Check Book Journalism
5 July 2006
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Standards of public
and private conduct have declined drastically. Dishonesty, adultery,
stealing, bribery and a number of other behaviors are pervasive among both
Democrats and Republicans. Officials from both parties appear to feel that
whatever activities they can get away with are therefore allowable.
Expediency and financial gain appear to be more critical than morality and
character. Some like-minded media personalities, using creative license,
regularly portray liberals and conservatives as moral opposites. Trash
generates cash! Real issues get buried under a barrage of garbage. This
might all be perversely entertaining but does little to enlighten or
inform. That just might be the purpose – deliberate distraction with an
additional advantage: division of the masses.
David Brock is a recovering conservative and is
currently registered as an independent. He wrote Blinded by the Right,
the Conscience of an Ex-Conservative. He says in the prologue: “The
conservative culture I thrived in was characterized by corrosive
partisanship, visceral hatreds, and unfathomable hypocrisy. I worked for
leading institutions of the conservative movement – the Washington
Times, the Heritage Foundation, and The American Spectator –
where I fought on the wrong side of an ideological and cultural war that
divided our country and poisoned our politics.” Brock, compared to a
tabloid artist by some,
states that he wrote the book as an “act of conscience” to attempt to
provide a “public record” for the events he was involved with.
It takes courage and humility to publicly admit connivance. Brock deserves
credit for his efforts to set the record straight.
Brock’s first book was The Real Anita Hill
and was written at the suggestion of The American Spectator which
had received a healthy contribution from Elizabeth Brady Lurie (Brady
Foundation). Tax-free foundation monies often surreptitiously support the
witch hunts that divide and control our culture.
Apparently “Lurie wanted to finance a special investigation.” Define
“special investigation” as a smear campaign. Brock viewed the offer as his
introduction to “right-wing checkbook journalism.”
Clarence Thomas, against affirmative action, was “beloved by the right, a
prized symbol whose presence in the GOP legitimized conservative attacks
on civil rights policies.”
Washington conservatives organized for the battle of getting Thomas
confirmed with ad hoc groups including the Christian Coalition and women’s
groups. Thomas was coached by the
Federalist Society (organized 1979), a
tax-exempt nonprofit organization, on how to answer the questions posed by
the Judiciary Committee who conducts hearings prior to the Congressional
confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and
district court judges.
Then Anita Hill’s claims about Thomas were leaked to
the press. Under testimony, she was specific and sincere – so much so that
Brock intuitively believed absolutely everything she said. However, Hill’s
testimony was disputed by the righteous right – who could doubt? Thomas
was ultimately confirmed after Hill was unjustly dragged through the moral
mud. But voter backlash became a reality because of the Republican’s
unfair treatment of Hill. Bob Packwood was booted out of office over
sexual harassment charges. “Sexual harassment claims were skyrocketing,
and sexual harassment laws were being tightened.”
Brock accepted the currency-laced offer “to turn back this feminist tide,
exposing the treachery of what we saw as a liberal cabal” that leaked
Senate treatment of Anita Hill set a new low but
Brock was determined to go even lower. Sexual harassment cases depend on
the credibility of the accuser. Elected officials could publicly only go
so far and remain unscathed, but an independent like Brock, without
constraints, could write anything using all of the filthy rumors, FBI
interviews, sexual analysis prepared by biased “experts” who merely
watched the televised proceedings and depositions eagerly supplied by the
Senate. Brock was relentless in hunting down every negative hint of a
dirty rumor he could find and remotely associate with Anita Hill. Even
though Thomas was confirmed, legitimacy for his tenure was lacking.
Creative speculation concerning Hill was forthcoming from every direction.
Brock began with a supposedly well sourced, footnoted, legitimate
16,000-word article The Real Anita Hill which appeared in The
American Spectator in March 1992 including a full-page cover highly
exaggerated caricature of Hill.
Rush Limbaugh gave Brock and The American
Spectator credibility (circulation soared 300 percent) by reading
sections of the article on his radio show. The American Spectator
also paid to advertise on Limbaugh's radio and TV shows, reaching an
audience of 20 million. The American Spectator’s circulation went
from 30,000 copies per issue in 1990 to 279,106 as of December 31, 1994.
