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Media Criticism: Scott Eric Kaufman Tears Brent Bozell into Shreds and Gobbets, and then Eats the Gobbets...

Scott Eric Kaufman, last seen in the Washington Post "claiming" to have a Ph.D. in English, tears Brent Bozell into shreds and gobbets, and then eats the gobbets.


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And the Award for Missing the Point goes to...: ...Brent Bozell, of the ironically named “Media Research Center,” who refuted Oliver Stone’s comment that “Nixon always said Reagan was a dumb son of a bitch” by quoting a number of prominent figures in Reagan’s administration who thought Reagan was really smart...

Bozell to Stone:

“Nixon always said Reagan was a dumb son of a bitch,” you said, and the audience laughed, and you smiled and decided to take that statement further by agreeing with it. So you said, “You know, I think that he was,” and the audience now cheered and hooted and applauded...


There are two claims being made here: one, that Nixon thought Reagan was a dumb son of a bitch; two, that Oliver Stone thinks Reagan was a dumb son of a bitch. Unfortunately for Bozell, Nixon illegally taped every conversation he ever had, and when we consult his conversations with Henry Kissenger on the morning of November 17, 1971 [620a.mp3], we learn that while Nixon didn’t use those exact words—about Reagan, at least, since we know he used that particular phrase about everyone from the Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, to the Director of the Secret Service, James Rowley, to one of his own White House aides, Tom Charles Huston—he didn’t think too highly of the Gipper’s wits:

(beginning at 1:33:02): President Nixon: "What’s your evaluation or Reagan after meeting him several times now." Kissinger: "Well, I think he’s a—actually I think he’s a pretty decent guy." President Nixon: "Oh, decent, no question, but his brains?" Kissinger: "Well, his brains are negligible. I—" President Nixon: "He’s really pretty shallow, Henry." Kissinger: "He’s shallow. He’s got no . . . he’s an actor. He—When he gets a line he does it very well. He said, “Hell, people are remembered not for what they do, but for what they say. Can’t you find a few good lines?” That’s really an actor’s approach to foreign policy . . ."

(beginning at 1:46:19): President Nixon: "Back to Reagan though. It shows you how a man of limited mental capacity simply doesn’t know what the Christ is going on in the foreign area. He’s got to know that on defense—doesn’t he know these battles we fight and fight and fight? Goddamn it, Henry, we’ve been at—"...

In other words, the person who misremembered what Stone said in an article somewhere, but doesn’t remember where, who then re-read the article from he-doesn’t-remember-where and promptly forgot where it was again—this person thinks Stone is a lousy historian because he correctly cited Nixon’s sentiments about Reagan and correctly stated that he agreed with Nixon’s assessment. If I were Bozell—and could remember that I was Bozell long enough to cite myself—I wouldn’t be knocking people who don’t claim to be historians for being lousy historians when those same tables could so easily be turned on, say, a “lecturer, syndicated columnist, television commentator, debater, marketer, businessman, author, publisher and activist” who fancies himself qualified to judge who is and isn’t “a real [historian].”