What about David Brock? Is the confessional mode the only one in which he can feel comfortable? Or maybe, he’s just a natural masochist? Or does he feel this is his way of making it?
In any case, here he goes again dragging out the old sackcloth and liberally sprinkling himself with ashes. Talk magazine in its August issue – due out on the newsstands of the land this weekend – is running an excerpt from his ongoing confessional: “Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative.” The title the magazine has given the piece is “I Killed Anita Hill (I’m Sorry).”
What’s most interesting about the excerpt – the book is scheduled to hit bookstores early September – is the self-pity and defensiveness throughout. Although he’s certainly free in slinging the term “rightwing ideologue” around, as a damning label for anyone he feels is a conservative, he never actually, at least in this selection, defines his own political thinking.
You might begin to wonder if Brock has any actual political sympathies as such. I mean, does he really care about the issues at stake? In describing how he set about attacking Anita Hill, Brock unabashedly, shamelessly admits his total indifference to journalistic ethics. “Doing everything I could to ruin Hill’s credibility, I took a scattershot approach, dumping virtually every derogatory – and often contradictory – allegations I had collected on Hill into the vituperative mix. I demonized Democratic senators, their staffs, and Hill’s feminist supporters without ever interviewing any of them.”
Given these tactics, why in the name of Heaven, should anyone give the least credence to any of the charges or stories he’s currently offering up? Where once he was demonizing Democratic senators, their staffs, and etc. without “ever interviewing any of them,” why isn’t he just reversing field and is now demonizing Republicans and their supporters?
Brock also states he “was so blinded by my partisan tunnel-vision and my tortured desire to make it in the movement that I believed my own propaganda.” Note the wording “my tortured desire to make it in the movement.” Surely that tells us all we need to know about Brock. What are ideas and ethics? In his book evidently only stepping-stones to making it. His access to the halls of power made him positively giddy. Why, at age 29, being on first-name terms with senators like Orrin Hatch and John Danforth was dizzying, according to him.
Given his approach about the niceties of truth and conscience in reporting, he found himself being commissioned to write a biography of Hillary Clinton for a reputedly hefty advance. But here our conscienceless reporter came up against hard reality. No Democratic supporters were about to open their hearts to him about the sitting president’s wife. He had let himself be trapped into writing what could only turn out to be essentially a puff book.
Well, what do you know? Those “rightwing ideologues” either made mock of him or considered him as selling out for personal advancement. His dinner and cocktail invitations were falling off. A boy has to make the best with the situation he’d gotten himself in. And thus began the confessional mode, kicked off by an Esquire article by him illustrated with a photograph of Brock on the Cross. People were still talking about him. He was still making it as he saw it.
And so, it continues. Sure, he’s going to get slapped around, but he’ll have a book tour and think of all the television interviews. He can put up with a little mud and personal insult. Isn’t he getting more attention than his critics? After a mighty streak of breast-beating, Brock concludes the excerpt with a pitiful wail of “I lost my soul.”
Interesting to note in his quest for attention, Brock goes right on being careless – nay, downright sloppy of detail. He gives snide little, mean digs and jabs at all those “rightwing ideologues” that plague him. He referred to himself as “an editor of ‘The Washington Times’ in October 1991.” But the Washington Times’ files show him to have been writing regularly for Insight, a magazine published by the Times, in 1990, 1991 and early 1992. A February 2, 1992, story in TWT about his first Anita Hill story in The American Spectator describes Brock as having “recently joined the staff of the editorial page of The Washington Times.”
He refers in the excerpt to Arnaud de Borchgrave as “running The Washington Times,” de Borchgrave stepped down May 19, 1991, relinquishing the post to Wesley Pruden who holds the job of editor-in-chief to this day. Granted picky, picky little details, but demonstrating sloppy work at the least. In one of his mean little digs at Barbara Ledeen, for instance, he refers to her husband Michael as “a shadowy intriguer and sometime writer.” It so happens Michael Ledeen was on staff at the State Department and then the National Security Council during the Reagan years, has been a Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for some 13 years and has authored 17 books. Shadowy indeed.