FLASHBACK: Media Smeared Clarence Thomas and GOP, But Sainted Anita Hill

Immediately marks the thirtieth anniversary of Anita Hill’s first day of testimony towards present Supreme Courtroom Justice Clarence Thomas and we at NewsBusters determined to have a look again on the stark distinction in how they trashed Thomas however sainted Hill.

When Justice Clarence Thomas was effectively on his strategy to being confirmed in 1991, the Democrats introduced forth Anita Hill to accuse Thomas of sexual harassment, in a final ditch try and derail his nomination. 

On the time (in accordance with a USA Immediately October 14, 1991 ballot) the general public believed Clarence Thomas by 47 % over Anita Hill (24 %)…so the media rallied round Hill. 

Whereas Thomas and his congressional defenders had been demonized, Hill was immediately canonized as a Rosa Parks for her time by the likes of Time’s Nancy Gibbs — and she or he’s been celebrated as a truth-telling activist since then. 

In the course of the top of the #MeToo motion in 2018 PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, on the January 4 version of NewsHour, pressed then-former Vice President Joe Biden to talk on his function within the Hill-Thomas hearings: “We’ve watched this unimaginable MeToo motion. In reference to that, you might have stated that you simply owe Anita Hill an apology about what occurred again in 1991, the Clarence Thomas episode. Have you ever contacted her, primary? And, quantity two, do you suppose, this time, it’s completely different, that we’re seeing with the MeToo motion one thing that’s actually going to steer for change, to vary for ladies?”



Barbara Walters rolled out the pink carpet for Hill’s March 19, 2014 look on ABC’s The View as she gushed: “I might similar to to say that I’m honored to be assembly you. I watched these hearings, as did so many different folks. And to so many people, you had been our heroine.” 

On the October 10, 2011 version of ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts invited her on to debate her “legacy”: “Take us again. What had been your feelings?…Are you continue to indignant?…Do you suppose it could have been completely different, had they taken place throughout the social media age, the place folks would have been tweeting about it and posting and maybe different girls would have come ahead?…I do know there’s nonetheless many books to be written, however [what’s] your legacy?”



Again in 1991 the press excoriated Thomas and lauded Hill. 

The next is a glance again, by way of the MRC’s archives, of how the media handled the 1991 Thomas-Hill hearings:  

Anita’s Allies

“Given the element and consistency of her testimony, it was nearly inconceivable that Hill, slightly than describing her personal experiences, was fabricating the portrait of a sexual-harassment sufferer….Thomas’ two classes of indignant rebuttal had been compelling. Besides riveting an look couldn’t mitigate the affect of Hill’s personal eight hours of nearly uninterrupted testimony….her story struck a resonant chord with numerous girls throughout America.”
Time Affiliate Editor Jill Smolowe, October 21, 1991 difficulty.

“After which there was Anita Hill, the poised daughter of so many generations of black girls who’ve been burned carrying torches into the battle for precept. The reason for civil rights and social justice has so typically fallen to them to defend. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Fact had been slaves by beginning, freedom fighters by temperament. Rosa Parks was a drained seamstress who shoved historical past ahead by refusing to surrender her seat on the bus….The most recent to assert her place in line is Anita Hill, a personal, skilled girl unwilling to relinquish her dignity with out a combat.”
Time Affiliate Editor Nancy Gibbs, October 21, 1991 difficulty.

“And what about the truth that Hill maintained such dignity and stamina in such sordid and sleazy environment? It needed to happen to some viewers as they watched the best way she dealt with herself that she would have made a a lot better Supreme Courtroom nominee than Thomas does.”
Washington Publish tv critic Tom Shales, October 12, 1991.

“Properly, it appears that evidently girls have misplaced but once more….Right here we have now an instance of, everybody in America obtained to see what occurs when one girl stands as much as a person in an all-male tribunal. She was humiliated.”
Wall Avenue Journal reporter Susan Faludi on Immediately, October 16, 1991. 


Clubbing Clarence

“There was loads of cause to vote towards him with out this….[Anita Hill] has finished nothing to counsel she has a credibility downside, whereas Clarence Thomas has finished lots to counsel that he can lie fairly simply.”
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, October 12, 1991 McLaughlin Group.


