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Showing 1-10 of 17 reviews(2 star). See all 376 reviews
on March 2, 2017
David Brock is no inspiration. He is a transparent opportunist and as such, he is very tiresome. Not worth my time. Not an authentic change of character.
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on August 27, 2015
I feel as though he learned nothing because this book is bashing Republicans, just as he had the Democrats. I read this intending to gain perspective into the Republican viewpoints, but if anything, it reaffirmed my beliefs. This is not what I wanted to read!
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2002
David Brock, ex-hatchet man for the far right, turns his hatchet on his erstwhile comrades in Blinded by the Right, a bridge-burning memoir of his time with the movers and shakers of the conservative movement. In it, he exposes the shaky journalism with which he produced the famous (or infamous) book The Real Anita Hill to legitimize Clarence Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court and trumped up the Troopergate scandal to vex the Clintons. However, he commits the same sins in this book that he deplores in his earlier work. He derides himself for throwing in irrelevant asides, yet cannot name a conservative figure without slamming that figure somehow (noting, for instance, that conservative journalist Robert Novak's enemies call him "No Facts," without connecting the observation to any point he's trying to make).
Brock writes with great passion, and his book is a convincing portrait of a man whose commitment to the conservative cause gradually loses its original focus and becomes a simple feud with the liberal "other team," and in which his own political views become subsumed into a view that he must stick with his side, right or wrong. But it is so convincing that, although there is no question in my mind that he believes what he writes, I have to remain skeptical that his conversion from conservatism is not a product of similar transient psychological factors.
Brock is so good at disinformation, and so good at admitting it, that even now that he is telling me what I always suspected about the right wing, I cannot bring myself to fully credit it -- particularly when the style he admits to using in past work appears so similar to the style he is using now. Taking Blinded by the Right with a grain of salt, I found it a quick and engrossing read, but it's not reliable, and I was distracted by the recurring thought that the reason I was enjoying it was because Brock was using the same powers he used to pander to the conservative movement to pander to me.
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on October 28, 2002
I'm glad that David Brock finally saw the light and realized that his work was factually inaccurate and was part of partisan witch-hunt of a group of people that couldn't possibly believe that the American people could've elected a non-conservative for two terms. But Brock's damage has been done, people have been hurt by his "journalism" and the bell cannot be unrung, even with this attempt. It's hard to muster up sympathy for someone who admits that they were in it for the buck, the movement of the moment all the time hurting people with lies to get to the top. One has to wonder is he still at it, lying because it might be more profitable now to switch sides. Is he an opportunist or is he sincere? It's hard to believe an admitted liar, even when he is now apparently on your side. Brock's epiphany should have occurred a few years ago, not now, when the climate is safe. I will not deny that he shows a bit of bravery in describing what is indeed, forgive me, but truly a "vast right-wing conspiracy" that was out to destroy the presidency of Bill Clinton. Just like the convicted criminal in prison that finds God in his latter years in order to get a free-ride to heaven, Brock spells out his very lucrative role in practically every right-wing partisan revenge tactic performed while trying to make us believe that his inner-self knew it was all wrong. A good read, but we already knew it all. It just took David Brock a few years to get up to speed with the rest of us.
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on July 10, 2002
This book will appeal mostly to liberals who regard the so-called "radical" right as "extremist" and "dangerous" or who admire (for whatever reason) Bill Clinton and are eager to believe that Clinton was not seriously corrupt (and I'm not referring to the sex scandals or any of that other Monica Lewinsky nonsense). Conservative idealogues will hate the book and will seek any convenient rationalization to dismiss it out of hand. Meanwhile, the true significance of the book will be lost to both camps, because neither has any independent interest in the truth.
Brock's book is largely made up of unpleasant gossip about prominent conservative pundits. He is eager to show them as a bunch of hypocrites and liars who would stoop at nothing to gain their sinister political ends. He passes on all kinds of personal information of a demeaning kind about the people he used to associate with, some of it derived from personal confidences he received while he was friends with these people. The unstated suggestion is that, since these conservatives are shallow, unscrupulous, and immoral, this somehow discredits conservative ideas. That, in any case, is how the book will be read by liberal ideologues, who are eager for any rationalization, no matter how shallow or illogical, that allows them to dismiss conservativism out of hand.