Clarence Thomas befriended Limbaugh and later
officiated at his wedding. Brock said: “Limbaugh was making me famous for
calling Anita Hill a slut.” And “I had stumbled onto something big, a
symbiotic relationship that would help create a highly profitable,
right-wing Big Lie machine that flourished in book publishing, on talk
radio, and on the Internet through the 90s.”
That Big Lie machine has only gotten bigger. The original article, fleshed
out, ultimately expanded into a book. Brock went from believing Hill to
portraying her as a deranged liar, among other things.
Brock, wanting to be taken seriously as a
journalist, was coached by a media trainer so as not to appear to have an
agenda. Brock did the Today Show and others, believed in his own spin and
helped to create the façade of a liberal conspiratorial cabal in the
process – everything that Brock wrote about was filtered through
conservative antagonists. Ethical standards went by the wayside. His book
helped Thomas but ruined Hill. It was pure political propaganda meant to
sanitize Thomas, portrayed as the victim instead of the victimizer, who
Brock now says should never have been confirmed. Brock states: “I
sincerely believed my own propaganda.”
This book made money and put Brock, with “the moral certainty of a young
into the inner circle of the right-wing conservatives: Robert Novak, Fred
Barnes, Bill Kristol, Lally Weymouth, Brit Hume and others. In all
likelihood, it also provided other “checkbook journalists” a ready example
for their agenda-driven books, of which there are dozens.
Brock’s book was
reviewed by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of the New York Times, often
accused as being part of the liberal press. The review was favorable –
calling the book “well-written, carefully reasoned, and powerful in its
logic…must reading for anyone remotely touched by the case…” Considering
the “case” was widely televised and concerned the confirmation of a
Supreme Court judge that might ultimately affect many Americans. Clarence
Thomas voted along with four other judges to halt the Florida
vote recount, putting Bush into the White House in 2001.
Keep in mind that Thomas was nominated by President George H. W. Bush on
July 8, 1991, to
replace Thurgood Marshall.
Brock also received favorable reviews from other
well-known critics which put his book on the best-seller lists. Another
review, more factual, referred to Brock’s book as “Sleaze with Footnotes.”
He winced at this and began to wonder what he had done. A friend
encouraged him to forget the facts and think of the casualties that were
Just prior to the
November 1994 elections a book was published about Clarence Thomas. The
book, Strange Justice was written by Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson,
senior editors with the Wall Street Journal. This book validated
Anita Hill’s testimony regarding Thomas’ apparent pornography proclivity.
It included the credible statements of video store employees affirming
that Thomas was, in fact, an avid consumer of pornographic videos during
the time that Anita Hill worked with him.
Upon reviewing the
book previews in the Journal, Brock and two cohorts immediately
prepared and faxed a script to Rush Limbaugh for his very next show which
he read verbatim after which he added some of his infamous contentious
“feminazi” allegations. These “conservatives” wanted to accomplish three
the information in Strange Justice
Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas which would automatically discredit
Anita Hill, again
Republican candidates in the impending elections
Gingrich into a major leadership position
As a full time “investigative reporter,” Brock wrote
additional money-making articles slamming the left. The election of Bill
Clinton provided ample ammunition during eight years of soap opera media
propaganda. The American Spectator viciously attacked Bill Clinton
and his family, friends and associates. The results: circulation went up
as their credibility went down. However, credibility notwithstanding,
people bought the magazine as well as the stories it peddled.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., editor in chief of
The American Spectator, made a name for his
magazine while ruining the names and reputations of scores of people.
“Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate, Vincent Foster's death and Hillary
Rodham Clinton's commodities trades have provided Tyrrell's writers with
storehouses full of ammunition. And they have fired at will.”
This orchestrated media attention set up
the perfect environment to alter party control in Congress and literally
take the White House in 2000. Based on what the so-called liberal media
force-fed the public, it was pretty difficult to ignore the allegations
against the Clintons. If the media were indeed liberal, Clinton’s lies
would have been either marginalized or ignored. In addition, plenty of
right-wing books presented more detail than any individual cared to know.
