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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 27: Brent Bozell, Pundit Without a Clue

The MRC is too busy smearing people to bother with details like getting his facts straight or understanding what he's talking about.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/6/2004

The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell is at his most entertaining when he's asserting something that has no basis in fact or making claims on which he has done no research. He recently accomplished both in a two-day span.

In his July 1 column, he issues your standard conservative denunciation of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11." One complaint he has is that it "is full of cheap and sleazy laughs"; given all the Clinton sex jokes the MRC has passed along over the years, Bozell ought to be a connoisseur of cheap and sleazy laughs, so that may not even be a complaint.

Speaking of Clinton, Bozell then tries to bring up a comparison: "For the Left, this film is a test to separate the wheat from the chaff, the honorable from the dishonorable, the serious from the unserious. In the Clinton years, conservatives needed to step away from the unsubstantiated videos that talked in conspiratorial tones about all of Clinton’s heinous secret crimes. To be taken seriously, every liberal today should criticize “Fahrenheit 9-11" as an affront to journalism and civil discourse." The "unsubstantiated video" Bozell is referring to is, of course, "The Clinton Chronicles," plugged by none other than the Rev. Jerry Falwell himself in the mid-90s.

But did the MRC step away from "The Clinton Chronicles" as Bozell seems to claim? Not really. Its documented attempts to discredit it are tepid at best. A search of the MRC online archives turns up just three references -- a 1997 Mediawatch which complains that "Larry Nichols, a disgruntled former Arkansas state official, and Pat Matrisciana, producer of unreliable videos like The Clinton Chronicles, were lumped in with investigative reporter Chris Ruddy and the Wall Street Journal editorial page" (Ruddy's NewsMax later embraced the "disgruntled" Nichols -- one article claimed that "If the truth about the Clinton scandals is ever written, it will show that Larry Nichols was ground zero for the revelations that defined Bill Clinton's presidency" -- and sold copies of "The Clinton Chronicles"); in a quote pulled from a 1998 NPR interview; and a 1998 CyberAlert in which Brent Baker complains, like the Mediawatch article did, that "by raising the activities of Clinton detractors reporters have given credibility to Mrs. Clinton’s charges (of a "vast right-wing conspiracy"), as if some disreputable video put out once by Jerry Falwell but ignored by Republican leaders and the mainstream press, has had any impact or really matters." The term "Clinton Chronicles" does not return any matches at MRC sister site

In other words, a lot of complaining about the video being linked to allegedly legitimate complaints about Clinton but no real attempt to, as Bozell said, "separate the wheat from the chaff, the honorable from the dishonorable, the serious from the unserious."

Meanwhile, ConWebWatch gets a mention in a July 2 article by Bozell that is an expanded version of an earlier piece attacking new books by Arianna Huffington and David Brock.

Bozell's ConWebWatch name-dropping comes in a laundry list of sources Brock used in his book "The Republican Noise Machine," which Bozell dismisses as "a fuming, ranting, bizarre compendium of half-truths and no-truths sourced primarily by fringe radical left-wing activists to demonstrate that the Far Right (always with a capital 'F' and capital 'R') and its evil agenda have taken over the world," though Brock's apparent biggest sin is that he didn't interpret a statement Bozell made to Bozell's satisfaction. At no point does Bozell doesn't specifically criticize any source on this list except to play the guilt-by-association card.

The list shows Bozell's ignorance and eagerness to smear by his list, which he associates along with Brock as part of the "fringe radical left-wing." Lumped with ConWebWatch are "" (Bozell is apparently so out of touch he can't get the name correct), an educational resource for journalists and the home of Jim Romenesko's excellent blog about the news business; and, an equal-opportunity basher of abuses in political rhetoric, going after both liberals and conservatives; for example, it has long been critical of Michael Moore. Bozell clearly has never read any of the sites he attacks. (And, by the way, we challenge Bozell to detail anything ConWebWatch has done that fits the description of "fringe radical left-wing.")

All the sources on Bozell's hit list are Internet-based sites, demonstrating further that the poor man just doesn't get this newfangled Web thingie and how it gives regular people the resources to create their own editorial content and take on the powers that be and hold them accountable for their errors -- even Brent Bozell.

Maybe that's Bozell's real problem.

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