Because of Brock's self-acknowledged mendacity in regards to his Anita Hill book, some have questioned if he can be trusted at all. But I don't think the problem is whether he's telling any outright laws. As a matter of fact, my guess is he's probably telling the truth. The trouble is that he gives only one-quarter of the picture. If you tell only the bad things about a person, you can make them look pretty bad without actually telling a palpable lie. But you have given a distorted picture nonetheless. This is what Brock is guilty of in this book. He gives us only the dirt on ideological conservatives, providing us with a very distorted picture of the people that make up its ranks. The reality is really far more complex and morally ambiguous. The so-called "Clinton crazies" were in fact on to something: they are guilty of merely allowing fanaticism to distort their judgment concerning how they were to combat the problem that having a very corrupt President who was too clever to get caught at anything really serious. (And Monica Lewinsky was not really all that serious.) They became obsessed with sex scandals and the President's personal conduct when the real problem was Clinton's willingness to compromise national security in order to raise campaign funds. (See "Year of the Rat" for the details.)
Brock's tome, despite the sleaze factor and the unsavory attempt to cater to liberal illusions, does touch on what is a very serious problem within the conservative movement. The revelations about the personal lives of various conservatives brought forth in this book are not surprising to anyone privy to inside information. In the post sixties era, conservatives, no less than liberals, have become morally corrupted by the prevailing hedonism of contemporary American society. This is a problem only for conservatives, because unlike those on the other side of political spectrum, conservatives are committed to a system of values that does not accord with a culture of hedonism. Conservatives who, because of their lifestyle, do not practice what they preach, open themselves not merely to the charge of hypocrisy, but also to ideological conflicts of interest. They may find their lifestyle conflicting so seriously with their ideology that they will have to switch sides. If I'm not mistaken, something like this has happened with Brock himself. I suspect we will run across others as well in the years to come. This is quite a turn from the way things used to be before the sixties, when most conversions were from left to right, rather than right to left. What has not changed, however, is the widespread hypocrisy and mendacity evinced by intellectuals of all political persuasions, right, left, or center. In that sense, nothing has changed since Benda and Orwell published their famous critiques of intellectuals in the first half of the twentieth century.
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on January 8, 2003
David Brock spends most of his book describing his tremendous hand in bringing sleaze media into Republican politics. He acknowledges many behind-the-scenes conservatives as well as other vested interests in the Republican party, which is helpful in perpetuating the reality of conservatism being the party attempting to legislate social norms and behaviors, but wanting government to remain distant from economics. In this respect, it's moderately helpful.
I still feel awful about this book. I can't fathom how a writer spends 300+ pages discussing how his bestsellers were assortments of eggagerations, misnomers, unverified facts, and selective truth telling, and then subsequently expects readers to accept and believe his contemporary perspective. Given that he never explained at what point he learned bipartisan journalism, I really can't believe everything he claims; in particular, his treatment of his attitudes towards conservatism during his lengthy run in Washington as a sort of posturing for approval, silencing of his 'true identity', and other methods approximating brainwshing are simply unbelievable.
Overall, it's nice to see a title that attempts to apologise for one's actions as a conservative, one that additionally portrays the "vast right-wing conspiracy" for what it really is (an attempt to create an image of a "vast left-wing conspiracy," such that the populace remains distracted enough, leaving their guard down to swallow conservative theory without question).
The message I received from the book could be considered "Hey, don't believe this, that stuff is a lie. Believe *this* instead!" David Brock did enough damage during his career already, and I consider myself to be one bleeding heart liberal type who thinks that he owes this nation more than an apology (especially given the self-serving nature of his self-cleansing text here).
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on May 29, 2002
...