Soiled White Home Politics

“I believe that he [Thomas] had the benefit of prime time on Friday night time. He had every part going for him. The Democrats didn’t ask him robust questions concerning the info of her cost they usually did, the Republicans did a fantastic job of hammering her. It’s principally what occurred within the ‘88 marketing campaign. The Republicans know learn how to combat soiled.”
— NBC congressional reporter Andrea Mitchell, October 15, 1991 Immediately.

Arlen Specter: Supply of All Evil

“The bottom level on the primary day of the listening to got here when Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter implied that Hill had merely fantasized Thomas’ asking for dates and his lurid remarks about pornography. It’s all however inconceivable {that a} equally certified man, black or white, could be accused not merely of mendacity however of imagining issues.”
Time Senior Editor Jack E. White, October 21, 1991.

“Alan Simpson, for these of us who had been too younger to know what Joe McCarthy was actually like, Alan Simpson confirmed us. `I’ve in my pocket two dozen card-carrying smearers towards this terrible girl,’ after which he produced these smears, these bombshells, they usually had been duds.”
Wall Avenue Journal Washington Bureau Chief Al Hunt on CNN’s Capital Gang, October 19, 1991.


Alan Simpson: Supply of All Evil

“The times of Simpson Stylish are over. Now he’s extra typically in comparison with Crimson-baiter Joe McCarthy. The picture of Simpson flinging open his jacket and declaring he had plenty of `stuff’ towards Anita Hill – whereas revealing nothing – was the bottom of many low factors within the Clarence Thomas hearings. Any Senator with a way of historical past ought to have stated, as legal professional Joseph Welch finally did to McCarthy, `Senator, have you ever no disgrace?’….[Simpson] is writing a e book concerning the media – a bit like Stalin discussing intergovernmental relations.”
Newsweek Washington reporter Eleanor Clift, October 28, 1991 information story.

“Senator Alan Simpson, who normally manages to cover his meanness behind an Andy Rooney facade, warned Hill that she could be `injured and destroyed and belittled and hounded and harassed – actual harassment, completely different from the sexual sort, simply plain outdated Washington-variety harassment.’”
Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson, October 21, 1991.

“I’ve been on this city for 21 years, they usually play a vicious model of politics in Washington. Washington could be a imply city. This was as vicious a combat as I’ve ever seen besides it was completely one-sided….Whenever you had Alan Simpson standing up there like Joe McCarthy, reaching in his pockets and saying `I’m getting stuff via faxes, and everywhere in the nation,’ he sounded similar to Joe McCarthy, let’s face it. And also you had Arlen Specter, who was a prosecutor at one time, saying that she dedicated perjury, when most likely you couldn’t discover one other prosecutor within the nation that might inform you that she had dedicated perjury.”
Los Angeles Occasions Washington Bureau Chief Jack Nelson on Washington Week in Evaluate, October 18, 1991.


Hatch and Different Republicans: Supply of All Evil

“Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), whose painstaking smear of Hill had been one of many uglier facets of an inordinately ugly ordeal, rose yesterday to repeat gratuitously lots of the innuendoes towards Hill on the Senate ground.”
Washington Publish TV critic Tom Shales, October 16.

“Lee Atwater have to be smiling someplace. His fellow Republicans haven’t forgotten learn how to go for the jugular, as demonstrated throughout their `investigation’ into Anita Hill’s cost that she was sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas. The Republicans confirmed simply how soiled and efficient their throw-all-the-mud-you-can act will be.”
Boston Globe enterprise reporter Joan Vennochi, October 16, 1991.


Clarence Thomas Affirmation: Extra Sore Losers

“Bush must also bear the burden…[for] a Republican group effort not solely to appoint Thomas however to destroy Anita Hill. Whereas Biden bent over backward to be honest to Thomas’ witnesses and to the nominee himself, the Republican group of Senators known as Hill a liar, questioned her sanity for bringing a sexual-harassment cost, and, by twisting and distorting Hill’s statements, concluded she had dedicated perjury. This was Willie Horton once more.”
— Robert Healy, former Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief, October 20, 1991.

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