[Recently by Alexander Hart: American Renaissance: Fashionable Clothes, And Unfashionable Ideas]
The famous 1930s radio show The Shadow opened with the question, "Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow Knows."
Now that racism and sexism are the worst form of evil in contemporary society, left wing columnist Max Blumenthal seems to think he possesses a similar ability to know what people "really think." But unlike The Shadow, who acquired the helpful power of invisibility, Blumenthal's superpowers are limited to guilt by association, gossip, innuendo, and outright fabrication at a level that would make Morris Dees blush.
Max Blumenthal is the 30-something son of Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal—immortalized by Taki as "Sid the Scumbag." Max the Mind-Reader is a fellow at The Nation Institute and at David Brock's Media Matters.
When I first noticed Blumenthal's byline, I thought he was more thoughtful than your average leftist. Blumenthal blogged in defense of Sam Francis when David Brock's Media Matters tried to get him fired from his syndicate. Rather than censor Francis, Blumenthal said he thought "[r]eactionary ideas need to be examined, debated and discredited, not forced into some dark, moldy basement where they can germinate and grow away from the view of polite middle-class society." [In Defense of Right-Wing Intellectual Honesty, December 7 2004]
Of course, I myself would prefer "reactionary ideas" to flourish. But I admired Blumenthal for wanting to debate those he disagreed with rather than attempt to ruin their careers like Media Matters or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Since then, however, I have kept a close eye and everything Blumenthal has written. And rarely has he ever tried to debate anyone.
Instead, Blumenthal has made a niche for himself in the liberal media world by constructing fantastic guilt-by-association chains—a form of witch-hunting that might be described as left wing McCarthyism (except for the fact that McCarthy's victims were guilty). The gist of virtually every single article he writes is that the Republican Party and conservative movement is secretly run by neo-Confederates, white supremacists, and Christian Reconstructionists. Thus Blumenthal takes a group like us at VDARE.com, American Renaissance, or The Occidental Quarterly and finds how someone marginally involved these groups is also marginally involved in some unacceptable politics. He tries to link virtually every single conservative personality to the depths. In today's political climate, all this ends up doing is silence the very groups that have what he called, in his defense of Francis, "right wing intellectual honesty."
In one article [White Noise, August 31, 2004], Blumenthal extrapolated from the fact that Occidental Quarterly publisher William Regnery's uncle (whom he misidentifies as his father) founded Henry Regnery Company, now Regnery Publishing, which published Unfit for Command, the Swift Boat Veterans book, to suggest that the Occidental Quarterly is somehow in cahoots with Republican strategists. In reality, so paranoid is the conservative Establishment that The Occidental Quarterly's editor Kevin Lamb was fired from Human Events (which is owned by Phillips Publishing who also own Regnery Publishing) solely for being the editor of such a politically incorrect journal. Beyond such faulty guilt by association, Bill Regnery has also pointed out nearly a dozen obvious factual errors in the piece.
Blumenthal has also smeared VDARE.com and Peter Brimelow on multiple occasions. (For example, Blumenthal called Peter Brimelow a "white nationalist" in his attack on the James Madison Program at Princeton, more guilt by association.) It should be noted that one of these smears was directed at Congressman Tom Tancredo. Blumenthal tried to connect the congressman to our allegedly white nationalist website. In one article, he noted that Tom Tancredo's House Immigration Reform Caucus includes a hyperlink to VDARE.COM, and then attempts to ascribe the views posted here to Tancredo.
Blumenthal has a habit of trying to tie Tancredo to the "far right." In an article on an American Renaissance conference, Blumenthal quoted Council of Conservative Citizens CEO Gordon Baum as saying, "We've had him down a few times to meet with us."
I asked Baum if this was true. He said that Tancredo has never been at any CofCC event, and that the Blumenthal's quote is "complete fabrication." [Republicanizing the Race Card, The Nation, March 23, 2006]
In that same article, Blumenthal claims that American Renaissance's Jared Taylor told him, "Tom Tancredo is wonderful. If I was a politician, I would want to be him." Taylor, with his characteristic fairness, tells me that he cannot be 100% sure about what he said months ago, but that at the very least, "What [Blumenthal] serves up as allegedly verbatim, frequently strikes me as a liberal adaptation." [VDARE.COM Grammar note: Jared Taylor would almost certainly have said "If I were a politician", if he'd said such a thing at all. It's a hypothetical clause, and demands a subjunctive.] And Taylor is completely sure he never suggested that the AR conference was half Jewish by saying, "Well, have you looked at everyone's faces?" as Blumenthal quotes him.
