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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 19: Brent Bozell, Hypocrisy Exhibit A

The Media Research Center chief bashes the media for finally noticing Judicial Watch now that it's suing Republicans -- but the MRC is ignoring those actions despite having promoted Larry Klayman's anti-Clinton actions.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/29/2002

What is it about conservatives and hypocrisy? They do it so well. Ann Coulter, for instance, is being lionized by the ConWeb for her book "Slander" even as reports pile up of the many distortions and outright lies she perpetrates in said book.

Brent Bozell is one of the biggest conservative hypocrisy-mongers, even if he doesn't have Coulter's high TV profile or looks. And in his July 23 column, he demonstrates the traits that keep him at the top of the hypocrisy charts with bullet.

Titled "Larry Klayman, Bias Exhibit A," Bozell rails against the "media elite" for the recent heavy play given Klayman and his Clinton-harassing Judicial Watch now that it has decided to sue Republicans.

"In the Clinton years, Klayman and his Judicial Watch litigation machine were the media's Exhibit A for the Keystone Kops of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, obsessive haters who were trying to frustrate Bill Clinton as he brilliantly went about 'doing the work of the American people.' ... How quickly he moved from clown to prince, from bete noire to cause celebre!" Bozell writes of the attention given to Judicial Watch's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney over actions allegedly taken while he was head of the oil-services firm Halliburtion. "Suddenly NPR newscasts were leading with Larry Klayman on the hour. Dan Rather placed him at the top of the newscast, and ABC and NBC escorted him to the first tier of news stories before the commercial break.

"Klayman is a new exhibit for the shamelessly partisan nature of news judgment coming from the media elite," Bozell thunders. And when somebody thunders like that, they tend to not be telling the complete story -- which is exactly what Bozell is doing.

You are not going to hear from Bozell about what the organization he heads has done on this issue, and that's where he earns his hypocrite stripes.

His Media Research Center minions are leading the way. A July 19 MRC CyberAlert aims to counter Klayman's accusations, praising Fox News Channel for highlighting "how Business Week reported that Halliburton’s accounting was not outside the norm for its industry" while castigating the "big three" networks for not following suit. Try to find a comparable MRC article doing that with any of Judicial Watch's Clinton suits -- after all, in the world of the MRC, if you're not criticizing the Clintons, you must be a "Clinton apologist."

Over at, the news-service subsidiary of MRC, no coverage at all was given to Judicial Watch's announcement of the Cheney lawsuit. The first mention of it on CNS occurred July 26 -- more than two weeks after the lawsuit was announced -- in a story about Judicial Watch's difficulty in serving the papers on Cheney.

That story is only of only four at CNS on Judicial Watch actions against Republicans. In contrast, prior to November 2000 -- the prime Clinton-suing years during which Bozell alleges Judicial Watch "was to be ignored" by the "media elite" -- CNS ran 41 stories that mentioned, if not featured, Judicial Watch and its actions.

And of those 41 stories (as noted previously on ConWebWatch), only 13 described the group as "conservative." The other 28 use terms like "legal watchdog group" or no description at all -- the same "non-ideological" terms Bozell complains the networks are using now. "(N)ow that (Klayman's) suing Cheney, there’s no need for the warning label, and almost every newscast totally dropped the ideological tag," Bozell states.

But Bozell also says "there was nothing inaccurate" about the "conservative" tag: "Klayman actively solicited conservative movement support and served conservative goals." If the "conservative" tag is accurate, why criticize anyone for using it? And why is his CNS so afraid of it?

(That July 26 CNS story, by the way, doesn't call Judicial Watch "conservative" either; it gets tagged as "the legal group that's made a name for itself by filing numerous lawsuits against the nation's leaders.")

Even as he is describing Klayman as "always a fax-melting attention-seeker" (What? He couldn't tell us this before? Oh yeah -- Klayman is no longer serving Bozell's political purposes) Bozell actually mounts something of a defense of the guy, if you can call not being a part of what he calls "undergraduate studies in the David Brock School of Betrayal in return for Media Accolades" a defense. (When will Bozell ever stop the needless personal attacks and just admit he couldn't find any factual errors in Brock's "Blinded By the Right"?) Bozell observes that Klayman is trying to become "a Common Cause on the right, a seemingly nonpartisan ethics czar who claims to be a pox on both houses," though he goes on to parathetically note that "It's another question whether his Cheney-bashing will be appreciated by his donors. I suspect the reaction will be negative, and furiously so."

Still, the occasional astute observation (he would know: the same folks who are Klayman's donors are Bozell's donors as well) doesn't obscure the fact that even as Bozell accuses the media of "the Greg Louganis high-dive flip-flop" of "situational partisan ethics," he's outdoing them all. He, along with the ConWeb, gave heavy play to the Judicial Watch's actions against the Clinton administration -- heck, both CNS and NewsMax used to run Judicial Watch press releases as part of their coverage (though disputes this) -- but has mostly ignored JW's actions against Republicans. If the mainstream media hadn't taken a sudden interest in Klayman's little zeitgeist moment, Bozell and friends would still be shoveling dirt on Judicial Watch's Republican bent.

It's not that Klayman hasn't noticed the conservative double standard. In a Washington Post article, he complains that the Fox News Channel doesn't want to hear from him in these days of Republican lawsuits even though he appeared on the channel regularly during the Clinton years.

"Fox hasn't given us much coverage the last year and a half," he told Post media critic Howard Kurtz. "They're playing to the conservative audience. I have in effect been boycotted off the network. . . . For Fox to be playing this game is, in my view, hypocritical for a network that claims to be fair and balanced."

Well, conservatives do hypocrisy amazingly well. (You won't find those remarks by Klayman anywhere on the ConWeb.) And Bozell's column leaves us laughing with one last bit of hypocrisy, trying to warn conservatives from automatically dismissing Klayman's accusations against Cheney by saying "Consistency is an honorable concept." Like he would know. It doesn't seem to be an MRC company policy.

Bozell undercuts his message and his self-created station as a media critic when he engages in behavior he criticizes others for taking part in. Complaining about (liberal) media bias means nothing if you have nothing but (conservative) media bias to offer in its place.

Though he rails against the "media elite," Bozell behaves the exact same way. He's an elitist too, hoping the brand of bias offered by his CNS (and NewsMax and WorldNetDaily) will become the norm.

He can't even follow his own rules. Why follow him?

My diagnosis: Is there a cure for hypocrisy? Aside from the truth, that is. But Bozell seems to have as much problem with that as he does with consistency.

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