Writer sees liberal bias in press

by Colin Grey | 11/1/93 6:00am

A conservative reporter blasted the media for allegedly biasing coverage of Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings and for attacking his best-selling book, "The Real Anita Hill."

David Brock, who writes for the American Spectator magazine, said Thursday night that the press did not adequately cover Thomas' confirmation hearings.

"The journalistic slant in the case of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings was both one of commission and omission," Brock said.

Brock said the press ignored the facts of the case and turned the issue into an ideological one because reporters could not find facts to back up Hill's testimony that Thomas had sexual harassed her.

"If any of this information had been known, Anita Hill would not have been lionized as the Rosa Parks of sexual harassment," Brock said.

Brock said the press gave him "the kind of vilification formerly reserved for conservative nominees" because of his conservative leanings and because his book questioned the assumption of Hill's veracity.

"I believe a fact war is one that Anita Hill supporters can never win," he said. "That is why throughout the many lectures she has given in the two years since the hearings, Anita Hill has refused to discuss any aspect other than the metaphysical."

Brock said he believes his book shifted the press' emphasis of Supreme Court confirmation hearings toward fact.

"That is just the kind of debate I wanted to provoke," he said.

Brock spoke at length about a review of his book by Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer in the May 24 edition of the New Yorker.

Brock said the article was "not a review at all, only a pastiche of hairsplitting. These reviewers were unable to show any basic factual errors."

Before the speech, students handed out parts of the New Yorker review, which claimed to contradict facts from Brock's book.

"We just wanted to give people a fuller picture of Anita Hill. We read David Brock's book and felt there were a lot of inaccuracies in it," Sean Donohue '95 said.

Students had mixed reactions to Brock's speech.

Megan Kossiakoff '97 said the speech was not what she expected. "I thought he was going to talk about the real debate. Instead, he tried to make everyone feel sorry for him for being a conservative. His speech did make me think a little about the way the press handles such issues, but his attitude was a bit naive."

Bill Kartalopoulos '97, who writes for The Dartmouth Review, said, "I believe his expose on the media to be valid, and that the same kind of journalistic imbalance which Brock spoke of also occurs here on the Dartmouth campus."

After the speech, about 25 of the 70 audience members left when English Professor Emeritus Jeffrey Hart told a joke about Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Hart's joke interrupted a question period after Brock's speech. Hart said, "Did you hear what Ted Kennedy said to Clarence Thomas during the hearings? He said, 'Clarence, you're pretty stupid. All you had to do was drown the bitch'."

Hart is the vice president of the Hopkins Institute, an organization of conservative alumni that sponsored the speech in 105 Dartmouth Hall. The Hopkins Institute has close ties to The Dartmouth Review.

Nora Freeman '97 said the joke was "the most offensive thing I've ever heard."

Hart said he did not find his joke offensive and said the students who left were rude and hostile.

Brock said he wrote his book because he said he found "large discrepancies" in Hill's testimony while doing an investigative report on the Senate hearings.