First, I am NOT a David Brook's fan. He is a 1% cheerleader, espousing their affectation of entitlement outside common place rules or restriction. His nauseating articles consistently placate, overlook and excuse their conduct and behavior. Though, I dislike Brooks, I like Brian Williams. His pattern of lying on several stories precipitated his downfall and ouster at NBC were both disheartening. Though Brooks was sympathetic toward Williams, an article in Salon illuminates the motives beyond the obvious kinship of journalist and class. Mr. Brooks' own 'Brian Williams' moment' concerning the credibility of his book, The Road to Character may arrive. Writer, David Zweig fell upon a journey of inquiry while researching his book, Invisibles: Celebrating the Unsung Heroes of the Workplace. Zweig a former fact checker intended to capitalize upon the premise of Brooks' shift from humility toward his assertion of recognition at all costs.
Zweig discovered Brooks promoted his book and received accolades bilked upon distorting and parsing research. During interviews, talk shows - Real Time With Bill Maher, publications - New York Times and lectures, Brooks repeatedly quoted the contrived research hailed as fact:
"In 1950 the Gallup Organization asked high school seniors "Are you a very important person?" And in 1950, 12 percent of high school seniors said yes. They asked the same question again in 2006; this time it wasn't 12 percent, it was 80 percent."
David Zweig weaves a narrative documenting his journey and objective effort to substantiate Brook's quote. He can't, because the tangled morass of facts and data inculcated in the aforementioned statement doesn't exist. Here are the brass facts uncovered in his article:
* Gallup didn't conduct the poll Brooks cited
* Despite Zweig's repeated attempts to contact Brooks, a perspicuous non-response.
* Publisher Random House eventually admitted research wrongly ascribed to Gallup, and afterwards, communication went dormant.
* Brooks shredded the data from the study cited. He reassembled new facts inviolate of actual decades, gender, and age.
To Mr. Zweig's credit, he rightfully leaves readers to arrive at their own conclusion.
Well, here are my thoughts: Brooks lied for profit and didn't think he would get caught. Confusing Gallup with the academic study, Changes in Adolescent Response Patterns on the MMPI/MMPI-A Across Four Decades," is no small boo-boo. As annotated in the book's credit, Brooks had the services of a fact checker, who also dodged Mr. Zweig's emails"".oh the conversations ruminating from that fall out. And Random House, I imagine, is migrating into damage control.
Admittedly, Brooks isn't the only passenger riding the intellectual clown side-car. His fellow passengers are David Will, Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol duly noted for their outlandish, incorrect observations, and consistently WRONG prognostications. All mimic the conservative convention of fabricating history and facts for political expedience. Categorizing their nattering as valuable journalism is beyond obnoxious on numerous levels and a disservice to the conveyance of insightful commentary based on news. And as the public slowly turns deft to the lunacy, deception of the GOP, maybe it is time to ignore the polished regressive and reactionary agenda repackaged by sophisticated GOP front men like Brooks. The public possesses irrefutable evidence conservative punditry equivocates to a Don Quijote de la Mancha pursuit. However, their fraud is lent credence minus consequences, maybe Brooks' subterfuge will remedy that course.
Ironically, Brooks' intentional mashing academic studies together and then repeatedly publicizing and peddling his misrepresentation as fact, affirms Zweig's assertion: "a shift away from self-effacement toward one where gaining recognition seems to be prized above all else" Thank goodness Mr. Zweig descended down the rabbit hole by verifying his sources, preserving his reputation and exposing another abuse of our trust.