The book is interesting, in a soap-opera way, and Liberals will find much to smile about as he lambastes such leftist enemies as Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh. As he has admitted to doing in his Spectator articles, he takes facts that are true and combines them with opinions or idle gossip that might be true. The question is... what is true?
In Brock's defense, plenty of books have been written about 'left-wing conspiracies', with little or no journalistic credibility (Bernard Goldberg's book about the liberal media is a prime example) yet the media accepts those books almost as factual accounts. If that is the case, why not enjoy Brock's tale of the right with the same salacious enthusiasm? As right wing authors have proven with the left, there's nothing wrong with a little fact-finding combined whole lot of gossip, which is the main reason liberals will buy and enjoy this book.
In conclusion, liberals will certainly find much to smile about and alot to whisper about in this exciting (and somewhat implausible) book, and conservatives will be seething with rage and attempt to discredit Brock (as many have already done). There's nothing wrong with reading the gossip, just keep in mind that's what it is.
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on January 24, 2004
David Brock provides an "insider" look at the so-called right wing conspiracy that apparently is still lurking in the shadows. It is the story of how a journalist evolved (quote unquote) from preppy reporter of all things conservative to a nobler, more humane man of the Left. Most conversions of this sort occur on the spiritual realm accompanied by an epiphany or two. Ideology is not a characteristic of America: Eisenhower, Nixon, Clinton, JFK and Bush I were anything but rigid in their approach to governing. Reagan alone switched ideololgy (rather late in the game) but remained true to himself. And that is the problem I have with Brock - he seems to have lost himself somewhere along the line.
How can someone work, think and write one way yet suddenly decide that actually they supported the other side? Stranger still, this type of conversion is almost always Left to Right for some reason. Then there are the claims (denied, debunked, unconfirmable) that serve to buttress his arguments.
If David Brock has had a change of heart - more power to him. But the few times I have seen him on the air since his book (he discusses his book each time) he has been unable to defend or explain his actions and when questioned lapses into confusion, stammering and/or obstinancy. He is caught in a Catch 22 - the Right derides him as a traitor, the Left remains suspicious of his past.
The most hilarious outcome is the 180 degree change of heart among the talking heads. NPR types who once assigned him to a lower rung of Hell are suddenly all agog over his revelations. Conservative commentators who once hawked his books now say he is not to be trusted. Welcome to life in America.
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on December 18, 2002
I must admit that it was fun to read a bit of dirt on people as repugnant as Anne Coulter and Newt Gingrich. But the fun wore off when I realized I was just reading a left-wing version of the same sort of low-brow tripe that currently infects conservatism political "thought".
Mr. Brock's epiphany has come conveniently late. He and his ilk have already mananged to dumb down the discourse on one side of the political aisle, and now it seems he'd like to expand the franchise to the Democratic side. No thank you, Mr. Brock.
If I'd wanted to read books filled with pseudo-political drivel written by un-journalists of questionable ethics, I would've become a Republican.
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on April 3, 2002
This book has exactly the same problem as David Horowitz's "Radical Son," which describes the opposite journey (left to right). Just as Horowitz never really comes to grips with why he was a leftist in the first place (or why he came to believe that liberals were the enemy), Brock never convinces me that he's made any kind of an ideological journey -- he denies having really believed in conservatism, but he doesn't really seem to have been ideologically convinced of liberalism either. This is a book by someone who doesn't seem to believe in anything, except his journalistic career; this gives a certain credence to conservative charges that Brock has simply "sold out" for the sake of writing a big-selling book.
Whether all Brock's stories are true or not is almost irrelevant. I'm not inclined to like the people he writes about, so I certainly enjoy thinking they might be true. From the little I do know about the events he describes, I think it's clear that he exaggerates the power of Scaife, and conveniently forgets that the supposedly monolithic, thought-policed right wing was rocked by all sorts of ideological conflicts and schisms while he was part of it (right-wingers may hate liberals, but they hate each other almost as much). But this book does succeed as enjoyable dish and wish-fulfillment for many readers. It fails as a book about David Brock's "conscience." I'm still not convinced he has one.
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