A journalist who sparked a wave of negative publicity for Bill and Hillary Clinton in the ’90’s shared his “cautionary tale” of fostering Clinton-hating and his conversion to supporting the Clintons, including his hope for a 2016 Presidential run by Hillary Clinton.
David Brock – who once wrote scandalous stories involving Paula Jones and Arkansas state troopers for the conservative magazine, The American Spectator – said he was duped by right-wing opponents of the Clintons into writing stories he later discovered should have been discredited.
Brock, founder of the non-profit self-described watchdog group Media Matters for America, returned to Arkansas for the first time since the 1990’s to give a lecture at the UA Clinton School of Public Service titled “Countering the Culture of Clinton Hating.” During the speech, Brock apologized for the journalism he once produced that resulted in the slew of negative Clinton press.
“As I did my reporting, I came to see what Hillary Clinton’s admirers saw in her, what we all see in her today – a steadfast commitment to public service and a deep desire to affirm the good and virtuous in politics all too rarely seen in her generation of politicians,” Brock said in his speech.
“So I had a choice. Twist the facts to give the conservatives what they wanted. Or, stick to the facts, and reclaim my integrity. Which actually was no choice at all,” he said in describing his conversion to correcting the record.
Brock works for and raises money for a super PAC called American Bridge, which is also funded by Clinton supporters such as George Soros.
Brock said he feels those who despise the Clintons operate from a position of fear for the potential change their politics represent. His turn away from the destructive politics he once helped create had an air of vindication.
“Despite our best efforts, the American people didn’t buy what we were selling, and they sent the Clintons to Washington. And in a democracy like ours, that should have been the end of it. But this time something was different,” Brock said. “The conservative powers-that-be wouldn’t accept the legitimacy of the victory by a young, dynamic, progressive couple who threatened the established political and social order. They were serious agents of change. So the conservatives defied 200 years of American history and set the stage for a coup.”
Brock said his reporting of state trooper tales involving the Clintons, a scandal dubbed “Troopergate,” was mostly fiction. As an enterprising young reporter in his 20’s working for the right-wing funded American Spectator, Brock said he was tipped to the troopers’ stories and he pounced on the opportunity.
“As you can imagine, I quickly became suspicious of the troopers’ motives in speaking out. To make matters worse, there was no way to tell if what they were saying was true or not. But I knew I was expected to deliver. I took them at their word and printed it all anyway,” Brock said.
“I later learned something else that I found particularly disturbing and that warrants special emphasis. A political partisan close to would-be House Speaker Newt Gingrich had paid off the troopers to talk – a revelation that exposed the whole experience as a set-up, a sham, a fraud on the public,” he added.
Brock warned that the shadow of his previous benefactor, billionaire Richard Melon Scaife who underwrote the American Spectator, can be seen in modern-day allegations from business interests such as the Koch Brothers who make claims that Brock said “should never see the light of day.”
“The money behind it all comes from the likes of the Koch Brothers, Charles and David, two billionaires with a seemingly bottomless treasure chest who have displaced Richard Mellon Scaife as leading financiers of the far Right. The Koch Brothers view their donations not as investments in their country, but as investments in special favors for their company,” Brock warned.
“Already this year, a tidal wave of false Koch-funded advertising against the Affordable Care Act is misleading voters. The Kochs believe that conservative control of Congress – through which they will try to dismantle ObamaCare and stage endless investigations – is a critical step to taking back the Presidency in 2016 – perhaps with their own man at the top of the ticket,” he said.
You can read Brock’s full speech here.