"Boy, you have a lot of brass," Tucker Carlson tells David Brock. You can just hear Carlson thinking, the nerve of this guy, showing the world how the right wing manipulates American freedoms to undermine them. For them it is free speech, but they don't think we can handle the truth.
[Highlights from CNN's Crossfire broadcast 4/25/02]
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're coming to you live from the George Washington University in downtown Washington, D.C.
Coming up next, we talk to David Brock, the man who made a name for himself and a pile of dough writing for the right. Now he said he doesn't believe a word of what he wrote. Also, a bar stunt sparks controversy in Iowa City and has city officials burning mad. That story and our Thursday night police blotter. Be right back.
CARVILLE: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. It's said the pen is the mightier than the sword. Then our next guest wields a mighty deadly weapon. Through is writings, he introduced us to Paula Jones and took on Anita Hill. Now he says he was blinded by the right.
Please welcome David Brock, author of the New York Times best- selling book, "Blinded by the Right, the Conscience of an Ex- conservative."
How you doing?
CARLSON: David, how are you doing? Thanks for joining us.
DAVID BROCK, AUTHOR, "BLINDED BY THE RIGHT": Sure.
CARLSON: I read your book, every page. I could give you my take on it. But let me quote Tim Noah from "Slate" magazine. Tim is hardly a member of the right-wing conspiracy. He say, I'm quoting now, "This book is terrible, whiny, histrionic, and so factually unreliable that I gave practically gave myself a migraine trying to figure out which parts of Brock's lurid story were true and which parts were false."
And he goes on to list a number of lies that you told in the book. One sort of amazing busted moment where you said you knew nothing about Laura Ingram's past at Dartmouth. And he unearths an interview where you talk about it with "Vanity Fair." How much of the book is made up?
BROCK: None of the book is made up. And I read the Tim Noah piece. He's right that I had one date of an article off by a few months. And that's all he's right about. And as you know, having read I think not only the book, but the reviews of the book, that is an exception. Generally, reviewers have found it plausible. The right has pretended that what I say about them is not true. They know it's true. And you know, why don't you give me your take? You're in the book.
CARLSON: Well, actually, I will, David. Because it's funny you said that.
BROCK: You know a lot of the people in the book.
CARLSON: I know virtually everyone.
BROCK: You really think that doesn't ring true?
CARLSON: One part that I know that you made up, that is a lie, is the part about me. When you -- you wrote this sort of ludicrous piece in "Esquire," where you're tied to a stake and you know, my years on the right or whatever. And you and I had an exchange about it in "The Atlantic." And you claim that I called you up and said, "Gee, you know, David, I agree with every word in your 'Esquire' piece and I'm just attacking it to make a couple hundred dollars." That's an outright lie, as you know.
BROCK: You told me that.
CARLSON: That's a total lie, David. I never said that. I thought your piece was ludicrous then. I think it's ludicrous now. I never said that. And you made it up.
BROCK: That is what you said to me.
CARLSON: Ought you not be embarrassed, making this up and facing me on the set? Looking me in the eye and saying you really said that?
BROCK: I will look you right in the eye. That is exactly what you told me. Some friends have told me that it sounds just like you.
CARVILLE: Let me show you something that I know that...
CARLSON: You got a lot of guts, David.
CARVILLE: ...because we're going to post it on the much ballyhooed grand web site mediawhoresonline.com. And this is what they had to say. "Conservative media," this is what everybody in Washington reads. You need to check it out. "Conservative media outlets...have tried to ignore Brock's truthful revelations, putting him on what looks like a blacklist, refusing to review his book, refusing to have him appear on their broadcasts, hoping that he and his book will just GO AWAY." Does that ring true to you, David?
BROCK: Yes, absolutely. As I was saying to Tucker, the conservative magazines have not reviewed the book. Conservative dominated talk shows that love my previous work won't talk about it. And I think the conservatives are in denial.
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?
CARVILLE: Wait, I thought this is you decide, huh?
BROCK: It's not.
BROCK: It's they decide.
CARVILLE: They decide?
BROCK: And they decide that the public should know what the conservatives did in the '90s.