Blumenthal recently went after Senator John Cornyn for speaking at a symposium for the paleoconservative Rockford Institute. Those familiar with the institute, and its President, Tom Fleming, are well aware of Fleming's strong denunciations of white nationalism, eugenics, and anti-Semitism. Yet Blumenthal called Fleming a "white nationalist" as well as a "leading anti-Semite and Holocaust revisionist" without giving any sort of documentation other than Fleming suggesting that communist genocide was just as bad as Nazi genocide—in a piece denouncing Holocaust revisionism!
As usual, the purpose of his blog piece [Sen. John Cornyn Meets the Racist Right, Huffington Post, September 20, 2006] was to link Cornyn to every single un-PC statement to appear in Chronicles (or that Blumenthal imagined appeared in Chronicles). Yet, had Blumenthal actually been at the symposium, as I was, he would have known that the Senator spent most of his time discussing his support for such white nationalist positions as bringing in temporary workers, keeping birthright citizenship, and increasing H1B visas.
Blumenthal's handiwork was also recently on display in the cover piece of the October 9 issue of The Nation, where he "exposed" three senior employees at The Washington Times—assistant national editor Robert Stacy McCain, editor in chief Wesley Pruden, and managing editor Francis Coombs—as secret practitioners of racism, sexism etc. etc. blah blah.
In over 4,000 words of text, a remarkably small number actually dealt with anything the paper published. The worst Blumenthal could come up with was that Coombs instructed reporters to counterbalance feel-good human interest pieces and sob stories about illegal aliens with those that dealt with problems they caused. Pruden admires Robert E. Lee, they ran a positive and prominent review of Pat Buchanan's latest book, State of Emergency, and sometimes covered American Renaissance conferences without asking what Southern Poverty Law Center thought about Jared Taylor. [Hell of a Times, October 9, 2006]
Other than these unremarkable facts the rest of the piece is dedicated to the alleged views of Pruden's father, Coomb's wife, and gossip that these men might harbor some politically incorrect views.
The Washington Times deserves credit for covering immigration "not from some feel-good perspective" as Coombs is quoted as saying. But while it has some good reporting, no one could mistake it for a "neo-Confederate" or "white nationalist" paper.
Coombs, McCain, and Pruden may be unreconstructed segregationists, or Blumenthal and his sources may just be making the whole thing up. Based on his past reporting, I'm guessing on the latter. But, while I have met some of the editors briefly, I do not possess Blumenthal's ability to ascertain what they really think about race.
And what they really think doesn't matter. The Times has never given an op-ed to any self-described "white nationalist" but it has given Mike Pence, Linda Chavez, Alan Reynolds and the rest of the Open Borders Right a platform to put their views on Amnesty. The Times' editorial page even gave Pence's Amnesty a near-endorsement, and strongly denounced the venerable Virginia Abernethy for her "repulsively un-American ideologies" [i.e. not being an integrationist]. In terms of actions, it was Wes Pruden who fired Sam Francis for stating the obvious about race and genetics at an American Renaissance conference in 1994. [Why Race Matters, American Renaissance, September, 1994] If these men are really "bigots and white supremacists," it doesn't come across in print.
Amazingly, Blumenthal has claimed in a radio interview that he thought conservatives would welcome his assistance in purging the movement of racists. He cited Sam Francis's firing as an example! When I e-mailed Blumenthal to ask how he reconciled this with his earlier defense of Francis, he refused to go on the record.
There is a very small grain of truth that Blumenthal does get: there are many people, both in the conservative movement and in America in general, who hold views similar to those at VDARE.COM and other "tainted sources" (which of course are not White Supremacist or prejudiced).
Due to the current PC reign of terror, many people who hold these views and have well paying jobs in the Republican Party or Conservative Establishment can never express them—except as an occasional joke among colleagues or at a dinner party where they don't expect their supposedly conservative allies to sell them out to The Nation.
If it does turn out that the leaders of the Washington Times hold views similar to VDARE.com, the fact that it doesn't show up in print is an indictment—not of them, but of bigots like Blumenthal [email him] and their polluting effect on American public debate.
Alexander Hart [send him mail] is a conservative journalist living in South Carolina.