reilly’s attorney says that evidence his client is a victim of a leftist campaign will be, in his words, “put forth shortly and is irrefutable.” Guys, this fight is not nearly over.

GEIST: Yeah, and as we said, his legions of fans, his millions of fans are not happy about Fox’s decision to drop him.

GOSK: And expressing a ton of support on their website.

GEIST: That’s right. But for many people, this is a question of sexual harassment, not about politics. Alright, Stephanie, thanks.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Thank you.

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