He’s No Tim Russert: David Gregory Sucks Up To Anita Hill During Promotional Interview

David Gregory sat down with Anita Hill on Meet the Press Press Pass on Sunday, July 13 and treated his guest to a softball filled interview that would have made his predecessor Tim Russert sick to his stomach. 

The interview was intended to promote Ms. Hill’s new documentary entitled “Anita: Speaking Truth To Power” and Gregory made sure his viewers knew that more than 20 years later the liberal media, including himself, sympathized with a woman who nearly brought down the nomination of Justice Clarence Thomas. [See video below.] 

The interview began by the NBC host hyping how Hill became a “household name during the 1991 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.” Gregory then threw out his first softball where he asked her to “talk to about the film and what you think the lesson of that episode was that you hope comes through in the film.” 

As the discussion continued, Gregory showed he was in complete agreement with Ms. Hill’s accusations against Clarence Thomas and asked Ms. Hill if she thought “sexual harassment is in a different place today? Do you think women experience it at the same level?” 

Nowhere in his line of questioning did he cast any doubt on Hill’s story. In fact his only attempt at questioning was when he allowed her to defend her story: 

Does the controversy around all of it stick with you? You obviously, there is a generation of people who may not know your name, but there's certainly a generation of people who still hear Anita Hill and you're taken back, you know. Do you feel like it’s past?...Do you have regrets about how you came forward, when you came forward, and what happened? Do you have any regrets about it? 

Now compare Gregory’s puff interview to the late Tim Russert who spoke with Hill on Meet the Press on March 22, 1998. At the time, President Clinton had just been accused of groping White House aide Kathleen Willey, and Russert asked Ms. Hill her thoughts on the situation:

When you made your accusations about Clarence Thomas--verbal abuse, in effect--many said, well, because of that alone, he was unqualified to sit on the Supreme Court. This is physical abuse alleged against the president. Would that disqualify him to be president?

During that same interview, Russert continued to press Hill, a feat that Gregory was unable to achieve: 

Let me show you something that Gloria Steinem wrote in today's New York Times and show it on our screen for our viewers. She said, “The truth is that even if the allegations are true, the president is not guilty of sexual harassment. He's accused of having made a gross, dumb and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life. She pushed him away, she said, and it never happened again. In other words, President Clinton took no for an answer.”...so do we dismiss the president's alleged behavior, as Miss Steinem suggests, because he backed off when he was told no, it's acceptable?..Is that a double standard for a liberal as opposed to a conservative?    

Instead of asking Hill tough questions as Russert did, Gregory concluded his weak interview by sympathetically wondering:

Do you believe that that episode is a settled matter? Obviously, what you said, what you accused him of you have always stood by. Do you think in the public's mind it is a settled matter or it was just kind of left where it was? The issue was elevated, the issue of  sexual harassment more generally, or is it still unsettled in the public's mind? 

See transcript of Gregory’s questions below.


NBC

Meet the Press’s Press Pass

July 13, 2014

DAVID GREGORY: This week on “Press Pass”, Anita Hill. She became a household name during the 1991 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She is now a professor of policy law and women's studies at Brandeis University. She is also the subject of a documentary that's now out on DVD, “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” and Professor Hill joins me now. Nice to have you here.

GREGORY: Talk to about the film and what you think the lesson of that episode was that you hope comes through in the film.

GREGORY: And to you what is the glaring lesson of what did not work and how it did not work?

GREGORY: Do you think sexual harassment is in a different place today? Do you think women experience it at the same level? 

GREGORY: What's the response been like to the film? What kinds of questions are you getting asked that strike you as interesting, important questions?

GREGORY: How did it change your life? What happened to you as a result of all that? 

GREGORY: We're back on “Press Pass.” And I'm joined by Anita Hill who is the subject of the documentary “Anita: Speaking Truth To Power” just released on DVD and on iTunes as well. Does it stick with you? Does the controversy around all of it stick with you? You obviously, there is a generation of people who may not know your name, but there's certainly a generation of people who still hear Anita Hill and you're taken back, you know. Do you feel like it’s past? 

GREGORY: Do you have regrets about how you came forward, when you came forward, and what happened? Do you have any regrets about it? 

GREGORY: In the film, there is the episode of Justice Thomas' wife Ginni leaving you a voice mail, I believe, asking for you to apologize. Have you had any contact further with them? And what do you think as you see him as Justice Thomas all these years later? 

GREGORY: Do you believe that that episode is a settled matter? Obviously, what you said, what you accused him of you have always stood by. Do you think in the public's mind it is a settled matter or it was just kind of left where it was? The issue was elevated, the issue of  sexual harassment more generally, or is it still unsettled in the public's mind? 

GREGORY: Was it worth it? 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.