In covering the recent presidential campaign, the mainstream media far too often made the perfect the enemy of the good, believes Leigh Gilmore -- “the good” in this case being synonymous with “Hillary Clinton.” Gilmore, a professor in the women's and gender studies department at Hillary’s undergraduate alma mater, Wellesley, claims that “the bias against Hillary Clinton was not simply a story the media reported -- it was the unexamined narrative the press repeated over and over...Why was the lie more persistent than the truth? Why was ‘Crooked Hillary’ a more compelling figure than ‘Fundamentally Honest Hillary’?”
How does a reporter write about the history of sexual harassment in D.C. without mentioning Bill Clinton? The New York Times managed it, in a sharply partisan view of sexual harassment in Washington on Thursday by political reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “As Politics Meets Power, Harassment Flourishes.” There was nothing of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick, or of more recent vintage, Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s domestic controversies. But conservative Justice Clarence Thomas was featured prominently, and two Republican senators received unflattering mentions as well:
It was October 9, 1991. The subject was the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill showdown and then-New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen was furious. Quindlen’s fury was evident in the title of her column that day. It was as short and simple as it was blunt: Listen to Us.
The New York Times went after the Republican candidate hammer and tong Friday and Saturday on accusations of past sexual misconduct, while continuing to downgrade long-standing, mostly unaired charges made against Bill Clinton, a man who would return to the White House if his wife defeats Trump in November. Reporter Jonathan Martin found Donald Trump flirting with anti-Semitism in “Trump’s Barrage Of Heated Speech Has Little Precedent.”
In an attempt to demonstrate how pervasive sexual assault was in politics Tuesday, CBS Evening News went back to the 90’s for a heinous example. No, they didn’t cover the plethora of examples swirling around former President Bill Clinton. Instead, they chose one of their favorite conservative punching bags, Justice Clarence Thomas. “While these stories are being shared across social media today, the theme and its reality are nothing new,” stated CBS reporter Anna Werner before taking her shots at Thomas.
HBO should stand for History Bungling Office. Over and over again, they have abused their disclaimer that “This film is a fact-based dramatization.” They re-litigated Al Gore’s 2000 “victory” in Recount. They viciously cartooned Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential candidacy in Game Change. Now they’re smearing Clarence Thomas as a pervert and painting Anita Hill as a saint of sexual harassment in Confirmation.
The makers of this “fact-based” movie claim it’s balanced. Baloney. The advertisements give away the game. Over the face of actress (and executive producer) Kerry Washington playing St. Anita are the words “It only takes one voice to change history.”
Confirmation, HBO’s new “fact-based dramatization” of the October 1991 Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill clash, reminded Jill Abramson, a former New York Times Washington bureau chief, managing editor, and executive editor, of “more recent congressional proceedings” that featured both “a lone woman witness” and copious Republican misogyny.
“Hillary Clinton was the star of this show trial, the Benghazi hearings last fall,” wrote Abramson in a Friday column for the U.S. edition of the liberal British newspaper The Guardian. “Both sets of hearings were billed as fact-finding exercises, but turned out to be poisonous displays of partisanship. The Republican attack machine was turned, full force, on both witnesses. With stoicism and poise, both Hill and Hillary withstood the onslaught to fight other, more important battles.”
We're about to re-live the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings all over again, courtesy of HBO. The respected pay channel debuts Confirmation at 8 p.m. EST April 16. The movie casts Kerry Washington as Anita Hill, the law professor who claimed Thomas sexually harassed her in the work place.
Some of the real-life Republicans who played key roles in the film aren’t happy about the production. They cite an early version of the script they deemed unfair and floated potential lawsuits against its depictions. Who’s right? We won’t know until the film debuts, but here are four signs Confirmation may be heavily tilted in Hill’s favor:
In the sixth segment in less than two weeks promoting HBO’s movie rehash of the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker spoke to the stars of the film and proclaimed: “Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill are back in the headlines thanks to Confirmation. It’s a dramatized version of the controversial Senate hearings, premiering this week on HBO.”
In a softball exchange with Anita Hill on Monday to promote the new HBO film commemorating her sexual harassment claims against Clarence Thomas, co-host Savannah Guthrie touted the law professor as a “reluctant witness” during the 1991 hearings that attempted to sink the nomination of the future Supreme Court justice.
In a stunning moment on Friday’s NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually pressed liberal actress Kerry Washington – starring in HBO’s new film on the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings – on whether the biopic was really just a piece of “political propaganda.”
On Tuesday, NBC’s Today promoted the new HBO movie Confirmation, about the 1991 Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings and the smear campaign waged against him based on false sexual harassment claims from Anita Hill. Actor Greg Kinnear insisted that Senator Joe Biden was nothing but fair throughout the hearings: “...if you watch just the hearings, you certainly get a sense of the – of his trying to walk the line. Of his trying to be impartial and to try to get this thing through.”