No one who followed politics 20 years ago will forget the night when Clarence Thomas sent an electric charge through a Senate hearing room. As liberal Democrats pushed the unproven sexual harassment charges of Anita Hill, in an attempt to destroy Thomas's chance to serve on the Supreme Court, Thomas called them out for conducting a national disgrace. "This is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves."
This line packed a wallop because Hill's charges were about as proven as the old charges of perverted indecency against white women that were concocted by racists. Whether her claims were true or not was utterly irrelevant to liberals. All that mattered was that Thomas be ruined and that black conservatives be denied a role model so prominent and so accomplished.
Twenty years later, it sounds like an echo. Once again, the liberal media have provided an unproven charge (of unknown severity) of sexual harassment, filed by two anonymous women who allegedly settled complaints with the National Restaurant Association in 1999. The newspaper Politico offered an incredibly vague story that somehow required four reporters to compile.
This is how vague the claims were, which Politico rushed to publish. They assert there were "conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature," and also, "descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual" but made women uncomfortable. What does all this mean? At least in Hill's case, she was making wacky but specific charges about Long Dong Silver. But who cares? All that matters is that Cain's presidential campaign is ruined, just as it reached its height. Black conservatives must be denied a role model this prominent and successful.
Within two days, NBC's Ann Curry was leading off the "Today" show with this thermonuclear question about Cain: "Will the controversy and his reaction to it derail his presidential campaign?"
Is this a high-tech lynching because Cain is a conservative black? Just examine how white liberals are treated. Not only do liberal media outlets fail to break these stories, they refuse even to demand the questions be answered.
Cain is only one contender in the 2012 Republican field. Bill Clinton was president of the United States when he was charged with three separate sexual allegations. But from Monday morning through Thursday morning, ABC, CBS and NBC ran 50 stories on the allegations against Cain. Now, let's compare.
In 1994, when Paula Jones publicly, at a national press conference for God's sakes, accused President Clinton of exposing himself while demanding oral sex -- something no one accuses Cain of doing -- CBS and NBC completely ignored her press conference. ABC gave it just 16 seconds.
When Kathleen Willey accused Bill Clinton in 1997 of sexually groping her in the Oval Office when he was president -- another woman coming forward publicly with a charge far more serious than anything even suggested about Cain -- the networks ran a grand total of three stories, the longest of which was just 1 minute.
And in the first five days after the publication of the 1999 Wall Street Journal column in which Juanita Broaddrick reluctantly came forward and charged the President with a bloody rape, the number of news stories totaled to three.
So it's maddening when someone like Tom Brokaw goes on MSNBC and insists that Herman Cain should be laying everything out on the table: "I would think that he would be eager to get the details out as quickly as possible, if he's as innocent as he has described himself in all of this."
That's not how Brokaw felt about Paula Jones's sexual harassment charges against Bill Clinton. On CNBC in 1994, he dismissed that story. "It didn't seem to most people, entirely relevant to what was going on at the time. These are the kind of charges raised about the President before. They had been played out in the Gennifer Flowers episode." Brokaw surely knew the difference between the consensual sex with Flowers and the sexual harassment of Jones.
Brokaw didn't demand that Clinton "should be eager to get the details out as quickly as possible" about Jones ... or about Willey ... or even about the rape charges of Broaddrick. Clinton wouldn't even deny the rape charge. He only said he would refer "all future questions to be answered by my attorneys." But Tom Brokaw deliberately never filed a single story on Broaddick's charges on his "NBC Nightly News" program -- even though the break-through interview was broadcast on "Dateline NBC"!
So these windbags should spare us the lectures about how Cain really needs to submit to more media interrogations while they have protected white liberals from charges that are much more egregious. Their only interest in this matter is not in creating news, but in destroying Herman Cain.