More money was spent on investigating Clinton than on the inconsistencies
of 9/11. Whatever the charade was – it was for the benefit of the public.
Clinton and Bush are both puppets of the One World Order. They just
exhibit different personalities to sway the masses.
I admire the new David Brock; he is an isolated
exception. There are numerous popular personalities who continue to divide
the culture and propagate the party line. Brock has compensated for his
fallacious contributions by establishing a web site in 2004:
Media Matters for America a “progressive
research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring,
analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”
Articulate Ann Coulter, the spewing
toxic-tongued, mini-skirted, golden haired darling of the Faux Network is
one of the best known of the antagonistic “check book journalists.” Her
newest bestselling book: Godless: the Church of Liberalism is
additional ammunition to fuel the flames in the orchestrated opposition
between the so-called “conservatives” and “liberals.” However, if the
media were as liberal as she constantly claims, she could not have
appeared on numerous TV and radio shows or in print. A liberal media would
have buried her and her book in a closet somewhere if indeed it got
published at all. She is caustic, clever and overly theatrical with her
outrageous, sometimes cruel comments but will undoubtedly achieve the
financial and cultural goals of her latest book.
So with dozens of others, we have Michael
Savage and his book Liberalism is a Mental Disorder and Ann
Coulter’s book Godless: the
Church of Liberalism.
The highly visible
Coulter was interviewed by Human Events Online:
Exclusive Interview: Coulter Says Book Examines
'Mental Disorder' of Liberalism where she
said: “It’s the third of a trilogy. Slander was about liberals’
methods, Treason was about the political consequences of
liberalism, and Godless is about the underlying mental disease that
creates liberalism.” Her hatred of liberals has made her very rich and
famous. I wonder – does Merck or some other giant pharmaceutical company
have an expensive medication for this disease? If so, perhaps some
well-known, recovering “liberal” could endorse it in the media.
While I may briefly browse Coulter’s book, I
wouldn’t purchase it as I prefer
well substantiated original non-fiction.
Chapter One is online; in it she states:
“Environmentalists want mass infanticide, zero population growth, reduced
standards of living, and vegetarianism. The core of environmentalism is
that they hate mankind. Everything liberals believe is in elegant
opposition to basic Biblical precepts.” Nevertheless, Ann, it is
interesting to note that six of the nine judges who sat on the court
during Roe vs. Wade were appointed by
Alito and Roberts, recently confirmed
“conservatives” consider abortion a settled law. Prior to their
confirmations, media focus was directed on their views of abortion.
Rather, voters should have focused on personal liberty issues. As far as
the standard of living – our current big-spending administration has
certainly affected living standards, in America and elsewhere, and how
about that deficit and the costs of war – in terms of lives and money? Why
not ask the former residents of New Orleans and vicinity about their
standard of living. And the elite may be unaffected by illegals storming
our borders but the average American notices.
Critical reviews tell
us what we should think about a particular movie or book. Writers are very
well paid, often by elite foundations, to produce books designed to
misinform, vilify, divide, manage our perceptions, brainwash or to incite
a particular behavior. With any information, we must be responsible and
astute enough to differentiate between repetitious rhetoric and truth and
error. It may be very unwise to trust in what the majority believes.
Our government, with our gullible complacency, and a
complicit media has developed an arrogant “might
makes right” moral superiority promulgated by popular government shills,
many who favor preemptive war. Michael Medved, another shilling for
killing war hawk, claims that we are “the greatest nation on God’s green
earth.” This, he says, is attributed to our values, the way we do things,
our principles, our morals, yadda, yadda, yadda.
It is all yadda, yadda, yadda!
American Journalism Review; 5/1/1995; Shepard, Alicia C., HighBeam.com
 Blinded by the
Right by David Brock
 Ibid, p. 88
 Ibid, p. 94
 Ibid, p. 94
 Ibid, p. 97
Journalism Review; 5/1/1995; Shepard, Alicia C., HighBeam.com by
 Blinded by the
Right by David Brock, p. 101
 Ibid, p. 99
 Ibid, p. 99
Bush vs. Gore
 Blinded by the
Right by David Brock, p. 117
Journalism Review; 5/1/1995; Shepard, Alicia C., HighBeam.com by
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