Brock and Bruni

Readers respond to reviews of "Blinded by the Right" and "Ambling Into History"; a Muslim reader suggests that we should take Steven Emerson seriously.

By Letters to the Editor

Published March 11, 2002 9:00AM (EST)

Read "Terrorists Under the Bed"

As a Muslim I appreciate non-Muslim writers trying to understand and appreciate my religion.

As an American who shuns the extremism too often found in Muslim communities, I cannot fathom apologists like your Eric Boehlert.

Steven Emerson is by no means flawless and there are valid criticisms to be made about him. But Boehlert is a propagandist. A poor one at that. Hamas and Hezbollah have indeed killed Americans -- abroad. Boehlert tries to hide this by saying that these groups have yet to kill an American in the U.S. An "innocent" American in the U.S. Those who don't make such distinctions are not fooled, but since most readers are not expert in such wordplay -- the kind too often found in the Middle East -- they miss the precision and accept as true (though it is not) that these groups have never killed an American.

As if killing Israeli civilians, schoolchildren, is excusable!

I deplore the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza but I do not condone terrorist retaliations, nor do I seek to excuse it, nor do I seek to condone it through fancy wordplay. I have been reading Boehlert's propaganda in your publication for some time and I cannot say the same for him. Surely you must have a writer who can review a book like Emerson's -- counteracting the zealotry of the Daniel Pipeses of the world -- without engaging in it himself. Otherwise there is no credibility to the important refutations.

I mean, who takes Eric Boehlert seriously? Muslims like myself who know better would not. Friends like Boehlert we do not need.

-- Kareem Siddiqi

Thank for having the courage to expose Emerson's Jihad against Muslims. His shoddy "research" and his hateful spewing has exploited people's eagerness to learn about global politics in the aftermath of Sept 11. He and Daniel Pipes serve as propogandic mouthpieces for Israeli interests and should be exposed as such.

-- S. Khan

That was the most unbelievable, awesome, inspired, educated and thought-provoking review of Emerson's idiotic book I have read to date. What a great writer. It's about time that a mainstream organization exposed Emerson's bullshit for what it is.

-- Jack Dempsy

Finally someone is standing up to Mr. Emerson's slanderous attacks on Muslims, and any Muslim activist or organization that dares to raise its voice in defense of justice for all, including Muslims. Mr. Emerson has been all over the place. Unfortunately, his hatred and ridiculous opinions about Muslims sell well, especially nowadays with the political atmosphere and implications of the Sept. 11 tragedy. I applaud your article as a sign that good journalism did not die. With people eager to get the truth out, I think, justice and fairness will prevail.

-- Kamal Yassin

Read the review of "Ambling Into History"

I am ill. How can you describe this moron as a "compassionate man"? He is a shallow, spoiled rich kid; a sociopath with a frightening perversion that allows him to enjoy inflicting pain and death on others. He lacks the compassion to behave appropriately at a funeral, for God's sake. A "decent" man? Ask any child dependent on the Medicaid program in Texas, any death row inmate in a Texas prison or an Afghan child whose home has been blown to bits to create a suitable press release for the U.S. military about the decency of this moral midget. Bruni, it turns out, is just another media whore.

-- Susan Epstein

I find amusing the amount of energy spent by leftist organizations attempting to ridicule someone they disapprove of for simply being ... well, simple. This is where the left and the right clash: One believes that man's ultimate goal is to further the cultures of art, music and science while the other believes that the meaning of life lies not on anything so tangible as cultural elitism, but something much more abstract, the ultimate question of God with respect to man, or vice versa. The left is infuriated by a president who isn't consumed with what people think of him and doesn't rely on polls to make his next move. Of course he doesn't know who the latest boy band is ... why should he? He is a simple, God-fearing man who bases his decisions on simple definitions of right and wrong. One doesn't have to take a cultural calculus course to figure out what this man is about. He doesn't get bogged down with moral relativism. If anything, we've raised the bar because we finally have a president who doesn't have to figure out the meaning of "is."

-- Reuben L. Owens

When future historians write their accounts of the illegitimate presidency of George W. Bush and the coup that brought him to power, they will not be kind to collaborationist reporters like Frank Bruni.

-- David Harnden-Warwick

It seems to me that there is another unexplored (at least by the media) side to G.W. as well. How can this "good hearted," "caring" person have so little hesitancy to steamroller the opposition to his own personal goals? As Bush states, "There are a lot of people who would make great presidents, but didn't chose to run." Is not one of those people Sen. McCain, who did choose to run but who got fairly submarined in Carolina? That didn't seem very compassionate to me. And given his actions during the election recount ("Gore is stealing the election") as well as the latest "bipartisian spirit" approach (with attack ads against Daschle), one could hardly argue that this is out of character. One could say this is only the work of his subordinates, but isn't that just his CEO style at work. For a guy with such a good heart inside a soft shell, he sure finds it easy to take hard-line approaches.

-- Doug Walker

What bothers me about our president is the fact that most of the media is scared to dwell upon: Does it take the lives of 3,000 innocents to bring the best out of this man?

I mean we are not talking about a Hollywood flick where the whiz pitcher turns around in the last inning.

I agree Bush is more like the "guy next door" president. But to see him pause a hundred times before he finishes a sentence on national television is as disheartening as seeing Sergio Garcia regrip 63 times before he makes the shot. Is this the best that America has to offer especially in times like these? Are our standards so low that we appreciate someone with a sense of humor of a 8-year old?

On a different note, kudos to Salon for having the courage to ask all the right questions. I have canceled my cable after Sept. 11 and switched over to Salon, just because I was tired of all the pacifists and patronizers on TV. Where has the dialogue gone? Also where is the liberal press (other than Salon)? After all, was not Jesus Christ a liberal in his times?

-- Sambhu Sivalenka

Read "The Apostate"

The review of David Brock's book was a bunch of self-hating liberal crap. You just can't enjoy the fact that Brock is coming clean on his former right-wing allies without casting your doubts on his truthfulness. Enjoy the moment -- he's telling the truth, and nothing but the truth.

And as for Matt Drudge -- it's obvious from Brock's account as well as a previously published revelation by one of Drudge's former lovers that Drudge is gay. What proof do you want? Photos of Drudge taking it up the ass? Even then, you'd probably say the photos were faked. I don't care personally one way or the other if he's gay. But since Drudge is a professional character assassin, Brock's revelation is poetic justice.

-- Sean Brodrick

It is amazing how most "mainstream" reviewers were all gaga over Brock when he reported his Clinton-smearing stories. Now that he has more or less come clean they seem to look soooo hard to find problems with his new book.

Hum? Can you say hypocrites?

-- Ron Couch

David Brock was a liar when he was attacking Anita Hill, and he is a liar now when he is attacking Matt Drudge. He might tell the truth once in a while, but who can tell? I find it amusing that the conservatives who loved him when he was attacking their enemies now claim that he was never any good. The liberals who now embrace Brock are just as bad. Both sides should know that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Having Brock for a friend is a little like owning a pet mad dog. The dog does scare away burglars, but you don't want to turn your back on the beast.

-- John Mize

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