Blinded By The Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Book Reviews | Nov 15th, 2006

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Author: David Brock
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: Politics
Pages: 288
Retail Price: 9.99
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As a cold-hearted conservative, venomous reporter, slanderous author, and character assassin, David Brock gained notoriety for his American Spectator article on Clinton’s years in Arkansas, as told by state troopers, which helped set the table for the Paula Jones lawsuit.

He also penned the popular The Real Anita Hill, tarnishing the subject’s reputation through shoddy journalism, which changed public opinion on Clarence Thomas, helping him get his seat on the Supreme Court. While writing his follow-up, The Seduction of Hillary Rodham, Brock attempted objectivity and better journalistic practices, resulting in an even-handed book that deeply drove in a wedge between him and the Clinton-hating right who wanted another hatchet job.

Depressed, alienated, and facing an identity crisis, Brock began reevaluating his career and life (the two were inseparable), and decided to spill his guts to clear his conscience. The result is Blinded By The Right, a fascinating dish-y tell-all wrapped in a memoir. The book is a frightening look at the greasy (and filthy) wheels of politics: the lying, the spinning, the scandal-creating, the shadowy funding, and, of course, the hypocrisy.

The book details the behind-the-scenes of Troopergate and the Arkansas Project, giving good support to Hillary’s infamous claim that she and Bill were being targeted by a “vast right wing conspiracy.” There are also tons of anecdotes and conversations illustrating the hypocrisy, insanity, and unethical and illegal activities of many of Brock’s former friends in their attempts to create and perpetuate scandals against the Clintons.

While the book is spellbinding, it doesn’t have as many revelations as I had hoped. I was giddy from the personal attacks on Republicans, but I was disappointed by the lack of any information I hadn’t already known. Any news junkie knows by now that conservative politicians and reporters staged a quiet, underground war against the Clintons (funded by Richard Mellon Scaife), dredging the muck in Arkansas for any sleazy story they could find.

I also have to question Brock’s motives. The book is obviously another hatchet job, but just in the opposite direction. Since he’s not a profitable author for the right anymore, it could seem this book was written not as a purging memoir to clean his troubled soul, but a way to get back in the spotlight and on the bestseller lists, only this time to be embraced by the center and left.

His words do seem sincere, and it does seem like he’s an emotional and mental mess over his past actions, but at times it seems like it’s overdone. Some parts feel like he’s sobbing over the page, leaving some reviewers to consider his book too self-pitying, while more jaded reviewers feel it’s a faade to mask self-love. Clearly, Brock wants you to sympathize with him, but how can you trust a confirmed liar?

Although I’m skeptical of the tone and motive, the content rings true, and the deafening silence from the usually defensive right helps Brock’s case (only a handful of tiny details have been debated, the rest of Brock’s accusations have remained unopposed. And even though Drudge’s recent smear campaign uncovered Brock’s stay at a mental hospital to make it seem like Brock is an insane liar, the important content in the book was never refuted by him).

Overall, this is a gripping and eye-opening book about the repugnant depths into which our two political parties sink to undermine each other, specifically the “moral majority” and the “unifiers, not dividers” who are anything but.

Bottom Line: Fascinating self-evaluation of hypocracy.
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