We’ve seen the media and the Democrats use this playbook before. When Justice Clarence Thomas was well on his way to being confirmed in 1991, the Democrats brought forth Anita Hill to accuse Thomas of sexual harassment, in a last ditch attempt to derail his nomination. And while it remains to be seen if the media turn the Brett Kavanaugh nomination process into a similar circus it’s instructive to see what they did back then.
With the charges of an alleged attempted sexual assault swirling around the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the liberal media pounced on the obligatory comparison to the allegations of sexual misconduct against Justice Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill. On NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell rewrote history and implied that Hill’s claims were credible, hoping the charges would sink the nomination this time around.
It’s not as if we haven’t seen this before. Twenty-seven years ago, a last-minute accusation of sexual harassment prompted the Senate to re-open Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas’s confirmation hearings; the ‘he-said, she-said’ confrontation was a media spectacle, including prime-time coverage on the broadcast networks. When it was over, the Media Research Center analyzed the coverage, and found journalists criticized Republicans for being too harsh on Anita Hill, while criticizing Democrats for being too soft on Thomas.
Where have we seen this play before: A woman comes forward to accuse a conservative of inappropriate behavior in hopes of harming him sufficiently so he will be unable to achieve his policy objectives? People with even short memories will recall “act one” was Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, who in 1991 accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Ultimately, it was Hill’s word against Thomas’ and he was appointed to the Supreme Court by a Senate vote of 52-48.
In light of the recent accusations against Les Moonves, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver found it his duty to address workplace harassment and to help resurrect an old liberal hero. On his July 29 show, after giving his own thoughts about sexual harassment, Oliver turned to the person he said “kickstarted” the conversation about workplace harassment back in the 90s; this was none other than Anita Hill who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment after he was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991.
PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff interviewed former vice president Joe Biden on Thursday night, and most of it consisted of please-attack-Trump softballs. Woodruff's most urgent pushback to Biden came on when he would be apologizing to Anita Hill for somehow mistreating her during the 1991 Hill-Thomas hearings. When Biden said he hadn't contacted Hill, Woodruff shot back "Do you plan to?" This is odd, since the PBS anchor should spend some time on her show exploring sexual harassment at PBS.
Anita Hill to Hollywood’s rescue? That was the theme on the front of Thursday’s Arts page. Cara Buckley’s Hollywood column hailed Clarence Thomas’s accuser as a movie-industry savior in “Can She Fix The Sexual Misconduct Problem?” Meanwhile, Buckley conveniently ignores the fact that the public backed Thomas’s interpretation of events, not Hill’s, and that Hill lost her passion for sexual harassment justice when it was President Bill Clinton under fire (Clinton’s not even mentioned here).
Even with their industry embroiled in numerous sexual harassment scandals, the CEOs of major media companies still stuck to their liberal agenda as they announced on Saturday that a new Sexual Harassment Commission would be chaired by discredited Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill.
Senator Al Franken, Comedian of Minnesota, was pressed by a majority of Senate Democrats to resign in the wake of a growing pile of accusations of grabbing women in sexual ways. When the number of accusers reached a critical mass,“They turned on one of their party’s most popular figures with stunning swiftness,” reported The Washington Post. That’s a pretty dramatic decline from the heights just nine months ago, when the Post was preparing him for the White House.
In the midst of all the sexual harassment shockers emerging from the media, Hollywood, and politics, the Left is still hailing Anita Hill as the patron saint of sexual harassment. An especially egregious case unfolded on Thursday afternoon, as the NPR show Fresh Air with Terry Gross spent a half-hour re-litigating Clarence Thomas as a harasser with his old journalistic nemesis Jane Mayer (now with The New Yorker) and feminist author Rebecca Traister.The online summary was headlined “For Years, Anita Hill Was A 'Canary In The Coal Mine' For Women Speaking Out.” Only after they’d exhausted two-thirds of the hour on Hill-Thomas, did they turn to the harassment controversies that are not 26 years old.
With all the focus on Roy Moore and accusations of sexual harassment, CBS chose to go back to the ‘90s for a historical example. But, no. Not Bill Clinton. Instead, a Norah O’Donnell segment hyped “trailblazer” Anita Hill. The CBS This Morning host even noted questions as to whether then-Senator Joe Biden did enough to stop Clarence Thomas.
The New York Times “gender editor” Jessica Bennett made her debut on Tuesday’s front page taking on the sexual harassment allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in “How Weinstein Scandal Became the Final Straw.” Bennett drew out the history of sexual harassment by political figures coming into the media spotlight (predictably skipping liberal Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy). She conveniently dated the sexual harassment “tsunami” to the allegations by Anita Hill against conservative Judge Clarence Thomas, publicized in an attempt to sink his Supreme Court nomination. An enormous picture of Hill testifying during the hearings dominated the top of the online version, with 293 words devoted to her, not including the text box and two photo captions. Bennett also included 153 words related to Donald Trump, and let a source call him an “accused sexual predator.”