CBS 'Early Show' Claims 'New Scrutiny' for Virginia Thomas Over Conservative Activism
Published: 10/21/2010 1:34 PM ET
In the wake of Virginia Thomas requesting an apology from Anita Hill, on Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge used the story to raise questions about Thomas's political involvement: "That phone call is bringing up new scrutiny upon Virginia Thomas, who is not just an angry spouse but also a long-time advocate of conservative causes."
In the report that followed, CBS chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford implied that since Virginia Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas her conservative activism in a conflict of interest: "She has long advocated for conservative causes....she formed a grassroots conservative group called Liberty Central and has spoken at tea party conventions....Critics have raised questions about her role in the group as the wife of a sitting Justice, and Mrs. Thomas, not one to suppress her opinions, has felt the heat."
Crawford went on to point out that "The New York Times published a story about whether her work amounted to a conflict of interest for Justice Thomas." Later, Wragge asked Crawford: "How odd is this that a spouse of a justice is taking such an active role in politics like this?" Crawford replied: "Very. I mean, that's a one-word answer. It is very odd, I've never seen it..." She added: "...I think it reflects the changing role of women in society. Virginia Thomas, Ginni Thomas, has a career. Should she sacrifice that her whole life if there is not a direct conflict?"
The network evening newscasts on Wednesday, including the CBS Evening News, similarly raised the issue of Thomas's conservatism. The coverage has treated Thomas as the sole controversial figure in the story, not questioning the credibility Hill's 1991 testimony.
Here is a full transcript of the October 21 Early Show segment: