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10 Aug. 2016

Dear Friends and Patriots,

          Once again I listened to my favorite morning radio station, 91.3 FM from Mobile, to get my morning dose of amazement.  It rarely fails.  The radio station is an Alabama Public Radio broadcaster.  I don’t want to stereotype Public Radio, because I do hear broadcasts that are informative and sometimes even pleasurable.  Of course, most of those involve either music or nature.   The morning broadcasts rarely involve music or nature and often discuss politics.  My political opinions and those exhibited on Public Radio often wildly diverge.   Today was one of those wildly divergent days.  Unlike my usual habit of spelling it all out, today I’ll tell you what I heard, then ask a single question at the end.  It’s not a guessing game, though.  This is far too blatant for that.

          The subject was sexual harassment in the workplace.  Since the early ‘90s that’s been a topic that rarely leaves public discourse.  There’s always something going on in that realm, even when there’s nothing else going on.  This morning NPR correspondent Steve Inskeep interviewed Professor Anita Hill on the subject.  The point seemed to be to verify that progress has been made in the past 25 or so years, but maybe I just heard it all wrong.  Perhaps the point was to reinforce that not that much progress has been made after all.

          Inskeep launched with a sanitized recap of the allegations against Roger Ailes at Fox News.  We all know that story, so there’s little point in rehashing it.   Ailes was called out and now he’s gone from Fox.  But, that’s just today’s story.  Inskeep mentioned Bill Cosby and his legal travails that evidently stem from long and not so long ago.  I think there was an effort to imply Ailes and Cosby are essentially two of a kind – a couple of old lecherous dogs who made it to old age before the ax fell.  In a way the pairing of Cosby and Ailes seems right.  After all, it’s sort of racially balanced.

          The interview went exactly to one place I knew it would, the Supreme Court nominee confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas and the allegations of sexual harassment Anita Hill lodged against him.  That’s another story everyone should know, so I won’t rehash it either.  Professor Hill stated she was treated very roughly and shabbily and it affected her career ever since.  Some might think that’s a bit of a stretch, since she’s been a professor at Brandeis University for many years, while simultaneously handling civil rights law cases for a prestigious law firm.   But, maybe she meant the Clarence Thomas hearing aftermath had a positive effect.  I’m not quite sure exactly what she was trying to say.

          Inskeep probed a bit regarding the overall climate regarding sexual harassment and Professor Hill made statements about how difficult it is to get justice when the perpetrator is at the top of a powerful hierarchy.  She stated that it often takes a person with a superior power position to deal with such allegations to any positive effect.  Otherwise the offender is immune and repeats the offending behavior.

          Hill later stated that since the early ‘90s there have been a great increase in sexual harassment complaints and the difficulty in sustaining those complaints doesn’t seem to have dampened the enthusiasm of the complainants.  She described the current situation as trending positive.  So, it appears Anita Hill believes things in our nation regarding sexual harassment are indeed getting better.

          You can read the transcript of the broadcast on the NPR main web page, if you care.  The actual broadcast didn’t seem to follow in the same order as the on-line transcription, but all the points made are there.  I believe I’ve represented it well enough here to make the point I promised.  If you want to check that out, please do.  Then tell me what you make of it all.

          Here’s the part I won’t bother with, because it should be glaringly obvious to all but the most oblivious in our midst – something is missing in the conversation.  It almost makes one wonder why the piece was even broadcast.  It’s truly odd.  Surely they aren’t so stupid as to think no one would notice or even care.  Do they think so little of their listeners that they would broadcast a piece that dwelled on accusations not proven against one man by bringing his accuser on air, then not giving any semblance of equal time to another, proven and greatly more notorious occurrence?  Well, I suppose at NPR there’s no real notion of “fair and balanced” like at Fox.   We all know Fox is fair, but hardly balanced, but at NPR it seems there’s little in the way of fairness and no attempt at balance.

          Is it just me?


In Liberty,