In his new book, Killing the Messenger, David Brock once again manages to hit his target in this readable book -- at least for political junkies. He gets to the heart of how the Republican right-wing (which controls the Republican Party today) are using the once liberal media such as the New York Times and the Washington Post to spread their lies and innuendo. In consideration of full disclosure, I was an incorporator of Media Matters for America and served on its first board. I did so as a friend who believed Brock's mea-culpa in Blinded by the Right and someone still in awe of his ideas, ability and understanding the Democratic Party can't allow the Republican right-wing to control the message.
The book recaps some of his work against the Clinton's in the 90s and talks about how he began to see them differently when writing his book about Hillary which had originally been commissioned by the right-wing as another hit-job against the Clintons. He explains as he did in Blinded by the Right how he came to know Hillary better when researching her for the book and discovered she was nothing like the right-wing were making her out to be.
To understand Brock's view of politics one just needs to read his words on page 50 of the book where he says, "Without tipping off our future plans to Republican researchers who are no doubt scrutinizing this book, I'll just say we're ready to roll out some innovations that have yet to be seen on the political battlefield." He goes on to say, "Republicans should be running scared. But that's true of any candidate in the modern era of campaign warfare -- and with the stage set for the climactic battle in 2016, the arms race is escalating faster than ever. "
With that background it is easy to follow the rest of the book as Brock writes about the battles against the Clinton's from the time they were in Arkansas. He talks about the Clintons being seen "as interlopers by certain elitists of the Washington Village. To them the Clintons were 'White Trash' who didn't belong and were treated as such by the likes of Sally Quinn and David Broder of the Washington Post who routinely wrote about the first couple with condescension and distain."
The book lists all the various attacks on the Clintons from Whitewater, to Travelgate to accusing Hillary of murdering Vince Foster. Millions of dollars were spent by special prosecutor Ken Starr all to find that there wasn't any there there in any of the supposed scandals.
If there is one fault I can find with the book it is that in his passion Brock refuses to even consider that some of Hillary's campaign problems could be attributed to her. He writes about her 2008 Presidential campaign and says, "And to the extent that her campaign was not perfect (no campaign is) there is no particular reason to view those short-comings as an indictment of Hillary's own political skills." I think it is rather no campaign is perfect and neither is any candidate. Hillary herself recently said, "I am human with all that entails."
As you read the later chapters Brock writes about all of Hillary's accomplishments as Secretary of State and it is a great primer/reminder of all Clinton has done to move the world forward and try to make it a little safer.
He gives facts that can't be refuted when writing about what the NY Times has done in reporting on Clinton. Margaret Sullivan, their own public editor, criticized their newsroom in two columns for sloppy journalism and editing. He quotes Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, saying that 'Clinton rules are in effect' when it comes to the media. Krugman says they are "the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent."
The book goes into the supposed email scandal and the Benghazi Committee which as Brock writes "as of mid-June 2015 Gowdy's committee had been investigating the same issue for 409 days, longer then U.S. inquiries into Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination, or Iran-Contra according to statements by the committee's Democrats."
The book should be required reading by members of the media. It might get them to think twice as they are preparing what will be endless columns on Clinton until the election. It might just get them to do another review before they submit the column or go on air with information, take a breath and consider whether it has been thoroughly researched and vetted or just based on information accepted as fact from those who have made a career of trying to destroy the Clintons.