Joe Conason's Journal

A conservative propagandist indulges his own disturbing, violent fantasy over at the National Review.

Published May 23, 2003 6:04PM (EDT)

Frum the gutter
For anyone seeking to understand the neuroses of our right-wing intelligentsia, David Frum provided fresh clinical evidence in his NRO diary yesterday. Scroll down through his attack on Head Start (and his assiduous butt-kissing of Bill Buckley) to the item headlined "A Bombing at Yale."

That is where he commented on the explosion in a classroom at the university's law school on Wednesday:

"Good news that nobody was hurt -- but this sounds a lot less like Middle Eastern terrorism than good old-fashioned union violence: 2003 was another bad year for labor relations in New Haven."

As a conservative with plenty of inherited wealth, Frum naturally dislikes unions. But his revolting smear against the grad students, janitors and secretaries who have organized at Yale goes beyond mere ideological hostility. It's a casual libel for which he adduces no evidence at all, because of course there is none. Led by John Wilhelm, the widely respected president of the hotel union and magna cum laude Yale alumnus, the university's employees have organized without a hint of violence.

There is at least one prominent potential suspect in the bombing, as I discovered on the same National Review Online Web site that features Frum's blithering. In this 1998 item promoting an Esquire article by Ron Suskind, NRO quoted its "best anecdote" and then added a flip remark:

"In Thomas's office at the Supreme Court, he keeps a sign on the bookshelf. It reads: 'SAVE AMERICA, BOMB YALE LAW SCHOOL.' Thomas should know. He's an alumnus."

So by Frum's standards of evidence, Justice Thomas should be cuffed and printed any minute now -- and the NRO editors should be picked up as suspected accomplices. Actually, conservative propagandists like him are constantly projecting their own violent fantasies onto their adversaries. Frum owes an apology to Wilhelm, the union and its members at Yale.
[1:38 p.m. PST, May 23, 2003]

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