On Wednesday, the story of Ginni Thomas phoning Anita Hill
and asking her to apologize was all the rage. One day later, that controversy was overshadowed by news that NPR had fired Juan Williams
for comments he made on Fox News.
While these back-to-back stories illustrated how fickle the news media are (obsessing over one story until a newer one takes its place), there are also some interesting parallels as well.
First, there is the obvious ironic point that each story spotlights an African-American man who was attacked by liberals. What is more, both Thomas and Williams have largely prevailed (the former was confirmed to the Supreme Court, and the latter just landed a $2 million contract
But there are other links, as well. As Howard Kurtz wrote
in the Daily Beast, Williams' career was greatly impacted by his coverage of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings:
When [Williams] was a Washington Post columnist in 1991, he took immense heat from his "side" for defending Clarence Thomas against Anita Hill's charges -- a story that has catapulted back into the news this week with Thomas' wife Ginni asking Hill for an apology
And there is an indirect link too. David Brock, founder of Media Matters for America, is in some ways connected to both stories.
As Karen Tumulty and Kevin Merida recently noted
at the Washington Post,
In 1993, Ginni Thomas attended a book party for author David Brock upon the publication of his book "The Real Anita Hill," which raised questions about Hill's credibility. When he admitted in a subsequent book, "Blinded by the Right," that his Hill reporting had been slanted, he became a pariah among conservatives. A concerned Thomas left a voice mail for Brock saying that she was praying for him and that she hoped they could still be friends.
Why is the Brock/Thomas connection relevant today?
As previously noted, Brock went on to found Media Matters for America, a group that spends a considerable amount of time monitoring Fox News -- and a group that has also been critical of Williams' appearances on the network.
This week, it was announced that liberal billionaire George Soros donated $1 million to Media Matters. It also turns out that Soros coincidentally
donated $1.8 million to NPR the other day.
For obvious reasons, many conservatives are suspicious
that Soros' NPR donation, and Williams' termination, may, in some way, be linked.