Endorsements from mainstream media figures have provided a scrim of credibility for Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, the Hillary-and-Bill-bashing book just published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins. Without the explicit support of respectable institutions such as the New York Times and Washington Post, Schweizer’s lengthy record of inaccuracy and extremism – not to mention the dozens of errors in the book itself – would have doomed his project to the same irrelevance as so many others of its all-too-familiar type.
More than once in recent days, for example, Joshua Green of Bloomberg News has spoken out to defend the far-right author. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, during the pre-release publicity push for Clinton Cash last week, Green said of Schweizer: “He tends to kind of get smeared, but it’s worth remembering this is a serious guy who has done serious work that led to a serious article,” said Green, who went on to complain that Schweizer – whose previous works and connections with far-right dark-money sources were scrutinized by Media Matters, among others – is a victim of “character assassination.”
Character assassination is apparently the least of Schweizer’s worries, if the guy was being serious during his May 4 appearance on former Breitbart blogger Dana Loesch’s radio show. Her very first question recalled a loony wingnut legend concerning the tragic 1993 suicide of Vince Foster, deputy counsel in the Clinton White House:
“I know you don’t want to talk too much about it, but there is that, there is always that concern for anyone who goes up against the Clinton machine that they could be Vince Fostered,” she ventured, “and I’m sure that that was something that you took into consideration.”
In reply, Schweizer swiftly abandoned any semblance of seriousness:
“Yeah, I mean look — there are security concerns that arise in these kinds of situations. You know, you don’t like to go into too much detail, there were some things that were going on that we felt needed to be addressed. The decision on security wasn’t actually made by me, it was made by board members of Government Accountability Institute, and you know, it’s I think showing an abundance of caution. The reality is we’ve touched on a major nerve within the Clinton camp. They are very, very upset, and they are pulling out all the stops to attack me in an effort to kill this book off.”
Kill? Oh dear.
Keep this bizarre exchange in mind when journalists like Green insist that everyone must take Schweizer seriously. By contrast, Green tried to undermine me as an “inveterate Clinton defender” when we appeared together briefly on NPR’s On Point. As I pointed out later, he obviously hadn’t read any of my critical columns on Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary campaign. (Incidentally, Schweizer declined to appear with me on that broadcast, with his Murdoch publicist offering one feeble excuse after another — but I would be happy to debate him about his outlandish charges against the Clintons any time.)
The Vince Foster reference reflects on the mental state of Tea Party cartoon characters like Loesch, who remain obsessed with the most deranged legends about the Clintons. But it is also a timely reminder that the Vince Foster nonsense, like other “Clinton scandals,” was promoted by the late Republican billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who spent millions on the clandestine “Arkansas Project” in pursuit of the Clintons’ political destruction.
The true story of those covert activities — or as a famous woman once put it, the “vast right-wing conspiracy” — is told again in our new (and free!) e-book, The Hunting of Hillary, excerpted from The Hunting of the President.
Today, Scaife’s role is played by the secretive financiers of Schweizer’s “institute” — namely, the Koch brothers and their network of Republican billionaires, whose plotting and financing of this attempted “character assassination” of Hillary Clinton is the best endorsement of her that I can imagine.
You can download the new e-book The Hunting of Hillary for free here.
Photo: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2014 Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, IA. (Gregory Hauenstein/Flickr)