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Thomas Book Author Says He Lied in His Attacks on Anita Hill

by Washington Post Wednesday, Jul. 04, 2001 at 3:16 PM

see below.

RWWATCH -- July 3, 2001 (please forward)

[This came in without any punctuation, so I added back some of what

was missing. It still may be not 100% restored; see the link before

quoting it. It makes you wonder if this is only coming out now because

of some statute of limitations for libel. -rich cowan ]

June 27, 2001

Thomas Book Author Says He Lied in His Attacks on Anita Hill


The author of a best-selling book that attacked the credibility of Anita F.

Hill has disavowed its premise, and now says that he lied in print to protect

the reputation of Justice Clarence Thomas.


Author says he lied about Anita Hill

David Brocks new book Blinded by the Right claims he was exploited


June 27 -- David Brock, who made his name trashing Anita Hill after the

Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, now says he lied and he's sorry. The

formerly right-wing author, in a forthcoming book, says he lost my soul in

printing allegations he knew to be untrue. Brock writes that he was dumping

virtually every derogatory and often contradictory allegation I had

collected on Hill into the vituperative mix.

"I not only wrote a book I now believe was wrong, I consciously lied in print

in a book review on this subject. I think I owe a debt to the historical

record to correct it. "

BROCK NOW CHARGES that Supreme Court Justice

Thomas used him to spread derogatory information about one of Thomas's critics

an allegation strongly denied yesterday by the man who Brock says was the

intermediary between them. Thomas was complicit in an effort to discredit

another witness against him with negative personal information, which is

exactly what he claimed the Anita Hill forces had done to him, Brock said in

an interview. Thomas declined to comment through a court spokeswoman. Brocks

new book, Blinded by the Right, which continues his recent renunciation of

his conservative past, is excerpted in the August issue of Talk magazine.


Why is he confessing now? "I not only wrote a book I now

believe was wrong, I consciously lied in print in a book review on this

subject," he said from his Washington home. "I think I owe a debt to the

historical record to correct it. If I made a mistake here, the mistake would

be that I knew these facts five years ago and didn't disclose them. "

Brock rose to prominence with his best-selling 1993 book _The Real Anita Hill_

calling the woman who accused Thomas of making offensive sexual remarks a

little bit nutty and a little bit slutty and became a star anti-Clinton

writer for the American Spectator. In the Anita Hill book, he now writes, "I

demonized Democratic senators, their staffs and Hills feminist supporters

without ever interviewing any of them. . . . I was so blinded by my partisan

tunnel vision and my tortured desire to make it in the movement that I

believed my own propaganda." At one party, he says, Thomas's wife, Ginni,

tearfully embraced me. Hill, who now teaches at Brandeis University, wants to

keep her reaction personal and private, spokesman Dennis Nealon said.

The most startling section of this about-face involves Brocks attempt to

discredit Strange Justice, a 1994 book on the Hill-Thomas clash by Jane Mayer

and Jill Abramson. As a witting cog in the Republican sleaze machine, Brock

writes, he had access to Thomas through an intermediary, Mark Paoletta, a

close Thomas friend who worked on his confirmation as a lawyer in the first

Bush White House.


Confirmation that Thomas frequently rented porno tapes made

Hills entire story much more plausible, Brock writes.

According to Brock, Thomas passed along, through Paoletta, unverified

embarrassing personal information about his friend [Kaye] Savage that Thomas

claimed had been raised against her in a divorce proceeding. . . . Thomas was

playing dirty, and so was I. Savage, who had made some disparaging comments

about Thomas in Strange Justice, soon got a visit from Brock. Armed with the

personal information, Brock says, he demanded that Savage give me a written

statement retracting the statements in Strange Justice . . . or I would

blacken her name, just as I had done to every other woman who had impugned

Thomass reputation.He says Savage later faxed him a statement backing off her

earlier criticism. Paoletta, who now works for a House committee, called the

account simply not true. Justice Thomas did not ask me to pass along any

derogatory information to David Brock about Kaye Savage. Savage said in an

interview that I feel grateful to Mr. Brock that he has admitted he tried to

intimidate me and appreciate that the public record is now clear. . . . I

think it takes a great deal of courage. She called her experience with Brock

a little frightening. Brock says he also tried to blow away Mayer and

Abramson's contention that Thomas had been a frequent customer at the X-rated

video store Graffiti during the early 1980s, when Hill alleged he had

graphically discussed such videos with her. According to Brock, Thomas

confirmed, again through Paoletta, that he often rented pornographic videos

from Graffiti. Confirmation that Thomas frequently rented porno tapes made

Hills entire story much more plausible, Brock writes. Nevertheless, in a

Spectator review of Strange Justice, Brock wrote that there was no evidence

that Thomas had ever rented a single X-rated video, dismissing the book as

one of the most outrageous journalistic hoaxes in recent memory. When I wrote

those words, Brock admits in his new book, I knew they were false. Paoletta

said he did not confirm to David Brock that Justice Thomas ever rented videos

from the Graffiti video store. In fact, to this day, I do not personally know

whether he in fact rented videos from that store. . . . Why in the world

would I say anything to hurt him? Mayer, now a New Yorker staff writer, said

yesterday: Im glad he's finally confessed the truth, which we knew all along,

which is that he fabricated material, suppressed evidence and falsified the

record in order to undermine the truth, which is what we wrote in the first

place. I'm sorry that he waited so long. It was personally painful.


Abramson, now Washington bureau chief of the New York

Times, said that the problem with Brock's credibility is that once you admit

youve knowingly written false things, how do you know when to believe what he

writes? . . . It'd be awfully convenient to now say because what he's writing is

personally pleasing to me that he's a 100 percent solid reporter. That would

be a little disingenuous. While relations have thawed to the point that Brock

spoke to a class Abramson was teaching at Princeton last fall, I still have

quite a bit of contempt for the kind of journalism he practiced, she said.


Activist Barbara Ledeen yesterday challenged one part of the Brock excerpt in

which he maintains that the two of them wrote a radio script attacking

Strange Justice and faxed it to Rush Limbaugh, who is said to have used it on

his radio show. I completely deny that, Ledeen said. I have never done

anything with David Brock except attend a few parties. Limbaugh said he had

no recollection of receiving such a script. Ledeen, who now works for the

Senate Republican leadership, laughingly dismissed Brocks contention that she

threatened to firebomb his house after he wrote a sympathetic biography of

Hillary Rodham Clinton. Firebombing is not part of the r umé for a

middle-class lady from Chevy Chase, she said. In recent years, Brock has made

a second career of denouncing his earlier work as a conservative reporter. In

1998, he expressed regrets in an Esquire article for digging into President

Clintons sex life and said he believed his sources exaggerated the details.

Brocks 1993 Troopergate article in the Spectator, filled with allegations

about Arkansas womanizing, described a woman named Paula, which led Paula

Jones to file her sexual harassment suit against Clinton. Could Brock now be

described as betraying those who were once his conservative friends some of

whom the man who was then a closeted gay now describes as racist, homophobic

Clinton-haters? I came to view these relationships as mutual-use

relationships rather than friendships, Brock says. I was using them and they

were using me.


© 2001 The Washington Post Company


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