In Anita Hill Chatter, Networks Keep Skipping Over Bill Clinton, Going from Thomas to Trump

October 21st, 2017 10:23 PM

It seems like wherever Anita Hill came up in this week’s conversations about Harvey Weinstein, the liberal media kept up that annoying tactic of skipping from Hill’s 1991 allegations directly to Donald Trump’s Access Hollywood remarks, dug up weeks before the 2016 election. Allegations against Bill Clinton don’t come up. Only allegations against Republicans are admitted in their fake-news history lesson. 

Professor Hill appeared on Wednesday morning’s New Day, for example.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A young reporter, three years out of college, and I was at my first -- one of my first TV jobs. And all of us, when you were testifying, we would go in -- crowd into the conference room to watch you. And this was men, women -- I mean all of us were riveted. And it felt like something was changing. It felt like because of your testimony something was going to change. And even afterwards, it felt like maybe there was more awareness and that something had changed. And I'm just curious of how it felt from where you were sitting back then.

ANITA HILL, ACCUSED CLARENCE THOMAS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: From where I was sitting, it was agonizing, of course. And I had no idea during the testimony what would happen afterwards, what would happen to me or what would happen to the public in general and our understanding of sexual harassment.

CAMEROTA: So, fast-forward 26 years. Here we are again during the Harvey Weinstein scandal. What has it been like for you to watch these women come forward and watch all of this unfold?

It was a little ironic when Camerota then asked Hill “How is it possible that one powerful man can victimize scores of women over decades?” One answer is liberal media outlets that refuse to treat the allegations as serious. Here again is the Thomas-and-then-Trump spin:

CAMEROTA: As there so often is, the money and power involved. And it's interesting to see how different powerful men have fared against these accusations. Obviously, Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court justice. President Trump, who, when the "Access Hollywood" tape came out, many women thought, well, that would be the end, but he was elected president. And then there's Harvey Weinstein, who, in short order, has been terminated, and Roger Ailes, who, in short order, after accusations, he was ousted from Fox News. And, so, where do you think we are today with scenarios like this?

HILL: Well, as you've stated before, awareness has been raised. But clearly we have not held everybody accountable. And we don't have any real way to think about this when we have these public figures, how do we hold each of them accountable.

You know, the public, in Donald Trump's case, voted. And so it was an election. And, in politics, I think it's very different than in business. The laws really do deal with what goes on in the workplace. The anti-discrimination laws that people bring harassment claims under deal only with the workplace. They do not deal with politics. And that's one distinction I think that we need to take into account when we talk about how people escape.

But I would also say that the way you define escape is important, too, because Donald Trump is still scrutinized for his Access Hollywood comments. And I believe so is Clarence Thomas, even though he sits on the Supreme Court.

This kept happening across the networks. Sunny Hostin – a co-host of ABC’s The View – appeared on Wednesday’s Nightline about sexual abuse charges within the U.S. Olympic gymnastics scene. 

HOSTIN: I think we're gonna see a cultural change. We first started talking about sexual harassment with Anita Hill. Remember that. Then I think the next real shift came when Gretchen Carlson came forward about Roger Ailes. And then you see Bill O'Reilly. You see Eric Bolling, Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, and now you're seeing the USA Gymnastics team, also many, many gymnasts coming forward.

It also happened on Thursday night on the 6 pm MSNBC show The Beat with Ari Melber:

ARI MELBER: When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, she pointed to remarks that, at the time, some defended as just words.

ANITA HILL, IN 1991 TESTIMONY: On several occasions, Thomas told me graphically of his own sexual prowess. On other occasions, he referred to the size of his own penis as being larger than normal. And he also spoke on some occasions of the pleasures he had given to women.

MELBER: There was much debate at the time, but the Senate confirmed Thomas. Last year, over a dozen women accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment and unconsented contact, accusations that seem to match Trump`s own boasts leaked on the Access Hollywood tape. He also used a "just words" defense by saying it was locker room talk.

Stories of the  famous and powerful can set a tone, but we know sexual assault against women is a violent crime that one, occurs often across the country, two, is underreported, and three, is under-enforced.

Melber can't mention that Bill Clinton was accused of rape by Juanita Broaddrick, a charge investigated in 1999 by NBC's own Lisa Myers, who still finds Broaddrick credible.