The Book of the Week is “Blinded By the Right, The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative” by David Brock, published in 2002.
Born in 1962 in Jersey City, New Jersey, the author was raised Catholic. His mother– who was embarrassed that he and his younger sister were adopted– forced them to behave dishonestly to keep that secret.
As is well known in the United States, people have been displaying childish fury at emotionally-charged political issues, it seems like, forever. In connection therewith, the author recounted an incident at his liberal arts college, the University of California at Berkeley in the autumn of 1982.
As a believer of Republican rhetoric, he attended an event featuring a speech by United Nations ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick. The United States was interfering with the politics of El Salvador. In protest, hecklers who had poor impulse control threw blood at the podium and their screaming drowned out the speaker. Security lifted nary a finger to dispel such rudeness. The takeaway was that the hecklers had more of a right to free speech than did the speaker whose views they opposed.
The author wrote that upon realizing his homosexuality, he channeled his self-loathing into writing petty, vengeful and mean-of-spirit articles that attacked his political enemies– liberal Democrats. Here is an illustration of how political influencers indoctrinate impressionable young people:
A man is walking past a mental institution and hears all the residents chanting, “Thirteen! Thirteen! Thirteen!” Being curious about all this, he finds a hole in the fence and looks in. Someone pokes him in the eyes. The residents start chanting, “Fourteen! Fourteen! Fourteen!”
Anyway, in 1986, the author completed a fellowship for the Heritage Foundation, a tax-exempt group that (illegally) fronted for conservative Republicans. By the 1990’s, writing for American Spectator magazine, he had gone off the deep end with his propaganda, viciously defaming liberals. He got really famous (a dubious distinction) after his book, The Real Anita Hill was published. As was becoming more and more common among political propagandists, he was highly compensated for his ability to spew hatred articulately, and rationalizing his hurting others by saying they were hurting him, or his party, or his country.
Long story short: for a long time, the author was living a lie, socializing with largely shallow, homophobic (ironically!), anti-feminist, anti-intellectual conservative social climbers like Arianna Huffington, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter.
About his tenure at American Spectator, the author remarked, “In twelve years of right-wing journalism, my work had never been fact-checked.” That’s comforting.
The 1990’s saw the start of a trend (which is only getting worse) in which people who call themselves journalists, cobble together some hearsay and tabloid articles and call it a book. Gary Aldrich was one such author, who used a third-hand quote from Brock in his salacious tell-all about then-president Bill Clinton.
Read the book to learn when, how and why Brock’s political views changed.