Another Year of Hating Anita Hill
A spate of sexual harassment allegations have given the Media Research Center one more opportunity to trash Hill and suggest her motivation for speaking out against Clarence Thomas was a book deal and a law-school job.
By Terry Krepel
For a quarter of a century, the MRC has repeatedly trashed Anita Hill for raising accusations of sexual harassment against conservative icon Clarence Thomas. And as Hill's name has come up amid the current spate of scandals, it's trashing Hill anew.
In an April 20 post, Kyle Drennen complained that NBC used the Bill O'Reilly sexual harassment scandal to "resurrect the unsubstantiated 1991 smear campaign against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Astonishingly, the numerous sexual harassment claims against former President Bill Clinton were never mentioned."
The same day, the MRC's Scott Whitlock similarly whined:
In the wake of Bill O’Reilly’s exit from Fox News, USA Today on Thursday decided to highlight a woman who endured sexual harassment from someone powerful and is now the “torchbearer in the decades-long fight against sexual harassment.” Unsurprisingly, that woman is not Paula Jones or one of the women who stood up to Bill Clinton’s sexual harassment. It’s Anita Hill and her efforts to take down Clarence Thomas.
Funny how Whitlock didn't describe Paula Jones, et al, as having the goal of trying to "take down" Clinton.
As the sexual harassment scandals accelerated during the fall, Tim Graham gleefully recounted in a Nov. 1 post how NPR senior vice president for news Michael Oreskes lost his job over harassment claims. Graham invoked his old obsession in the process, chortling that "This could be seen as a boomerang for NPR, which took so much pride in pushing the unsubstantiated sex-harassment charges of Anita Hill against black conservative Clarence Thomas in 1991 when it looked like he would be comfortably confirmed to the Supreme Court."
But shouldn't Graham be as disbelieving of Oreskes' accusers as he remains of Hill, given that they also apparently lack substantiation? He doesn't explain the double standard. Instead, he hypocritically trashed another Oreskes accuser for failing to speak out sooner.
The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro suggested that Hill was a liar in a Nov. 19 post attacking "make-believe Republican" Matthew Dowd (apparently in Fondacaro's world, "real Republicans" must never hold their own to account) for bringing up Hill:
They basically called Anita Hill a nut and a liar in order to get Justice Thomas on the court. They empowered Bill Clinton, ” he continued to proclaim, devoid of any facts or reason. “ But in order to get those things, they decided the ends justify the means. They decided that a tainted person was better to get what they wanted.” He also claimed Trump’s supporters were guilty of siding with a tainted person just to get what they wanted. But his “tainted” label could also be applied to the Clintons.
Yes, Fondacaro suggested Hill was lying in the very next paragraph after accusing Dowd of lacking "facts or reason" to back up his claim that Hill was attacked as a liar.
Two days later, Graham proved Dowd right again as he once again portrayed Hill as a lying gold-digger who made her accusations solely in order to get a book advance and a cushy law-school job: "Republican Sen. Arlen Specter suggested Hill may have committed perjury, which outraged the liberals. Hill insisted she wasn’t making the allegations to make a buck....and then signed a million-dollar book deal and took a prestigious law professor job at Brandeis, where she still works."
Over at the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, Craig Bannister cranked out a "flashback" blog post insisting that "Hill’s claims were discredited by, among other things, the testimony of more than a dozen female former co-workers who came forward to declare, in no uncertain terms, that Thomas was 'a man of the highest principle, honesty, integrity and honor in all of his personal and professional actions.' They called Hill’s claims 'ludicrous' and 'unbelievable.'"
As evidence, Bannister cited a website called ConfirmationBiased.com (whose name Bannister gets wrong), which he writes was "launched to expose the political bias and inaccuracies of the 2016 HBO movie on the Hill-Thomas controversy, 'Confirmation'." But he didn't mention that the attack website was created by Mark Paoletta, an attorney who worked on the team assembled under President George H.W. Bush to forward Thomas' nomination and who considers himself a personal friend of Thomas. It's hardly an objective view of things.
Graham and MRC chief Brent Bozell took a minor potshot at Hill in their Dec. 8 column: "Anita Hill had no photograph of Thomas grabbing her; she never claimed that he did. He was accused of talking dirty, and for that alone, the Democrats wanted him voted down."
However, news that Hill had been named by a group of entertainment executives to lead a commission tasked to address sexual harassment and inequality in the entertainment and news industries really cranked up the MRC's wrath.
Kyle Drennen denounced Hill as "discredited" and having "credibility problems" who made "disputed accusations." The only evidence Drennen provided for his claims was, yes, a link to that less-than-objective CNS blog post.
Graham, meanwhile, continues to despise Hill so much that he needed two posts to vent his rage. In the first, he actually called Hill's allegations "fake news" then spun his own version of the Hill-Thomas controversy, in which he once again pushed his unproven conspiracy theory that Hill came forward because she was chasing a book deal and a cushy law-school job:
After months of trying to defeat Thomas, the Democrats were about to lose the confirmation fight. So at the last minute, NPR and Newsday introduced Anita Hill and her unproven story. Hill testified, and Clarence Thomas strongly rebutted her allegations. When the weekend of hearings were over, a New York Times poll found the American people strongly believed Thomas over Hill, even women:
In his second rant, Graham railed against Hill over her 1998 comments regarding allegations against Bill Clinton, in which she reacted the same way that some conservatives have regarding the similar accusations against Donald Trump: it was known before the election, and the voters elected him anyway. Graham didn't mention that parallel of course; instead, he huffed, "If you are a true fighter against any and all sexual harassment, why would one refuse to acknowledge the women accusing Clinton as experiencing sexual harassment?"
(Of course, Graham himself is not a true fighter against any and all sexual harassment, given that he and the rest of the MRC have a certain Fox News-shaped blind spot on the issue.)
Graham concluded by declaring that Hollywood looks "desperate and preposterous" by appointing Hill to this effort. But is that more or less desperate and preposterous than Graham and the rest of the MRC look in their quarter-century Hill-trashing obsession? Graham, of course, has no comment on that.
The old attacks were rehashed yet again in a post by Clay Waters, who sneered, "If Anita Hill's the answer, maybe one should rephrase the question."
We don't recall anyone at the MRC ever questioning the credibility of, say, Bill Clinton's accusers the way Hill has been hammered. But then, their accusations serve the MRC's right-wing agenda, while accusations against conservatives impede it.
Face it: Trashing women who threaten conservative politicians and media figures will always be a part of the DNA of the MRC.