That “vast right-wing conspiracy” Hillary Clinton warned about all those years ago? It’s real. And then some.
So writes Brock (The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy, 2004, etc.), who was notoriously part of it, the author of the “bit nutty and a bit slutty” slur campaign against Anita Hill. Since then, as he recounted in his 2002 memoir Blinded by the Right, he had a road-to-Damascus (or D.C.) moment and founded the Democratic PAC American Bridge, which has a favorite daughter in Clinton. In his role as activist and media critic and watchdog—he also founded Media Matters—Brock here charts the evolution of a well-funded (courtesy of the Koch brothers and their ilk) right-wing information/misinformation/disinformation machine that saw its first real coup in the swift boating of John Kerry. He argues that the Dems did it all wrong by refusing to dignify that whisper-and-shout campaign with a response; just so, without naming too many names, he wishes that they’d smack some of the Benghazi/Hillary hater crowd down with a few well-pointed barbs: “Hillary’s email practices didn’t break any rules—but Jeb Bush’s did.” Granted that Brock’s is a thoroughly partisan approach, a student of the modern media could do worse than read along with him and wonder whether the New York Times really doesn’t have it in for Clinton, who, as first lady, senator, secretary of state, and now presidential candidate, can’t seem to catch a break with the Gray Lady. Blame some of it on Howell Raines and some on Bill Safire—though it has to be said that the Clintons have a habit of drawing negative attention in any event, a matter that Brock shrugs off. Closing with suitable fire and brimstone, the author hints that he’s got something really juicy in the wings to shake up the race, so stay tuned.
There’s not much hard news in Brock’s account of “the last battle of the Clinton Wars,” but it’s a useful casebook on how big-money politics and political operators work.