JWR Roger SimonMona CharenLinda Chavez
Jacob SullumJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellWilliam PfaffRobert Scheer
Don FederCal Thomas
Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / March 13, 1998 / 15 Adar, 5758

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas David Brock's Turnabout

As a strategy, David Brock's multi-media "apology" to President Clinton for writing the American Spectator story that led to the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit may be good for his journalistic career. It also helps the Clinton defense team's strategy divert attention from the president's alleged behavior to tangential issues. But even Brock in his Esquire magazine mea culpa and in his numerous television appearances has not denied the substance of what he was told by those Arkansas troopers.

American Spectator Editor-in-Chief R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. told me that nothing related to the allegations in Brock's article has ever been disproved, and "everything that has happened in the last six weeks corroborates and makes clear that Bill Clinton is guilty of obstruction of justice."

Brock's attempt to climb out of his perceived hole as a prisoner of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" began with a favorable book about Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although he received a large advance, the book bombed. Brock then started blaming conservatives for his falling fortunes and intimated he was being deserted by his "friends" because he is homosexual. At several social functions where Brock and I have been in attendance, I have never seen him shunned or heard anyone speak ill of him. Perhaps Brock needs a scapegoat in order to have his "sins" forgiven by the media gods.

Liberals love a rare convert from conservatism more than one of their longtime stalwarts, and Brock has been happy to walk their sawdust trail.

Now Brock is everywhere, raising his face and name recognition to position himself in the celebrity galaxy. Surely the next step will be calls from network presidents and talent agents.

In his Esquire "open letter" apology, Brock sounds as if he's trying out for the first team in the Clinton defense league. He questions the motives of the Arkansas state troopers who were his sources. He calls them "greedy" and says they had "slimy motives." Vocal Clinton supporters James Carville and Paul Begala could not have put it better.

What about the "sliming" of Paula Jones, allegedly inside that hotel room by Gov. Clinton, and the "slime" machine that has been turned on high since her lawsuit was filed? Who can forget Carville's line about never knowing what you'll find when you drag a $100 bill through a trailer park?

The motive of Clinton's accusers, not the truth of the allegations, is where Clinton defenders want the public to focus. Rather than considering the president's behavior and whether he has lied under oath, Brock offers a blanket pardon, saying Clinton's private behavior shouldn't matter. But it's too late for that. We've moved well beyond the sex, and we're now into perjury, suborning of perjury and obstruction of justice.

As for the "open political agenda" Brock says Clinton detractors have, did Richard Nixon's enemies, and Ronald Reagan's, and George Bush's, have pure and non-political agendas when they attacked these Republican presidents for actual and alleged wrongdoing?

Brock says he's now "abandoned that form of journalism." Does that mean he no longer cares about the truth regarding this president's behavior? If so, it isn't the form of journalism he has abandoned, but the substance.

Brock makes of himself more than he should when he claims his article was responsible for everything that followed, including Monica Lewinsky. If he thinks that not writing about what the troopers told him would have meant reporters would have overlooked the incendiary claims of a young White House intern, he's sadly mistaken.

Still, in our age of celebrity, look for Brock to be offered a commentator role on a major or cable network. It's the least the big media can do for a "sinner" who has apologized and seen the light. Maybe he'll be offered a job working at the White House with Sidney Blumenthal. The Clinton administration can never have too many apologists.


©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.