David Horowitz, editor in chief of the right-wing website FrontPageMag.com, accused Media Matters for America of “ignoring the actual facts” and “repeat[ing]” “slander.” His accusation came in response to a November 30 Media Matters item headlined “In retaliation, David Horowitz labeled Al Franken 'racist.'” But Media Matters has documented Horowitz's own extensive record of disregarding facts.
Even Horowitz's December 1 FrontPageMag.com column, in which he leveled his accusation, opened with an outright falsehood: Horowitz asserted that Media Matters has received funding from billionaire philanthropist George Soros. To date, neither Media Matters nor its president and CEO David Brock has received any money from Soros or from any organization with which he is affiliated.
Media Matters has compiled many of Horowitz's lies and baseless slanders:
- Horowitz baselessly accused Senator John Kerry, author and documentarian Michael Moore, and The New York Times of “getting Americans killed in Iraq.” (11/1/04)
- Horowitz alleged that Kerry's election to the presidency would “vastly encourage terrorist forces.” As Media Matters documented, while Horowitz and other conservative media figures adopted the Republican claim that terrorists would prefer a Kerry victory in November, there is a conspicuous lack of evidence to support it. (9/28/04)
- Horowitz claimed that during a debate more than 30 years ago on The Dick Cavett Show, Kerry indicated he “basically was happy to see” the communists win the Vietnam War. Kerry said nothing of the sort. In fact, a December 12, 1971, Boston Globe article quoted him expressing exactly the opposite sentiment: “I don't like Communists. In fact, I hate them. I hate all totalitarians. I'm totally dedicated to representative, pluralistic, free democracy.” (8/3/04)
- Horowitz joined other conservatives in repeating the claim that MoveOn.org had compared President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. As the non-partisan Columbia Journalism Review's website The Campaign Desk noted in its May 27, 2004, “Distortion” column, while “at least one [ad comparing Bush to Hitler] was posted briefly on the organization's website ... MoveOn quickly removed it and disassociated itself from the offending ads.” (5/28/04)
- Horowitz falsely claimed that liberals “have a big problem” with those who have faith and believe in God. As Media Matters noted at the time, various polls show that liberals do have faith and do believe in God. (5/4/04)
Yet Horowitz wrote in his December 1 column:
Ignoring the actual facts in these two episodes [in which Horowitz has made racist comments], Brock's site merely repeats the slanders, revealing the sick condition of what passes for liberal culture where these viruses of slander and defamation are apparently self-perpetuating.
Horowitz is the author of several books, including Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes (Spence, 1999). Frank H. Wu, author of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White (Basic Books, 2003), wrote an April 30, 2000, review (available via Nexis) of Hating Whitey in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Wu wrote:
His [Horowitz's] condemnation of single black mothers, even if his empirical data about the likely poverty of their families were to be accepted, is cursory and harsh. It is likely to encourage racial stereotyping and reinforce patterns of unproductive behavior.
However perverse or offensive Horowitz's extreme rhetoric, it is admirable as an example of the triumph of right-wing commentators in appropriating the language of the civil rights movement. Instead of African Americans or the working class being oppressed by racial discrimination, the angry white males or “model minority” Asian Americans become the innocent victims of affirmative action.
Perhaps book review editors should devote more attention to Horowitz. Reviews would expose and weaken his views. Isolation allows him to pretend martyrdom. Readers who may be interested in Horowitz deserve better. To abandon his audience to him would be the wrong reaction.