Blinded by the Right by David Brock (2002)

BrockBlindedRightPlease note that this book was published in 2002. Twelve years ago. So why haven’t we heard about the crooks and liars being arrested, or sued for millions by the people they lied about, or something? I suppose the book itself provides the answer: powerful conservatives do not often face consequences for their actions, however despicable.

David Brock was a student at Berkeley in the early 1980s, when it was fashionable to be a conservative to distinguish oneself from the very liberal faculty, most of whom were students in the 1960s. As a bright, attractive gay man during the “Rainbow revolution” days in San Francisco, he had his closet door open, but did not really come out.

So began his very complicated career in political journalism when he moved to Washington, D.C., slammed the door of the closet, and began responding to the demands of the political right that was in bed with the religious right, which could not accept the idea of a homosexual in their midst. Still, he does not claim that homophobia was primarily responsible for the really awful things he wrote and said, although it was certainly a factor.

The book centers on the dirty and even dirtier tricks the far right carried out during the Bill Clinton administration, which went on for years before anyone heard of Monica Lewinsky. Indeed, it wasn’t until I read this book that I discovered just how much of what I had seen and heard in the news at the time was just plain lies and carefully engineered traps. It is standard in journalism to fact-check: Brock never had anything he or his newspaper, the Spectator, fact-checked. Indeed, they were not interested in the facts at all.

There are times when this book sounds like a lot of name-dropping, but that’s the natural consequence of Brock’s topic. These were people with power and influence during the 1990s, or have gained name-recognition since. So once again I ask: why not indictments, why no libel suits?

Statements in this review do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.