David Frum’s Masquerade as a Conservative

Thursday, 15 Dec 2011 09:07 AM

By Ronald Kessler

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Liberal television anchors love having David Frum on their shows. He pretends to be a conservative but makes a habit of bashing them.

The latest example came on Sunday when Frum took a shot at Fox News viewers. Frum told Howard Kurtz on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” that “people who watch a lot of Fox come away knowing a lot less about important world events.”

In a recent New York magazine column, Frum accused the conservative media of running an “alternative knowledge system” of “pseudo-facts and pretend information.”

Frum offered no specifics on CNN to back up his claim, and Kurtz, a solid media reporter, said, “You’re tarring with an awfully broad brush there.”

As noted in my story 'The Five' Spotlights Why Fox News Is a Success,” there are good reasons why Fox News blows away the other cable networks in ratings and is more trusted as a news source, according to polls, than any other television network. One is Fox News’ rule that in any political discussion, both Democrats and Republicans must be represented. In interviewing Republicans, anchors constantly play devil’s advocate and confront them with Democrats’ rebuttals.

Thus, if Frum is right that Fox serves up “pseudo-facts and pretend information,” it comes from the mouths of Republicans and Democrats alike.

Frum has his own history of pseudo-facts and pretend information. In his book “The Right Man,” Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, weighed in on what he saw as the president’s faults.

“He is impatient and quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic; often uncurious and as a result ill-informed; more conventional in his thinking than a leader probably should be,” Frum wrote.

The analysis provoked tittering in the White House. Frum had gotten it right that Bush was impatient when things did not move as fast as he wanted. But as noted in my book “A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush,” Frum had gotten it wrong on every other count.

The reason Bush came under so much criticism was that his thinking was unconventional. His pre-emptive strike on Iraq and his promotion of democracy in Arab states were prime examples. Bush was a remarkably sanguine man who expressed frustration but rarely anger.

While he was perceived as dogmatic, Bush not only listened to other views but aggressively solicited them. Rather than being uncurious and ill-informed, he constantly asked others about everything from religion to law.

Frum had adopted the liberal media’s spin on Bush and had no way of knowing what the truth was. As a low-level speechwriter, Frum had actually met with the president in the Oval Office only a few times, according to Karen Hughes, his communications director, and Mike Gerson, his chief speechwriter. Frum hardly knew Bush.

“Who the hell is David Frum to even say this?” Margaret Spellings, then Bush’s domestic policy adviser, told me. “The only reason Bush recognized him was he saw his picture blasted on TV 10,000 times. The president didn’t know who David Frum was.”

Like The New York Times’ David Brooks, another so-called conservative writer, Frum warned conservatives a year before they swept the House in the last election that something was wrong with their beliefs. Back then, he predicted the end of conservatism and the Republican Party.

No one is saying that conservative columnists should never stray from perceived conservative wisdom. In my article "The Real Story on Sen. Joe McCarthy," I took issue with conservatives who are trying to vindicate the late senator and his witch hunts.

But a pundit who consistently issues stinging rebukes of the conservative movement is no conservative. In the interests of truth-in-labeling, Frum should be introduced as a centrist who is usually wrong.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is a New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. His latest, "The Secrets of the FBI," has just been published. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via email. Go Here Now.








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