by Scoobie Davis
A Spectacle So Bizarre that I Had To See It To Believe It
Today there was a meeting of the minds of two of the biggest conspiracy nuts on the American political right: David Horowitz and Pat Robertson. Horowitz appeared on Robertson's 700 Club television show to discuss his new book The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Have Seized Control of the Democratic Party (co-authored with Richard Poe). Horowitz apparently is still smarting over being taken to the woodshed by Media Matters for America about the shoddiness of the book. Three weeks ago, Media Matters published a long post debunking the main premises of the book which Media Matters researchers found to be rife with libels, slipshod conclusions, and assaults on Soros that mirror those of fringe presidential candidate and conspiracy nut Lyndon LaRouche (click here for an amusing post on the Larouchies). The misinformation is Shadow Party was so egregious that even Fox News operatives confronted Horowitz about it--something that probably caught Horowitz completely off-guard. Despite promising "exhaustive" rebuttals to the Media Matters post, Horowitz and Poe have yet to offer one (which is not surprising because the facts are on Media Matters' side).
Horowitz is addressing Media Matters' substantive criticism in another way: using the hard right's extensive media apparatus to launch attacks against Media Matters. Today's 700 Club appearance was an example of this strategy. Horowitz used the appearance to make the wing-nut claim that "George Soros now controls that Democratic Party." Horowitz called Media Matters "a shadowy group" run by David Brock, who, Horowitz claimed, admitted to making "a career by smearing people." Horowitz went on saying that he doesn't know of a group that possesses "lower ethical standards than Media Matters."
1. What makes Media Matters dangerous is not that it smears people. What makes it dangerous is that it records the words of the right's media apparatus and gives sober and thoughtful analysis. When a post on Media Matters quotes a wing-nut saying something false or stupid, it usually provides a transcript of the entire conversation so that the reader can determine if the quote is in context and if the criticism is warranted. As I have mentioned in the previous post, right-wing institutions such as hate radio have gotten away with murder because, until Media Matters came along, there wasn't an organized group monitoring and transcribing their hate-filled diatribes on a daily basis. Members of the right's media apparatus hate Media Matters because MM's monitoring of the right's media means that the Limbaughs, Hannitys, and O'Reillys of the world can no longer smear with impunity.
2. I'm surprised about Horowitz's claim that David Brock made a career out of smearing people. Brock admitted that in the 1990's he was part of a concerted effort to discredit Anita Hill and then-president Clinton that was subsidized by paranoid conspiracy theorist Richard Mellon Scaife. An example was Brock's reporting of the "Troopergate" hoax. When the lurid tales by the troopers were exposed as fabrications and when Brock found out that the troopers were paid to fabricate stories, Brock came clean and repudiated his actions and devoted his life to exposing the truth about the right's attempts to use the media to smear opponents.
So Horowitz is partially correct. Brock was a hatchet-man when he worked for Horowitz's benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife. However, he now is exposing the lies of his former friends.
3. This isn't the first time that Horowitz smeared Brock. Horowitz was part of the right's unsuccessful attempt to smear Brock when his book Blinded by the Right was published.
4. It is hardly surprising that Horowitz would use an intellectual sewer like Robertson's 700 Club (quick note: the 700 Club was the forum Jerry Falwell used to blame the 9/11 attacks on gays and progressives) to attack Media Matters. Horowitz was spewing his LaRouchesque conspiracy theories on the show run by a man whose 1991 book The New World Order is a compendium of the looniest conspiracy theories since The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion hoax. Although it was a bizarre spectacle, it made perfect sense for two conspiracy nuts to discuss George Soros' plans to rule the world.
Note: This post is also on HorowitzWatch.
UPDATE: Media Matters has a post on the exchange.