Christine Blasey Ford's sexual misconduct accusations against Brett Kavanaugh allows the Media Research Center to revel yet again in how much it hates Anita Hill for raising questions about conservative icon Clarence Thomas.
By Terry Krepel Posted 10/31/2018
The Media Research Center went into full spin mode defending Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and attempting to discredit allegations by a woman who said he had sexually assaulted her during a party during high school. One of the ways it did so is going back to an old trope: attacking Anita Hill, who had made accusations of sexual harassment against another conservative Supreme court nominee, Clarence Thomas.
The MRC has been bashingHill for more than a quarter-century, and the Kavanaugh story is giving it yet another excuse to do so. The MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell rant in their Sept. 21 column:
Anita Hill, perennially painted as the "Rosa Parks of sexual harassment" by the national press, is back on the scene as the media push the unproven teenage-groping accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. The New York Times asked her to write an op-ed on how we can get these next Kavanaugh hearings "right." The Boston Globe put Hill on the front page, lecturing about a better protocol in Congress for sexual harassment claims.
Asking Anita Hill how to get a fairer congressional hearing is like asking Janet Cooke how to get better newspaper reporting. If you're too young for the analogy, Janet Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for selling a fraudulent story in The Washington Post in 1980 about Jimmy, an imaginary 8-year-old heroin addict who "lives for a fix."
On ABC, George Stephanopoulos sympathetically asked if the prospect of hearings for Kavanaugh's accuser Christine Blasey Ford was meant as an intimidation tactic. Yes, that's right the same Stephanopoulos responsible for running "bimbos" into the political ditch for Bill Clinton.
Donald Trump could tweet it: Anita Hill's 1991 accusations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas were "fake news." The American people sided with Thomas. Even The Washington Post editorial board sided with Thomas. Her stories were never proven. But to this day, the media treat her as if her accusations were precious jewels of truth.
Even after her million-dollar book deal after she pledged she would not cash in on her story she is still portrayed as the victim, not the victimizer.
Graham and Bozell provided no evidence that Hill willfully lied about anything a la Janet Cooke -- odd, since they and the MRC have been demanding corroboration of Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Yet they continued to rant about Hill's "feminist fictions" and that "the accusers of Thomas and Kavanaugh have been 'weaponized' by liberals to spread lies about offenses that never happened."
Curtis Houck chimed in as well, responding to a commentator's claim that women who accuse powerful men of sexual harassment "don't benefit from this. Their lives are ruined. They are threatened. They are chased out of their homes" by retorting: He must have neglected to mention Anita Hill receiving a million dollar book deal, a job at Brandeis, commencement addresses, and celebrity status in liberal political circles." As with every other MRC employee who made the claim, Houck offers no evidence to back up his claim that Hill made her accusations against Thomas specifically to get a teaching gig and a book deal.
Nicholas Fondacaro asserted that one reporter "rewrote history and implied that Hill’s claims were credible," citing as evidence that, "according to polls done at the time, more people believed [Clarence] Thomas than Hill after the hearings were held." Fondacaro offered no evidence that public opinion polls were an accurate measure -- or any sort of measure at all -- of one's credibility.
Geoffrey Dickens, meanwhile, complained that (while, yes, citing an opinion poll claiming more people believed Thomas than Hill) the media was using the same "playbook" against Thomas that it is purportedly using against Kavanaugh. It's more accurate to claim that the MRC is using the same playbook against Kavanaugh's accusers that it did against Hill.
Meanwhile, over at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, Susan Jones penned a Sept. 19 piece attacking Hill and drawing parallels to Kavanaugh's accuser:
Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford -- the only two women to bring sexual accusations against nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court -- have certain memory lapses in common. And for what it's worth, they both hold degrees in psychology.
Christine Blasey Ford has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually attacking her in a bedroom at a party some 36 years ago, when both were in high school.
Yet Ford told the Washington Post she doesn't remember how the gathering came together; at whose home the party took place or exactly when it happened; how she got there; or how she got home after she fled from the house.
Questioned about that one-on-one dinner with her alleged tormenter, Hill could not remember the restaurant where the dinner took place; what type of food was served at the restaurant; whether she had a drink; or how either one of them got home.
"I took the subway home, if I recall correctly," Hill said in response to a question. "As I am recalling -- I'm not sure how I got home."
Even though Jones purports to be a objective reporter, she was seething with right-wing bias as she concluded:
Meanwhile, liberal media outlets are full of the "lose-lose" scenario for committee Republicans -- all white men -- faced with an alleged sexual assault victim in the "#MeToo" era, just weeks before the midterm election. And Judge Kavanaugh, even if he is confirmed, will have an asterisk attached to his good name, just as Clarence Thomas has, in what could be nothing more than a replay of an old, dirty trick.
Like her MRC bosses, Jones provided no evidence that Hill or Kavanaugh's accuser have lied.
