Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Allegations Against Clarence Thomas Highlight Media’s Double Standard (Again)

via Big Journalism by AWR Hawkins on 11/3/10

When Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1991, his Senate confirmation turned out to be what he described to as a "high tech lynching." This was chiefly because accusations of sexual harassment by a co-worker, Anita Hill, were "leaked" to the press, then given a position of prominence in the hearings. With this, the white, liberal onslaught against a black conservative began in earnest.

Following the tortuous hearings, the Senate rejected Hill's accusations and confirmed Thomas 52-48.

End of story, right? Wrong. Although Thomas became an Associate Justice, the mainstream media has continued to remind people of Hill's accusations again and again (in a not-so-subtle attempt to discredit Thomas and his conservatism altogether).

As a matter of fact, on October 24, 2010, a full nineteen years since Thomas was confirmed, Lillian McEwen, a woman who describes herself as one of his past girlfriends, appeared on CNN's Larry King to revisit Hill's accusations.

When King brought up Hill's accusations, McEwen would not denounce them. But she did tell King that when she was in a relationship with Thomas, he was a "raving alcoholic" whose worldview was framed by pornography.

While King and McEwen interacted on air, I couldn't help but notice that he never once asked her if someone could verify her claims. In other words, he didn't seem to care that her claims might prove as vacuous as Hill's had nineteen years ago. Rather, he treasured the opportunity to ask leading questions that succeeded in securing what every liberal the world over wanted to see: newspaper headlines highlighting a drinking problem and a porn addiction Thomas allegedly had in years gone by.

But if King's interview of McEwen is the only substantiation of such claims available, how can honest journalists and news outlets run with this storyline?

Or, to put it another way, where is this same degree of media interest in revisiting Juanita Broaddrick's claim that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her?  (Doesn't Clinton's track record at least make it feasible that he could have possibly assaulted her, and shouldn't such feasibility justify a few tough questions?) And when is Larry King hosting a guest who will provide an overview of Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner's tax problems and his failure to pay the standard Social Security and Medicare paycheck deductions "from 2001 to 2004"? And when are we going to have a series of solid interviews with some of President Obama's old friends, so we can figure out just how much "blow" he did when was trying to "ease the pain of his ongoing struggle to define his racial identity" during his college years?

Call it a hunch, but I think it's a safe bet that King won't bring up Broaddrick's allegations, Geithner's tax problems, or Obama's cocaine use any time soon. Yet I'll bet the farm that if anyone wants to step up and accuse Associate Justice Thomas of bestiality, King will rearrange his entire schedule to air more unfounded claims against the black conservative.

Rarely has the double-standard of current journalism been so visible (if one can really consider King's show an example of journalism).

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