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CNN's Brown on Rendell recalls Napolitano, Anita Hill, and Clarence Thomas

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Wonder why, in a survey reported by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, only 28 percent said they "believed all or most" of what they see on CNN?

CNN's Campbell Brown took three minutes of prime evening news time the other night to berate Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell for remarks, unwittingly made next to a live microphone, that in Brown's view were sexist.

Speaking, in what he thought was a private conversation, Rendell called the selection of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to head the Department of Homeland Security perfect "Because for that job, you have to have no life.

Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote 19, 20 hours a day to it."

Oh my lord. Brown ticked down her list of outrages. Would Rendell have said this if she were a man? How many women don't get hired because they have families? Do single woman get disproportionately stuck with the more "burdensome shifts"? etc., etc.

Unless you're looking for something, it's pretty hard to see anything derogatory or malicious in Rendell's remarks and, as his press secretary noted, he could have just as easily been talking about a man.

If Brown was actually interested in facts, she could have reported that Napolitano described herself, in a story in the Arizona Republic a couple years ago, as "just a straight, single, workaholic."

Ms Brown's journalism, of course, is really an agenda looking for a news hook. She concluded her three minute lecture, putting fellow liberal Rendell on notice that "Your comments perpetuate stereotypes."

Now if we think back to the fall of 1991, we, and Campbell Brown, might recall some real character assassination and exploitation of stereotypes, in which Janet Napolitano played a lead role. That was when she was Anita Hill's attorney in the campaign to slander Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment allegations and derail his nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I recall that fall 17 years ago well, as I worked, as a young conservative activist, to bring black pastors from around the country to Washington in a show of support for the besieged nominee Thomas.

The campaign was defined by sleaze, and Janet Napolitano was certainly one of the quarterbacks.

Central to this campaign was a strategy to build off and exploit the worst stereotypes of black men as sexual predators.

The irregularities that made the circus possible are a national embarrassment. It is doubtful that it would even have seen the light of day had Anita Hill's supposedly confidential statement not been illegally leaked from someone on the Senate Judiciary committee to the press.

Several years later, Napolitano was confirmed as a US Attorney because the Senate confirmation committee was more deferential to her private conversations than Campbell Brown was to Ed Rendell's.

In those confirmation proceedings, Napolitano was questioned, and then left off the hook, regarding her off the record conversation, during the Anita Hill hearings, which caused witness and supposed Hill corroborator Susan Hoerchner to alter her testimony.

Hoerchner initially testified that she heard from Hill that she was being harassed by Thomas at a time before Hill was even working for him. Napolitano took Hoerchner aside, who then returned and said she couldn't remember when she heard Anita Hill's claim.

Fortunately, Clarence Thomas survived the brutal attack on his character and the country has had the benefit of a stalwart defender of our constitution on the Supreme Court. And, with the help of his important vote, it is no longer legal in our country to murder children through partial birth abortion.

However, thanks to Anita Hill and Janet Napolitano, a man's reputation is forever besmirched and grotesque stereotypes of black men perpetuated.

Despite CNN's stalwart efforts to spin the news to the left, Ed Rendell's benign remarks caused no similar damage to Janet Napolitano and she is spared the pain she has caused to others.

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