When Truth Inspires Fiction:

Those who make movies "inspired" by true events often take substantial liberties with the underlying facts. According to John Hinderaker, this is the case with "North Country," a new movie based on the book Class Action, based upon a class action sexual harassment suit filed against a mine in Minnesota. While the movie's heroine is inspired by Anita Hill's testimony against Clarence Thomas to challenge the sexual harassment at her workplace, this is not what happened in real life:

The real Jenson case was filed in 1985, six years before the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing. So this particular embellishment is pure fiction. Why did the moviemakers throw it in? Why do you think? The Supreme Court is in the news, and Justice Thomas is a hero to conservatives. So the liberals who made North Country went out of their way to slime him, shifting the movie's time line by six years just so they could slander a Republican. No wonder conservatives hate Hollywood.

UPDATE: Some of the comments below make some good points, but I think many protest too much. It seems uncontroverted that the filmmakers injected the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas controversy into North Country, suggesting it had a role in the events the film depicts, even though any such implication would be false. It was certainly reasonable for the filmmakers to condense the history to make the film, but this cannot not explain the Hill reference. On the other hand, the filmmakers' political leanings can.

I think this is a good example of how filmmakers’ politics creep into movies, and because the vast majority of filmmakers these days are liberal, most such references are liberal. The point is not that there is some vast left-wing conspiracy of writers and producers looking for ways to advance a leftist agenda -- I don't believe any such conspiracy exists, and I doubt Hinderaker does either. Nonetheless, there is a regular stream of politically charged references in movies and television, the vast majority of which tilt in the same direction. One of my favorite examples is Lethal Weapon, in which police station billboards are curiously adorned with numerous animal rights posters. (In a university dorm this would be one thing, but a police station?!?) In other instances, the political storylines are far less subtle, as The Constant Gardener. A screenwriter friend has told me many stories of how politically charged non-sequiturs have been put in his scripts by producers and directors.

In the present case, it seems clear that someone thought it would add something to the story line to have the heroine inspired by Anita Hill – not because it happened, but because it conformed with the filmmakers' sense of how things could or should have happened. From what I understand, North Country tells a powerful and inspiring story –- and the filmmakers sought to connect this story to Hill, even if it meant adding one more bit of fiction to an already fictionalized account of a true story.

I agree with several commenters that it would be absurd if Hinderaker were implying that the Anita Hill reference was inspired by the Harriett Miers nomination. Perhaps I am being too charitable, but this is not how I read the Hinderaker quote. The Supreme Court, and judicial nominations, have been a hot political issue for the past several years. The nomination of Supreme Court justices was a major issue in the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections, and I seem to recall the Supreme Court has done some other things that sparked controversy in the past five years as well.