Watson, the game is afoot! In an April 25 appearance on CNN’s Crossfire, David Brock complained that his book, Blinded by the Right, was being ignored by the conservative press. Let’s go to the transcript:
Brock: Conservative dominated talk shows that love my previous work won’t talk about it. And I think the conservatives are in denial.James Carville: How many talk shows have you been on let’s just say the Fox network?Brock: I have not been on Fox at all.Carville: But no one invited you on?Brock: No.Carville: Wait, I thought this is you decide, huh?Brock: It’s not.Carville: No?Brock: It’s they decide.
Almost immediately, the Media Research Center and Andrew Sullivan.com, both of them conservative Web sites, pointed out that Brock had been interviewed by Fox News’ David Asman on March 18, rendering “I have not been on Fox at all” a lie. The conservative Kathryn Jean Lopez called Brock’s claim “pathological.” Then the liberal Media Whores Online reported that the CNN transcript was wrong and that Brock had actually said, “I have not been on Fox prime time at all,” an important distinction because Brock’s Fox interview had aired during the afternoon. The liberal American Prospect Online quickly followed suit. Chatterbox, who believes that Brock never gave up the lying habit, consulted the tape and discovered that the liberals were right: Brock had said, “I have not been on Fox prime time at all.” The words “prime time” had been missed by the CNN transcriber.
On the larger point, though, the conservatives were right to view Brock’s remarks as misleading. He didn’t say “prime time” very loudly—co-host Tucker Carlson, who was sitting quite close to Brock, tells Chatterbox he didn’t hear Brock say “prime time” at all—and Carville, notably, failed to pick up on the distinction as they continued to discuss the matter. A Brock who was less concerned about staying on message and more bent on conveying the truth would have added, “Let’s be clear—I appeared on Fox News during the day last month, but I haven’t been asked to appear on Fox News’ evening shows, which get bigger ratings.” Making that distinction too clear, though, would have risked making Brock sound peevish about what hour Fox News chose to plug his book—yet another reason to muddy it.