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An Exhibition of Conservative Paranoia

Exhibit 28: The Coming Bozell Meltdown

The head of the Media Research Center has been acting even more unhinged than usual lately.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/30/2004

L. Brent Bozell III, head of the Media Research Center, has always been a vicious hothead with a grip on reality that is tenuous at best -- just rummage through the ConWebWatch archives to find, for example, his calling a lawyer he didn't agree with a "political prostitute" and bashing David Brock as "a pathetic little man" after he wrote a tell-all book about the conservative movement that Bozell's MRC tried to brand as a lie despite the fact that it couldn't actually document any actual lies located therein.

But Bozell has been acting even more unhinged as of late, doing several things in public one doesn't expect the head of a multimillion-dollar outfit like the MRC to do in public. Here's a sample:

Lying through his teeth. In a July 27 appearance on CNN, according to Media Matters for America, Bozell claimed that "Ken Lay spent 13 nights ... in Bill Clinton's Lincoln Bedroom." The truth is that Lay, the former CEO of scandal-ridden Enron, did not spend even a single night in the White House under Clinton. This was debunked a long time ago not only by ConWebWatch, but by the Daily Howler, Joe Conason and the folks behind Spinsanity. (Not to mention the Lincoln Bedroom Guest List.)

Lay did, however, spend a night in the White House under the first President Bush, something Bozell might have noted had he not been so -- ah, hell, why would he, since he was already in the middle of such a blatant whopper? Meanwhile, Bozell is also ...

Working way too hard to dredge up enemies. With all the wall-to-wall coverage of the allegations (many of which are dubious at best) of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, surely Bozell can't whine that the "liberal media" isn't covering the story, right?

Wrong. The MRC has found a tiny sliver of the TV world that has not given it the total saturation coverage Bozell demands -- the morning shows.

"The reality that it took the network morning news programs 100 days to put a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on the air is not only bad journalism, but pure liberal bias," claims Bozell in an Aug. 24 press release.

Bozell than quickly extrapolates that, in the face of all ceaseless coverage, to impugn all TV networks: "The networks are proving their liberal bias by deliberately refusing to cover the news if it doesn't fit their agenda." This is proven wrong when Bozell starts ...

Messing with numbers. In another TV appearance, Bozell dismissed the fact, pointed out a fellow panelist, that the hundreds of mentions in the media of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is irrelevant because most of them occurred following the appearance of the group's first TV ad in August, not immediately following the group's first press conference in May.

Let's compare apples to apples. If Bozell is going to insist that full-on mainstream media coverage of Swift Boat Vets should have started upon its first press conference, he should also insist that similar coverage of a similar event -- the National Guard record of George W. Bush -- should have begun when it was first reported by the Boston Globe way back in May 2000. Yet the mainstream media didn't notice until early this year, when Michael Moore made comments drawing attention to it. You will probably find fewer stories in LexisNexis on Bush and the National Guard between mid-2000 and early 2004 than Swift Boat Vets stories between May and August. Which takes us to ...

Off-camera verbal abuse of fellow TV panelists. The man who pointed out the accurate story count during the above TV appearance was Paul Waldman of the online magazine Gadflyer. He tells a disturbing tale of what happened when the cameras stopped rolling.

Turns out Bozell didn't like anything else Waldman had to say on TV either, and wasn't willing to let it go when the show was over. According to Waldman, Bozell came up to him later and declared, "That was horseshit, what you said!" Things just got uglier from there, according to Waldman's transcript of the conversation:

WALDMAN: What part of it?

BOZELL: You're a liar!

WALDMAN: What are you talking about?

BOZELL: That stuff about Kerry!

WALDMAN: What, about atrocities?

BOZELL: He called them war criminals!

WALDMAN: He didn't accuse any individuals of anything.

BOZELL: You're a liar!

WALDMAN: He never accused those guys of anything.

BOZELL: John Kerry is a liar, and you're a liar!

WALDMAN: What are you talking about?

BOZELL: Fuck you!
Waldman goes on to note that Bozell remains an angry man despite his fellow conservatives being in control of the White House and both houses of Congress and his distorted canard about the "liberal media" being dominant. If a man can't be happy after achieving that kind of success, there's a severe problem.

So, sad to say, look for more outright lies and off-camera verbal abuse from Bozell in the months to come. And if Kerry wins the election, that just may set him off completely. His fellow MRC employees may want to keep an eye on the company gun cabinet. (Since all conservatives love guns, y'know, it makes sense that there would be one.)

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