Meanwhile, the hit jobs from the MRC kept coming:
Kyle Drennen complained that "as the broadcast networks all seized on Democratic demands for an FBI investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault claims against Brett Kavanaugh, reporters on NBC, ABC, and CBS were quick to point to the Bureau’s investigation of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment claims against Clarence Thomas in 1991. However, none of the supposed journalists could seem to remember that the outcome of that inquiry was inconclusive."
Drennen further complained that former Vice President Joe Biden "was given free rein to blast Republicans for trying to “character assassinate” Clarence Thomas accuser Anita Hill," huffing that the interviewer "never bothered to question the credibility of Hill’s claims against Thomas."
Clay Waters responded to a New York Times article arguing that "there is no upside for women who come forward with stories of sexual harassment or assault, especially when the accused is a famous or powerful man" by sneering that "Anita Hill is doing alright," linking to an item he did a few days earlier grousing about an "incredibly fawning interview" of Hill by the Boston Globe. A few days later, Waters further groused that Hill is a "longtime liberal media heroine."
Scott Whitlock grumbled that "CBS This Morning journalists on Friday lectured that Republicans during the Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault hearings are at risk of, once again, of being portrayed as 'clueless and insensitive men.' Just like in the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings from 1991," before going on to do his own lecturing: "With all the vague details of the accusations against Kavanaugh, it’s sloppy to link them to the Anita Hill case."
Fondacaro huffed that one commentator likened Republicans' treatment of Ford to "how Republicans were opening calling Anita Hill a liar in the ‘90s. Of course, there was no mention of Hill’s lies or how more people believed her than him." Fondacaro did not list a specific lie Hill supposedly told.
A column by Hans Bader asserted that some (read "liberal") journalists "continue to distort the facts about a 1991 Supreme Court nomination, in which the FBI and members of the U.S. Senate rejected as unfounded claims that Judge Clarence Thomas said sexually offensive things to Anita Hill." He repeated a claim from a conservative Weekly Standard -- not exactly an objective source -- claiming that "the evidence overwhelmingly supported Thomas’s innocence."
Tim Graham went back a couple decades to complain about skeptical media treatment of Clinton accuser Paula Jones, huffing that "This was not the Anita Jones treatment" and further whining that "No Newsweek story ever detailed 'Anita Hill's Credibility Gap.'" Graham offered no evidence that Jones' story was corroborated in the manner the MRC demanded Ford's story be. Graham also complained that media portrayals of Ford as having no political ax to grind are "from the Anita Hill playbook."
MRC attacks author who wrote about Hill
The MRC's vicious antipathy for all things Hill even extends to someone who wrote about her. During its kill-the-messenger phase of the Brett Kavanaugh story when Geoffrey Dickens wrote a Sept. 26 post complaining about the "hit piece" co-written by the New Yorker's Jane Mayer about Kavanaugh's drunken college years replete with allegations of sexual misbehavior. Dickens huffed that "a look at her past demonstrates why her work should be taken with biggest grains of salt as she has become a go-to author for partisan attack stories," adding that her Kavanaugh story is "just the latest in a long list of hit pieces against conservatives."
The MRC despises Mayer, mostly due to its hatred of Hill. As Dickens wrote: "Mayer first enjoyed the liberal limelight when she (along with co-author Jill Abramson) released her anti-Clarence Thomas book in 1994. The book Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas was such a hit with the left, Mayer and company were rewarded with Showtime turning it into a 1999 movie." Dickens offered no evidence that "Strange Justice" was "anti-Clarence Thomas"; perhaps he's confusing being pro-truth for being anti-conservative.
Meanwhile Dickens made sure to leave off the list one prominent story that discredits his conspiracy theory -- and one that the MRC itself touted.
As Mayer herself reminds people like Dickens who reflexively accuse her of anti-conservative bias, she co-wrote in May with Ronan Farrow (who co-wrote the Kavanaugh piece with her) an article detailing sexual misconduct by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which caused him to resign a mere three hours after its publication.
Since Schneiderman was a Democrat who targeted President Trump's shady business dealings, the MRC loved that story:
Tim Graham touted "The New Yorker revelations of Schneiderman’s allegedly violent behavior toward girlfriends."
Drennen noted an MSNBC appearance by "Jane Mayer, who actually co-authored the article that revealed Scheiderman’s alleged abusive behavior toward women which led to his resignation."
Tom Blumer highlighted "Jane Mayer's and Ronan Farrow's bombshell New Yorker piece" that "succinctly summarized the horrors" of Schneiderman. Another Blumer piece relayed how "Now-former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's serial and often violent mistreatment of women chronicled on Monday at The New Yorker."
OtherMRCpieces referenced the Schneiderman scandal without mentioning Mayer or the New Yorker.
Nevertheless, the MRC has it in for Mayer now. The fact that the MRC loved Mayer just a few months ago but hates her now solely on the basis of who she writes about goes a long way to explaining the partisan shallowness that guides the MRC and why its "media research" can't be trusted.