David Brock isn't done apologizing.
"Accept my confessions, O Lord. They are a sacrifice offered by my tongue, for Yours was the hand that formed it and Yours was the spirit that stirred it to confess to Your Name. Heal all my bones; let them say, 'Lord, who is like you?' "
--St. Augustine's Confessions, Book 5, Chapter 1
Dear Esquire readers,
No doubt you're still reeling from my searing confessional in the April issue of Esquire, in which I, David Brock, apologized for having lighted the mighty blaze now consuming the Clinton presidency. It told the riveting story of how I--"perhaps the only self-proclaimed conservative journalist devoted to digging up stories rather than writing editorials," author of a best-selling attack on Anita Hill, and "the star reporter at the [American] Spectator"--came to break the Troopergate story, and how Troopergate begat Paula Jones, and how Paula Jones begat Monica Lewinsky.
Actually, this is the second time I've apologized for having broken the Troopergate story. The first time was last July, in my soul-and-nipple-baring Esquire piece "Confessions of a Right-Wing Hit Man." But I didn't question the veracity of my reporting until my most recent confession, in which I write on my "pangs of doubt: Is it possible [the troopers] took me for a ride, embellishing their account for fame and fortune?"
Now I realize my newest confession (on newsstands now!) isn't sufficient.
I must apologize for my apology. The White House issued a statement this week saying the president "appreciates and accepts Mr. Brock's apology." Will this embolden him to embark on sexual adventures? I must also apologize for all that nasty stuff I wrote in my most recent Esquire piece about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., editor of the American Spectator, and Michael Isikoff, who, as a reporter at the Washington Post and then Newsweek, pursued the Clinton sex scandals so aggressively. I portrayed Tyrrell as a venal checkbook journalist who was ready to pay the Arkansas troopers for their story. "How much do they want?" I quoted him as saying. This was the same man whom I had described in my July Esquire piece as "one bright spot in an otherwise bleak conservative landscape." That was while I was still on his payroll. Now that I'm off it, I rat him out. Sorry. And then there's Isikoff. Over drinks at the Four Seasons Hotel several years ago, he tried to help me by passing along some sex allegations that the Post wouldn't print. He had every reason to believe that our conversation was off the record. Now I've ratted him out, too. And I didn't even pick up the check! Sorry about that.
To Adam Bellow, once my editor at The Free Press but now gone: I am soooo sorry I didn't deliver the sort of nasty goods on the first lady that I served up in The Real Anita Hill, and that The Seduction of Hillary Rodham flopped. I hope that the poor sales of The Seduction played no role in your departure from The Free Press. And to the first lady, I'm sorry I wrote that at Yale Law School you wore the "loose-fitting, flowing pants favored by the Viet Cong" and hung out with com-symps. And I'm also sorry I wrote in the American Spectator that Vince Foster fondled you in public. Whoops, I didn't write that. Daniel Wattenberg did. Please forgive him.
I apologize for having been, until recently, a staff writer for the American Spectator. I was the first conservative in human history to perform investigative journalism, yet I did not share the wealth with other conservative publications like the National Review and the Weekly Standard. From Bill Buckley and Bill Kristol, I beg forgiveness.
Before I came to the Spectator, I was an editor and writer at the Washington Times, the conservative paper controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who has cruelly deceived people into thinking he's the messiah. I am vexed by this connection now that I know the real messiah is ... well, never mind. All will be revealed in time.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.