ConWebWatch home
ConWebBlog: the weblog of ConWebWatch
Search and browse through the ConWebWatch archive
About ConWebWatch
Who's behind the news sites that ConWebWatch watches?
Letters to and from ConWebWatch
ConWebWatch Links
Buy books and more through ConWebWatch

Update: Borking Brock

Conservatives try to discredit a former ally -- but not his conservative-friendly writings. Plus: another WorldNetDaily tantrum over proper credit, and NewsMax's 'defense' of Fox News.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 7/20/2001

The conservative abandonment of David Brock continues.

Brock, the former conservative literary hitman who has seen the error of his ways, is laying bare his actions in a book to be released this fall. Back in May, he accused Ted Olson of not being completely truthful about his role in the anti-Clinton "Arkansas Project" at American Spectator magazine, which incurred the wrath of his former allies at the Wall Street Journal. Now, with his recent apology for lies and distortions in his book "The Real Anita Hill" designed to make Hill look bad, the Brock-bashing began anew with the goal of painting him as a liar who can't be trusted.

"Given these tactics, why in the name of Heaven, should anyone give the least credence to any of the charges or stories he's currently offering up?" wrote Cynthia Grenier in her July 10 WorldNetDaily column.

"Either Brock was lying in 1993 to further his career as a conservative journalist, or he's lying now to further his career as an ex-conservative ex-journalist. One thing is clear, though: Either way, David Brock is a liar," wrote the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto on June 27.

Taranto's description of Brock -- as a liar at some point, so he shouldn't be believed now -- also describes Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Bill Clinton of rape, and the Journal certainly didn't treat Broaddrick as harshly.

Brock also gets trashed by WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, who declares that he's renouncing his relationship with Brock in a July 10 column. Farah accuses Brock, in addition to being an untrustworthy liar, of caring only about money and publicity: "He may be the most opportunistic man in America. He may put Bill Clinton to shame in that department."

There's another reason Farah's miffed, too: several years back the Western Journalism Center, which Farah co-founded and from whence WorldNetDaily sprung, gave Brock a $2,000 cash award in honor of his work on the so-called "troopergate" scandal -- and Farah wants the money back. "Now, since David Brock is expressing regret and remorse over having participated in such journalism, I assume he will be most eager to return the $2,000 award as quickly as possible," he writes.

There is one thing missing from all this criticism of Brock, though. If he's as untrustworthy as conservatives now say he is, that means his original trashing of Anita Hill needs to be called into question. But nobody's doing that. Nobody's saying that "The Real Anita Hill" is too flawed to be believed. Conservatives apparently have too much invested in their vision of Clarence Thomas as victim of a "high-tech lynching" to consider the possibility that Hill may have been telling the truth.

* * *

When someone at WorldNetDaily demands credit for something, they don't mess around.

On the heels of WND's jihad against The New Republic magazine for not giving WND the credit it thought it deserved, columnist Hugh Hewitt throws a similar tantrum.

Seems the San Francisco Chronicle ran a list of proposed campaign slogans for California Gov. Gray Davis that originated on Hewitt's talk-radio show. Thus, as he describes it in his June 26 column, not only did he demand a correction from the Chronicle, he told his listeners to point out the injustice not only to the Chronicle but to media-news maven Jim Romenesko and Washington-based media critic Howard Kurtz.

The Chronicle did follow up with a clarification naming Hewitt as the source of the list, but that wasn't enough for Hewitt; he wanted his web site listed and his WND work noted, which included the list in a column criticizing Davis. "But my favorite part is the paper's decision to conceal where my original work night have been read in its entirety, or how my website might provide more detail. I guess a WorldNetDaily reference or a peek at my relentlessly center-right writings might have endangered those nifty private zoo tour invites," he whines.

Hewitt is quite clear, at least, in stating that his main concern is publicity: "So why fuss about this? On a practical level, a syndicated radio show can grow in one of two ways. It can add audience in markets where it is already carried. And it can add new markets by persuading program directors that the show will add to that station's lineup. ... The Davis list was a homerun, except thousands of people don't know who hit it."

So being motivated by publicity is a good thing when a conservative does it, but bad when someone like David Brock (allegedly) does it? I'm confused.

* * *

If it was predictable that the left-of-center group Fairness and Accuracy in Media would declare that Fox News Channel has a conservative bias (not exactly the most earth-shattering revelation ever made, since most sentient humans have already figured that out despite Fox News CEO Roger Ailes' repeated assertions to the contrary, but FAIR does have some interesting statistics to back it up), it was also predictable that conservatives would attack FAIR over said declaration.

NewsMax fills this designated role quite nicely. In fact, in a July 2 article, they attack FAIR so vigorously that they forget to defend Fox News, let alone contradict anything FAIR has to say.

NewsMax starts in by calling FAIR a "collection of disgruntled New York City conservative haters" who rose to prominence "bashing talk radio's most popular personality, Rush Limbaugh" by exposing his "so-called fabrications and distortions." NewsMax doesn't disprove any of FAIR's accusations, but unearths the writer of a Limbaugh biography (which one reviewer called "more notable for background noise than substantive content") who works for "New York's most-liberal newspaper, Newsday" who calls FAIR's criticism unfair (but not incorrect). (For a current tally of Limbaugh's fabrications and distortions, check out Rush vs. Reality.)

NewsMax then cites FAIR's "yearlong letter-writing campaign against New York City conservative talker Bob Grant" over his bigoted remarks that eventually resulted in his firing from a Disney-owned radio station, according to the New York Post. It quotes a FAIR official as saying, "I challenge [the Post] to find one thing in our letter that calls for Grant's dismissal," then follows with FAIR excerpts about Grant that NewsMax thinks "read like a politically correct extortion note from Jesse Jackson" -- but say nothing about calling for Grant's dismissal. NewsMax then sums up: "How accurate were Fairness and Accuracy's charges against Grant? Not enough to keep Disney's New York radio competitor WOR from snapping him up two weeks later." The fact that another station hired Grant has nothing to do with the accuracy of FAIR's charges against him.

Finally, NewsMax calls FAIR "more like a liberal advocacy group that favors censoring conservative reporting." Whoops! They admit Fox News is conservative! They just proved FAIR right!

Fox News must be thrilled to have a "defense" such as this.

* * *

More so-called humor courtesy of the humor-challenged Media Research Center:

The MRC's July 13 CyberAlert cites yet another David Letterman Top 10 list, this one "Top Ten George W. Bush Observations About New York City." No. 5: "Too many Clintons." No. 1: "What a friendly town -- 5 ladies in Times Square asked if I'd like to have sex." Writer Brent Baker's not-terribly-witty aside: "Maybe business for #1 is up because of #5."

Don't give up your day job, Brent. Nobody likes a one-note comedian.

Send this page to:
Bookmark and Share
The latest from

In Association with
Support This Site

home | letters | archive | about | primer | links | shop
This site © Copyright 2000-01 Terry Krepel