Brock Agonistes

In the July Esquire David Brock (author of The Real Anita Hill) recounts and recants his history as a right-wing journalistic hit man. He paints an amusing and believable portrait of a Washington conservative propaganda machine that operates like the Communist Party Central Committee: Supplying the line to be mouthed identically by its captive journalists, commentators, policy analysts, and politicians. Those who depart from the party line aren’t executed, but they are ostracized.

But Brock’s intellectual dishonesty remains on display. He describes his famous Troopergate article in the American Spectator as “perhaps the most humiliating portrait of a sitting president ever published,” and brags that, “Within two months, Paula Jones (identified in my piece simply as ‘Paula’) had stepped forward to make her unprecedented sexual-harassment claim against Clinton.” He fails to note that in his piece “Paula”–far from claiming sexual harassment–emerged from the hotel room expressing a desire to be Clinton’s regular side dish. In fact it was anger over the inaccuracy of Brock’s article, Jones says, that caused her to sue. Does Brock now believe Jones’ version of events or his own?

In short, Brock’s portrait of himself as the only honest man in the midst of hypocrites and liars is, at best, only half convincing.