CARVILLE: So you're saying what the conservative movement, if you agree with them, then you can come on their shows? Then they'll promote your book? But you got another thing -- well that's not -- that's like a boycott.
BROCK: I actually found the same thing with the Hillary Clinton book when I didn't say that she was evil, the same thing. They promote what they want. They promote what they want you to hear. And otherwise, they don't.
CARLSON: I'm sorry to interrupt. I thought you made like about a million dollars off the Hillary Clinton book. Didn't you? In that neighborhood. I mean, the idea that you're put upon...
BROCK: Well, what I'm talking about is what the conservatives did, and what their view is. And the fact that they don't want people to know that, A, they put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, knowing about his past and covering that up. They spent more than $2 million to smear the Clintons as part of the Arkansas project, which Tucker, you wrote about in "New York" magazine. You know that happened. You know it was a smear campaign.
CARLSON: I'm not exactly sure. But let me just mention...
BROCK: You're not exactly sure. You wrote about it. I read what you wrote. You don't even remember what you wrote?
CARLSON: David, one of the -- I guess one of the more odious, and it was hard to pick, but one of the more odious things in your book was the name calling and the outing people. Now you're gay publicly. But some people don't choose to disclose that. And yet, there are a number of people in this book who you say were in a couple of ways and particularly smarmy manner, imply that they're gay.
CARLSON: The worst kind of character assassination, the character assassination...
BROCK: It's not character assassination.
CARLSON: I'm not going to repeat it, because I think it's wrong.
BROCK: Look, it's hard to write a book about hypocrites without telling the truth about them. And what's amazing about this...
CARLSON: But isn't that what you decry?
BROCK: ...conservative movement.
CARLSON: Their behavior?
BROCK: I don't decry their homosexuality. That's fine.
CARLSON: You decry...
BROCK: I decry their outing other people's private lives.
CARLSON: And yet you out them?
BROCK: Which is what I did. And I deserved to be outed at the time as well.
CARLSON: But then why are you doing it to people in your book?
BROCK: It's hypocrisy. And hypocrisy is endemic in the movement to one -- the biggest public moralizers during the Clinton period were doing exactly what they claimed falsely the Clintons were doing. In many cases, they were doing a lot worse. And you know them, because they're all of your friends.
CARVILLE: But let me ask you about -- this is something that -- a mockery here all the time is you have to be truthful under oath.
CARVILLE: Ted Olson, under oath, replying to Senator Leahy, said that it has been alleged that I was somehow involved in the so-called project, the Arkansas project, referring to. "I was not involved in the project in its origin or its management. As I understand it what that was, was a contribution by the foundation to conduct journalism and investigative journalism." Did Mr. Olson tell the truth under oath?
BROCK: He did not. He was up to his ears in the Arkansas...
CARVILLE: So wait, he is the current -- so listen, he lied under oath?
BROCK: He did.
CARVILLE: Clarence Thomas, you wrote a book about Anita Hill. Did Clarence Thomas tell the truth under oath?
BROCK: No. When I found out two years later that he had done many of the things that Anita alleged...
CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) children. We have a man on the Supreme Court that lied under oath?
BROCK: That's right.
CARVILLE: We have a man...
BROCK: And that's why (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CARVILLE: What are little cowgirls and cowboys going to do about -- what am I going to tell the children, Mr. Brock? I think we got a pack of liars out there, Mr. Brock.
BROCK: That's right. That's right.
CARLSON: You're speaking to a man who admits he lies. What do you -- I mean...
CARVILLE: These people under oath, there's no dispute they lied under oath. Now let me ask you another thing.
CARLSON: There's a huge dispute. The liar's telling the lie.
CARVILLE: Correct me if I'm wrong...
BROCK: There's plenty of documents to back up what I said about...
CARVILLE: Justice Thomas voted to select George Bush as president.
BROCK: That's correct. Right.
CARVILLE: Could there be a payback maybe?
BROCK: Absolutely. They have him over a barrel.
CARLSON: You're so deep in all...
CARVILLE: So you're saying that our -- oh, I see.
BROCK: The same people who put him on the court who led the Clinton campaign, who wrote to Ken Starr, they were the same people who decided the last.
