The MRC@25: The Worst Media Bias of 1991
Each morning, the MRC is showcasing the most egregious bias we've uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala on September 27. (Click here for ticket information)
Already this week, we’ve published the worst quotes of 1988, 1989 and 1990; today, the worst bias of 1991. Highlights include journalists saluting Anita Hill while disparaging Clarence Thomas (“if you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face, you’d think you had [former KKK Grand Wizard] David Duke talking”), and a Boston Globe arts critic writing about patriotism: “Oh, say, we’ve seen too much. The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America’s mouth...”
“And then there was Anita Hill, the poised daughter of so many generations of black women who have been burned carrying torches into the battle for principle. The cause of civil rights and social justice has so often fallen to them to defend. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were slaves by birth, freedom fighters by temperament. Rosa Parks was a tired seamstress who shoved history forward by refusing to give up her seat on the bus....The latest to claim her place in line is Anita Hill, a private, professional woman unwilling to relinquish her dignity without a fight.”
— Time Associate Editor Nancy Gibbs, October 21, 1991 issue.
“Clarence Thomas is the best only at his ability to bootlick for Ronald Reagan and George Bush....They didn’t pick him because he was black. They picked him because he’s a black conservative. And the thing that bothers me about his appointment — if they had put David Duke on, I wouldn’t scream as much because they would look at David Duke and reject him for what he is. If you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face, you’d think you had David Duke talking.”
— Columnist Carl Rowan on Inside Washington, July 7, 1991.
“It’s short of soap, so there are lice in hospitals. It’s short of pantyhose, so women’s legs go bare. It’s short snowsuits, so babies stay home in winter....The problem isn’t communism; nobody even talked about communism this week. The problem is shortages.”
— NBC’s John Chancellor after the failure of a coup attempt in the Soviet Union, August 21, 1991 Nightly News.
“Oh say, we’ve seen too much. The Star-Spangled Banner pushes like a cough through America’s mouth and the twilight’s last gleaming is just that, a sickly flash above our heads as we ride unsuspecting in the bellies of sleek trains, plop to our knees in churches, embracing truths that disgust us.”
— Boston Globe arts critic and “poet” Patricia Smith in The Nation’s “Patriotism” issue, July 15/22, 1991.
Check back each morning for more classic bias quotes, or visit our “25th Anniversary” section for the entire collection.