Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Former Senator Jack Danforth on Clarence Thomas

Newsbusters interviewed former Senator Jack Danforth, who helped Justice Thomas's nomination, and who later wrote a book about that ordeal ("Resurrection").
Now that Thomas has been reintroduced to the public by way of his new memoirs it is evident the media remain highly antagonistic to him, former Senator John Danforth has observed. The Missouri Republican is a long-time friend and mentor to Thomas. He played an instrumental role in securing confirmation 16 years ago.

"His media detractors portray him as some angry person, brooding quietly in the Supreme Court," Danforth said in an interview. "Well if you go to the Supreme Court building and talk to the people who work there you will find he's the most popular person in the building."

A Nexis search for news articles describing Thomas as being either "angry" or "bitter" in the monthly period immediately following the release of his book pulled up over 200 results.

This media portrait is out of step with reality Danforth argued.

"His detractors are going to savage him regardless of what he does," he said. "For years they savaged him for being silent, now that he's written a book and been on TV they savage him for being outspoken."

Those who know Thomas well are immune to the media distortion, Danforth said. This is true of friends and even colleagues who do not share his ideology, the former senator explained.

"I was at a White House dinner going back about four or five years and one of the most liberal justices on the Supreme Court was sitting at the same table where I was and this justice came up to me and said `thank you for giving us Clarence Thomas.' Now that was a liberal justice, it shows the degree of respect for him and affection, even from people who don't share his particular jurisprudence."

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