Andrea Mitchell to Anita Hill: Did You ‘Identify’ With Kavanaugh Accuser?

In an exclusive softball interview with Anita Hill designed to clear the decks for Joe Biden about his handling of the Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell was eager to turn the conversation away from liberal complaints about the Democratic frontrunner to unsubstantiated accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The interview was first aired on Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, and following the discussion of Biden, Mitchell switched topics: “The Brett Kavanaugh hearings bringing back the trauma of the Clarence Thomas confirmation nearly three decades ago.” Hill recalled: “They were traumatic, not only for me, they were traumatic for members of my family.” Mitchell sympathized: “I watched your parents sitting there.”

 

 

The reporter lamented: “Anita Hill’s frustration, even after the Me Too movement and with women now on the Judiciary Committee, not enough has changed.” Mitchell teed up a Kavanaugh comparison: “Did you identify with Christine Blasey Ford?” Hill predictably replied: “I definitely did identify with her. Because it was still that intense pressure from this group of panelists on the committee who really didn’t seem to understand the issue of sexual harassment at all.”

Mitchell then asked Hill if she “had any contact” with Ford. Hill responded that she had contacted Ford, but Mitchell never followed up to clarify whether that contact came before or after Ford’s testimony before the Senate in the fall of 2018.

The Hill interview was re-aired on Friday’s Today show, with Mitchell proclaiming: “Anita Hill, in her first television interview since Joe Biden entered the race, raising uncomfortable questions about the way he chaired the Clarence Thomas hearings nearly three decades ago.” Talking to Hill, Mitchell fretted: “You’ve said that the Me Too movement was delayed for decades, probably, by the Thomas hearings in 1991.”

Though the correspondent made it clear that Hill would support Biden in order to take down Trump:

Biden apologized last spring before announcing his candidacy and she does not think the Thomas confirmation should rule him out....Nor does she equate Biden with Donald Trump, who has denied accusations of sexual assault....Could you conceive of voting for Joe Biden if he turns out to be the Democratic nominee against Donald Trump?

Hill assured: “Of course I could.”

Like on Nightly News, Mitchell shifted focus to Kavanaugh: “More recently, Hill was frustrated by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Women now on the panel but some things have not changed.” The question about whether Hill identified with Ford was then replayed.

It seems like the media search for any possible opportunity to put Anita Hill back in the headlines, no matter how tenuous. In this case, Mitchell was able to get Hill to voice support for Biden while hammering Trump and his Supreme Court pick, Kavanaugh. Quite a day’s work of bias.

Here is a full transcript of Mitchell’s June 14 report on the Today show:

7:11 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: Now let’s turn to an NBC News exclusive, a one-on-one with Anita Hill. It has been nearly 30 years now since she was thrust into the spotlight with sexual harassment accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Well, now, Hill is speaking out about the man who led that infamous hearing and now leads the Democratic presidential field, Joe Biden. Here’s NBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Anita Hill Speaks Out; Talks Biden, #MeToo & 2020]

ANDREA MITCHELL: Anita Hill, in her first television interview since Joe Biden entered the race, raising uncomfortable questions about the way he chaired the Clarence Thomas hearings nearly three decades ago. You’ve said that the Me Too movement was delayed for decades, probably, by the Thomas hearings in 1991. Do you think Joe Biden changed the course of history?

ANITA HILL: I think that, in totality, the hearing changed the course of history. And in some ways, it brought the issue forward. But in other ways, the way the hearings were conducted set us back. Because it became the model, I think, that other people followed.

MITCHELL: Biden apologized last spring before announcing his candidacy and she does not think the Thomas confirmation should rule him out.

HILL: I don't think it has disqualified him. He’s a perfectly capable of running for president.

MITCHELL: Nor does she equate Biden with Donald Trump, who has denied accusations of sexual assault.

HILL: Absolutely not. I never said that and I never intended to say that. And I’m not even sure that anything I’ve said has actually hurt Joe Biden’s campaign. He still is leading in the polls.

MITCHELL: Could you conceive of voting for Joe Biden if he turns out to be the Democratic nominee against Donald Trump?

HILL: Of course I could.

MITCHELL: More recently, Hill was frustrated by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Women now on the panel but some things have not changed. Did you identify with Christine Blasey Ford?

HILL: I definitely did identify with her. Because it was still that intense pressure from this group of panelists on the committee who really didn’t seem to understand the issue of sexual harassment at all.

MITCHELL: Have you had any contact with her?

HILL: I have, actually.

MITCHELL : Her message for other women –

HILL: I can say I really am a survivor. What I would like is for more people who experience it to be the same kind of survivor.

MITCHELL: Andrea Mitchell, NBC News.

MELVIN: When reached for comment, Biden’s campaign said they have nothing to add. Biden closed that hearing without allowing Hill to call two witnesses she said would corroborate her accusations. Meanwhile, Clarence Thomas is now the longest serving justice on the court and said recently that he has no plans to retire soon.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Kavanaugh Nomination Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats NBC NBC Nightly News Today Video Andrea Mitchell Anita Hill Clarence Thomas Brett Kavanaugh Donald Trump

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