"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." Orwell-- The US is probably moving toward becoming a heavily controlled Rightist state. This blog is an effort to document how that happened.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Richard M. Scaife’s Wars on Liberals and Feminists

Mr. Scaife played an important role in securing the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, whom George Bush, Sr. had nominated to the Supreme Court. Anita Hill accused Thomas, a right-winger, of sexual harassment.. Scaife was active in the GOP effort to discredit her through his funding of The American Spectator and his Center for Human Rights. The American Spectator was edited by Bob Tyrell, a gifted writer given to drink and women, one of whom did time for smuggling cocaine into Great Britain. Tom Bethell, a Spectator columnist reflected the periodical’s tone when he denounced the Maryknoll nuns who were raped and murdered in El Salvador, claiming that as “bull-dyke socialists” they deserved this treatment. The Spectator made much of “troopergate”, claims about Bill Clinton’s sex life based on stories Scaife’s Arkansas Project purchased from Governor Clinton’s bodyguards.

The coordinated effort to discredit Hill was led by David Brock, a Sepectator writer, who was employed to crank out anti-Hill material. Aides to Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee gave him access to unreleased depositions of dubious value, and the Bush White House provided him with psychiatric profiles that suggested that Hill suffered from “erotomania” and was a lesbian “acting out.” Brock claimed that Terry Wooten, who was GOP chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, provided some of the documents. Wooten later denied under oath that he did so when being confirmed as a federal judge. When Thomas critics charged that Judge Thomas liked to rent pornographic videos, Brock discredited the charges even though he had evidence they were true. Rush Limbaugh, the Republican radio publicist, read verbatim the stuff Brock cranked out. Brock later published an apology; long after the damage was done. Mr. Justice Thomas later rewarded Limbaugh by presiding at his second marriage.

On March 9, 1998 conservative journalist David Brock, who had written for the Scaife-financed American Spectator, released a letter of apology that he had written to President Clinton. He admitted being part of a well-financed effort to slander Clinton and said that two Arkansas state troopers had been paid to exaggerate and lie in telling stories. The Washington Post and New York Times gave the story little play, consigning it to the back pages. On the next day, Brock said on CNN’s “Crossfire” that Mrs. Clinton was correct in saying her husband was the target of a vast right-wing conspiracy. Journalists across the political spectrum had ridiculed Mrs. Clinton for imagining that there was some sort of vast right wing conspiracy against she and her beleaguered husband.

Brock added that New Gingrich’s ally Cliff Johnson, a Clinton enemy, had done much to orchestrate press coverage of Clinton’s philandering and had brought Brock into the picture. It is difficult to determine how “vast” the conspiracy was. After David Brock published a book in 2002 detailing his experiences within the conservative scandal machine, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote, “that the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ is not an overheated metaphor but a straightforward reality, and that it works a lot like a special-interest lobby. A It also involved Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s office, which was illegally giving grand jury testimony to the press. Citizens for Honest Government, a right wing advocacy organization that is tied to Reverend Jerry Falwell, played a role in the attacks on the Clintons by paying four state troopers and others over $200,000 to provide the mainstream press information about Clinton. The organization signed a contract with the troopers, who agreed to challenge the official finding that White House Counsel Vincent Foster committed suicide in a Washington, D.C. park. They were to claim that a White House aid made a telephone call about Foster’s death hours before it was reported. A check of White House telephone records proved the troopers were mistaken.

Richard Mellon Scaife’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Scaife-financed Western Journalism Center, and British right-wing journalist Ambrose-Evans Pritchard pushed the story that Foster was allegedly murdered. The latter had a doctored photograph of Foster’s body that he thought proved suicide was impossible. Chris Ruddy of the Tribune-Review pursued the story and the Western Journalism Center gave him an award for courageous journalism., an award which was presented by Columnist Robert Novak, sometimes called the “Prince of Darkness” Far-Right radio host Rush Limbaugh improved upon the story by claiming to have evidence that Foster was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary Clinton and later moved to Fort Marcy Park. His evidence was a non-existent newsletter supposedly issued by a respected D.C. consulting firm. Rush Limbaugh repeatedly aired them on his broadcast. It also alluded to 56 untimely deaths, 35 of which were in the crash of a plane carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in Croatia in 1996.

A CNN-Time poll found in August 1995, that 20% of the public thought Foster had been murdered. Ruddy had appeared on many talk shows and a great deal of money had been raised to spread the story through videos. Rev. Falwell sold 150,000 copies of a popular videotape entitled the “Clinton Chronicles,” which focused on the alleged murder of Foster and other accusations against the Clintons. A firm that had cranked out angry anti-gay videos produced the tape. Based on charges made by Larry Nichols, the “Clinton Chronicles” claimed that the president was a murderer, a drug runner, and a cocaine addict. Clinton was also blamed for a burglary and the murder of a trooper’s ex-wife. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette looked into the charges and found them baseless.

In Unlimited Access, Gary Aldrich claimed that Foster killed himself because he feared that his affair with Hillary Clinton would be revealed. Aldrich, an ex-FBI agent who worked on security clearances in the White House, also claimed that the White House Christmas tree had many pornographic ornaments and that Clinton regularly disappeared to a DC Marriott for extended trysts. His photographs of the tree could have been of anyone’s tree and showed nothing, and the details of the Marriott story were quickly disproved. Nevertheless the book sold half a million copies. He was even featured on the Wall Street Journal’s op ed page as an “investigative writer.” Aldrich said he had no interest in politics, but a Republican operative took him to the television studio when he appeared on “This Week with David Brinkley” on ABC. George Will picked Aldrich apart on that broadcast, but other conservative pundits closed ranks behind him.

Aldrich had gotten the Marriott tryst tales from right-wing propagandist David Brock. George Will is a conservative but not a New Right Conservative. Other like him were William F. Buckley, William Safire, and James J. Kilpatrick. They are remnants of an older conservative movement that is gradually losing influence within the GOP.

Sherman has written African American Baseball: A Brief History, which can be acquired from LuLu Publishing on line.http://www.lulu.com/browse/search.php?search_forum

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About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to http://www.publishamerica.com/shopping. It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!