David Brock Burns Himself at the Stake
by L. Brent Bozell III
June 19, 1997
Pity poor David Brock. From the looks of the absurd photo in
Esquire magazine -- showing him tied to a tree and surrounded by kindling --
this guy thinks he's Joan of Arc.
Brock is very angry at the less-than-impressed conservative
reviews of his book "The Seduction of Hillary Rodham," which might
have been one reason the book was a sales disaster. (A more accurate Esquire
picture might have been Brock sitting on a mountain of unsold books.) The most
offensive sentence of Brock's self-destructive article: "There is no
'liberal movement' that blackballs journalists in the sense that there is a
self-identified, hardwired 'conservative movement' that can function as a kind
of neo-Stalinist thought police."
Stop right there. Who, Mr. Brock? Who have ever prevented
you from writing a word? At the Heritage Foundation, The Washington Times, The
American Spectator, the Free Press? Why not name names? Because you can't. And
even if you could, how dare you ascribe those tactics to the conservative
movement as a whole!
Brock might have started a constructive debate before reason
surrendered to mindless rage. If it were his intention to posit that
conservatives must not fall into that partisan trap of caring more about the
political satisfaction of unsubstantiated smears than about the mightier
weapon of truth -- fine. Brock's debunking of the "Clinton
Chronicles" videotape in Forbes Media Critic a few years back was a model
of tough, but honorable criticism.
But his accusations about conservatives, and their criticism
of Hillary (what he calls a "caricature," the "corrupt
power-mad shrew of conservative demonology") is itself an ad hominem
temper tantrum that ignores his real problem: his book offered no evidence to
disprove the reality of an ethically challenged First Lady. He argued there's
no proof that Hillary would have represented a sham real estate deal at Castle
Grande, and that there's no evidence that Hillary knew James led Brock through
a series of smears on conservatives. One of those smears: Brock complained
he's been run down by anti-gay bigots over his book.
Again, stop. Name names, Mr. Brock. I can think of one man
who used Mr. Brock's homosexuality against him: Frank Rich, the liberal New
York Times columnist who basically outed him in 1994. And when that happened,
a flurry of conservatives - this writer included - came to his defense against
Brock is no Joan of Arc. He's more like John Starks, the New
York Knicks basketball player who recently stood on the scorer's table in
Miami and flipped both middle fingers at the audience. But at least Starks had
the taste to offend the opposing team's fans. Brock has become a whiny,
ungrateful, attention-seeking embarrassment to the conservative movement - and
The American Spectator. His rapt audience of conservative fans will vanish
into thin air, and his millionaire author days are over. I hope the tantrum
was worth that much.
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