The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, April 30, 2002  

Decries "Gotcha" Tactics That Define His Career
Says "Jews are pushy" Not Evidence of Anti-Semitism

Don't miss David Horowitz's hilarious self-defense, "Brocked Again," on today.

As we discussed here on April 27, one of Horowitz's trademark "gotcha" articles, this one about an alleged lie in David Brock's latest book, Blinded by the Right, has been proved to be cut of whole cloth.

Similarly, Andrew Sullivan's David Brock "lie," also discussed here on April 27, has been shown to be the result of a misreading or mishearing or mistranscribing, what have you, of Brock's April 25 appearance on CNN's Crossfire.

Sullivan, at least, had the decency to publicly apologize for his error, albeit grudgingly.

No such concession from Horowitz.

Rather than retreating, Horowitz, in typical fashion, lashes out, with anger and hostility at "sewers of the Internet," including Media Whores Online (Hey, what about The Rittenhouse Review?), at David Brock, and at Chad Conway, the Free Press editor who proved Horowitz's charge of prevarication on the part of Brock to be untrue.

In his latest missive, it's clear that Horowitz is angry. So angry that his punch line elides into self-parody: "And I am sick and tired of this 'gotcha' tic among the politically oh so correct," whines Horowitz.

This from a man who in both his radical and right-wing incarnations has been feeding on "gotcha" tactics for nearly 40 years, denouncing in often crude and vulgar language, any politician, educator, writer, or pundit who dares deviate from whatever orthodoxy prevails in his mind that day.

So, Horowitz, caught in his own lie, fights back, argues -- over the course of no less than 1,600 words -- that it's not Brock's little (disproved) "lies" that matter, it's the bigger lies for which Brock should be held accountable.

"The first lie is that Brock was so revolted by the career he had made for himself out of gossipy sleaze and character assassination, which had earned him a million dollars and media stardom, that he decided to retire from such sordid business and reform his journalistic act," writes Horowitz, who himself knows a thing or two about changing one's political stripes -- and how lucrative such a change can be.

"The second Big Lie [Ed.: Note all-caps this time.] ... is that Brock's decision to reform was triggered by a realization that the conservatives who had supported and defended him (and helped to make him rich) were in fact closet homophobes," adds the former left-wing radical.

Interesting, we think, that Horowitz twice makes mention of Brock's financial success. We're not sure what to make of this because we can fairly assume Horowitz is doing rather well for himself in his various efforts in the fields of publishing, speaking, and grabbing foundation funds.

The self-defense Horowitz puts forward is the typical discombobulated and, dare we say it - hysterical -- diatribe that we have come to expect from the former friend of Tom Hayden, Huey P. Newton, and the Black Panthers, and current political consort of Ann Coulter, Midge Decter, and Laura Ingraham.

Horowitz relies on several disreputable tactics to try to get out of the trap he set for himself with his slur -- "The problem with the gays is they're hysterical" -- including a bad memory, forgetfulness, establishing a dubious context in which the slur must be examined, and, pathetically, putting thoughts in Conway's head and words in Conway's mouth.

"I do not think what I said in the context constituted an anti-gay slur. I don't think Chad [Conway] does either, despite what he now says," maintains Horowitz.

"In Chad's letter he does not recall having any reaction at the time we had the conversation that would indicate he took it as a serious slur," continues Horowitz. "He did not say, for example, as one might expect had he felt that way, 'Yes[,] David[,] I am gay, and you shouldn't have said that.'" [Ed.: Emphasis and correct punctuation added.]

"[Conway] didn't react that way, because it wasn't an anti-gay slur and both of us knew it wasn't. Nor was it said in any way that could be taken as hostile or denigrating towards gays," Horowitz says with complete confidence, despite earlier contending that he barely remembers having the conversation or what the discussion preceding the slur was about.

Note how quick Horowitz is to presume how Conway should have responded to the slur. There could be any number of reasons why Conway didn't respond in the fashion Horowitz would have liked him to: perhaps to avoid provocation or a confrontation (Horowitz runs on a short fuse), perhaps out of embarrassment for Horowitz, or maybe simply out of a desire to move the conversation on toward other topics. Or could it be Conway just wanted to get off the phone with Horowitz? (Who could blame him?)

Horowitz proceeds to let it fly, using a familiar Jewish stereotype to try to make his case: "Let me put it another way. Are Jews pushy? Yes. Are all Jews pushy? No. Is someone who says, 'The problem with Jews is that they're pushy' guilty of an anti-Semitic slur?"

Get this: "The answer is that it depends on the context, the emotional tone with which the statement was made, and the tenor and quality of the speakers' [sic] relationships to [sic] actual Jews," says Horowitz.

Horowitz cannot possibly be serious here. "The problem with Jews is that they're pushy" is prima facie evidence of anti-Semitism and Horowitz knows it. In fact, we doubt Horowitz would have it any other way, nor would we.

Were any writer to submit an article containing such remarks to the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, First Things, National Review, or the Weekly Standard, among numerous other of the cacophonous voices of debate in this country, s/he would be at best rebuffed and at worst black-listed.

Horowitz knows this.

Next, Horowitz questions Conway's motives: "Why has Chad written this letter? Perhaps Chad wants to stay friends with David Brock. Perhaps Chad's liberal politics make him want to defend Brock's book, which he apparently thinks the world of now that he's read it," sneers Horowitz.

"It doesn't really matter. His letter just adds his testimony to the fact that I am not anti-gay or 'homophobic,' that I am in fact supportive of gays, and that David Brock is a liar," Horowitz concludes in a breathtakingly dishonest non sequitur.

No apology. No ground ceded. Accusations leveled. Reputations smeared. Just another day at the office for David Horowitz.

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