The Rittenhouse Review

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

Tuesday, April 23, 2002  


The Rittenhouse Review last week received its copy of Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative, by David Brock. The book is everything John Farrell said it would be . . . and more.

Our primary criticism: There's no index in the damn thing!

Lacking an index, we were left to hunt through the book looking for the quick and easy dirt. (This is the kind of book our editor likes to read in its entirety during long weekends at quiet places.) And Brock's got it in spades.

Our first search was for the dish on Laura Ingraham. Okay, we'll concede that we have had an unquenchable desire for dirt on Ingraham since sometime in the mid-1980s, having learned of her juvenile antics at the Dartmouth Review. That this lightweight has achieved even a modicum of professional achievement speaks volumes about the standards in the broadcast media as we know it in the U.S. today.

We may only have found a bit of what’s in the book about Ingraham, but it's great stuff.

Most of Brock's critics have taken him to task for criticizing Ingraham's poor personal grooming habits and her lack of taste in clothes. Why they don't mention the incident he relays about Ingraham having "pulled a gun on a boyfriend after he broke up with her" or about the night during which Ingraham "in a drunken stupor, crawled through the packed two-story dance club on her hands and knees," is not clear to us. (Op. Cit., p. 235, 236.)

But Brock’s most important criticism, that which goes to the heart of Ingraham's credibility as a journalist -- or more aptly, a political personality -- makes for enlightening reading.

"[H]er one desire in life was to leave her law firm and get herself on television as a political pundit, despite the fact that she was the only person I knew who didn't appear to own a book or regularly read a newspaper," writes Brock. (Op. Cit., p. 233.)

"Though the Dartmouth Review was her sole experience in journalism, through sheer force of will Laura became the prototype for a legion of brassy, blond, not terribly well-informed pundits whom television producers, lacking a stable of conservative voices in a moment when conservatism had suddenly become chic, booked to interpret the Gingrich Revolution for their audience," he adds. (Ibid.)

"In 1999, Laura would publish The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Wrong Places. After signing the mid-six figure contract [Ed.: !], she quietly struck a deal with the talented New Republic writer Ruth Shalit [Ed.: We emphasize those words -- “talented" and "writer” -- are Brock's, not ours.] to essentially draft the book for her," Brock says in his book.

"When Shalit wisely backed out, Laura was left with a lame manuscript whose sole purpose was to hold the Clintons' marriage up to moral scrutiny and ridicule," writes Brock. (Op. cit., p. 234)

Ingraham’s own life, if held up to “moral scrutiny and ridicule,” would not likely to pass muster with the crowd within which she so happily has entangled herself. We'll hold our tongue with respect to the notorious "garden house incident," inflicted upon a married Post-man, and Ingraham's uncanny ability to "work" the highest levels of the administration of a certain Ivy League institution.

Regardless, Ingraham's inclination to either read or write with any seriousness is slight, suggestions by Brock that are evident in her work. But since she's a woman, is cute and blond, "talks tough," and is a conservative, she gets a pass.

Funny how affirmative action, even in its sublest forms, can work to the advantage of even the stupidest of privileged white women.

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