CARVILLE: That Justice Scalia's son got a job with this administration?
BROCK: That's right. Yes.
CARLSON: May I just say, if I can just get away from the conspiracy just for one second?
CARVILLE: I'm just asking facts!
BROCK: It's not a conspiracy.
CARLSON: David, well actually -- it's actually so baroque and lunatic, that I'm not getting into it on television. But let me just ask you this.
CARVILLE: Because they lied under oath.
CARLSON: Hold on, let me just...
BROCK: There are a lot of other people who can back up what I said about Ted Olson. If they had a real investigation, you would've been found out that there were other people from "The Spectator" who would've said the same thing. Because he's a Republican, they make him a lead lawyer in the land.
BROCK: If he was a Democrat, he'd be in jail.
CARLSON: I'm sure that's true. But David, let me ask you this, though. And this is one of the things that kept occurring to me as I was reading the book.
It is a series of attacks on prominent conservative figures. Some of them actually are fair attacks. Some of the people you attack were shady people and I was glad to see you bash them. Some of them very unfair. Most of them, I thought, were unfair. But the bottom line is, you never addressed or came to terms with, or even really talked about the ideas. One moment you're a foaming right winger. The next moment, you're hanging around with Sidney Blumenthal. But you never quite explain -- I mean, did you change your views on trade or affirmative action or what -- you don't seem to ever have been grounded in political ideas at all. It seems like it was always about character assassination and still is?
BROCK: Look, that's what the right was in the '90s. I fell into it for those reasons.
CARLSON: No, but you're still doing it?
BROCK: What was Newt Gingrich about? Not ideas. He was about attacking people, about spending millions of dollars on scandal.
CARLSON: No, but where...
BROCK: That's what the whole book is about.
CARLSON: Has your ideology changed?
BROCK: That's what the whole book is about.
CARVILLE: Let's get some verification. Let's see if Mr. Robert Novak, co-host of CROSSFIRE, had to say about you. Do we have that quote up? Can we put that up there? Listen to this. I'm going to read this to you. "Mr. Brock is, I think, one of the fine investigative reporters in America." Robert Novak, CNN, June 20, 1996. Here you are endorsed by one of the icons of the American right as a fine investigative reporter. And you're sitting here telling us that our current Solicitor General and a member of the Supreme Court lied under oath. I fear for the children.
CARLSON: Now David Brock, I guess one of the worst effects of all is it gets James to ramble on like that. But of the many slurs in this book, you say of David Horowitz, who is a prominent conservative in Los Angeles, actually very pro-gay. As you know, on the record about that.
BROCK: But not privately.
CARLSON: You claim that he, and I think I'm quoting now, "uttered an anti-gay slur to a friend of yours, who is gay." But Horowitz didn't know he was gay. Well, Horowitz reads this and is upset by it, tracks down the person, your friend, who says that's totally made up, fictitious. Brock made that up. Horowitz confronts you with this. And what do you do? You ignore him. You don't even address the charge that you made this up. I hope you'll address it here.
BROCK: It's laughable. He said he's not a neoconservative. He's not an extremist.
CARLSON: Please address the core of my point.
BROCK: Anybody who's ever seen him knows he's an extremist.
BROCK: Well, I'm standing by what I wrote.
CARLSON: The guy...
BROCK: And in fact, since Horowitz wrote that, I've been in touch with other people who know about other homophobic things Horowitz had said.
CARLSON: No, it's not the other guy. It's the specific...
CARVILLE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Brock, he just quotes one guy about...
BROCK: I didn't misquote.
CARLSON: I'm telling you, James -- I'm telling you that there are a lot of things that you made up. You made that up about me.
BROCK: I did not make that up.
CARLSON: As you know, you made it up. And you have a lot of brass to get up here and look me in the eye and say you didn't make it up.
BROCK: I did not make it up.
CARVILLE: I tell you what, folks, you'll do yourself right, Get out and buy this book and you can see it and judge for yourself because you just heard on the crossfire...
CARLSON: And don't believe a word of it. But David Brock, thank you for coming on.
BROCK: Thanks very much.
CARLSON: Boy, you've got a lot of brass, David Brock.
CARVILLE: And what are going to tell the children?