David Brock comes clean

The former conservative writer admits lying to smear Anita Hill. Plus: Katherine Harris returns. This time, it's personal ...

Published June 27, 2001 4:23PM (EDT)

Big buzz

Our "Robert McNamara School of Repentance" award goes to David Brock, who now admits lying in an effort to discredit Anita Hill once she came forward in 1991 to make allegations of sexual harassment against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Brock, author of the 1993 book "The Real Anita Hill," which characterized Hill as a liar, also claims Thomas used an intermediary to dish Brock damaging information about a woman who had come forward to provide support for Hill's accusations of harassment by Thomas. Brock now admits to using the information to bully the woman into retracting her statements about Thomas.

The news comes in an excerpt of Brock's forthcoming book, "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex Conservative," published in the August issue of Talk magazine. The book is due out in September.

Since making a reputation for bashing Bill and Hillary Clinton, Brock has enraged conservatives by changing his stripes. He led an unsuccessful attempt to thwart the nomination of Theodore Olson as solicitor general, claiming Olson lied about his involvement in the Arkansas Project.

Among Brock's most strident opponents have been the people at Lucianne.com, whose editorial staff published this note on the Lucianne.com home page Wednesday. In writing about the rumored pending demise of the American Spectator, the staff writes: "We hope it doesn't die. They did good work (all except for their short-lived consideration of David Brock as a full human being).

The passage goes on to call Brock "a worthless piece of journalistic roadkill." But that was still kinder than what the Lucianne posters had to say.

"Coincidentally Brock has another book to hawk. What a maggot-like opportunist," writes one poster.

Others struck more homophobic tones, confusing their hatred for Brock with their hatred of all homosexuals. "I wonder if he has a new leftist lover who persuaded him to join the other side. Whatever is the real story behind this story, it's not integrity," reads one post. Another poster adds: "Shameful, what a rotton little turd he is. Hate to say this, but this is one person I'd like to see contract AIDS and die a lingering, painful death."


Though Brock may be trying to cleanse his soul of what he now believes are past transgressions, he doesn't seem to be making many friends on the left. "Mr. Brock, were you lying then or are you lying now? This guy has zero credibility," writes one poster at Plastic.com.

Adds another: "Dick Morris anyone? Quickly now, point out the hypocrite. Frankly, I think Brock got wind of the sweet book deal that the 'libs' gave Jeffords and went balistic. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em..."

Anger management

Now we know why Katherine Harris missed out on last weekend's Freepalooza. She was busy penning hate mail to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and its chairwoman, Mary Frances Berry.

The Washington Times reports Harris will accuse the commission of "conducting a bogus investigation into the presidential election because its Chairwoman Mary Frances (sic) Barry, was rooting for Al Gore. Mrs. Harris has drafted a stinging indictment of the commission's majority ruling, which accused her and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush of presiding over an election in which blacks were systematically disenfranchised."

The Times obtained a copy of the Harris letter blasting the commission and its investigation into voting irregularities in Florida. "Instead of helping to create a blueprint for an election system that no American ever again doubts whether his or her vote counts, the majority have crafted a battle plan for politicians interested in wielding the sword of racial division," Harris said in the executive summary of her rebuttal.

The Times reports that Harris "blamed the commission's partisanship on the fact that the election's loser was Mr. Gore, 'the candidate the chairperson of the commission supported.'"

Harris leaked her rebuttal to the conservative paper seemingly in retaliation for the commission's leak of the majority opinion to liberal newspapers earlier this month, before it had been distributed to the two Republican appointees of the commission. Her response will be officially released Wednesday at the conclusion of Senate hearings about the election.

Harris said the leaks of the initial report, which she referred to as "the degrading and defamatory bromides ... constituted an obviously malicious attempt to poison public opinion before any person could conduct an impartial, sober evaluation of the majority's findings. Such activity betrays a political bias that implodes the presumption of rectitude that has historically accompanied the commission's mandate."

There have been a lot of phrases used to describe the Florida election by Red vs. Blue readers. Somehow, "presumption of rectitude" didn't make the list.

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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