Tara McKelvey

Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at the Prospect, is a research fellow at NYU School of Law's Center on Law and Security and the author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy on Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

Recent Articles

The Angry Prophet

With a white, triangular handkerchief tucked into his breast pocket, former U.S. Senator Gary Hart sips coffee in Washington's Mayflower Hotel on a recent Thursday morning. He also receives calls on a cell phone that plays a Mozart cantata; points out Clifford May in the lobby ("a mouthpiece for the Republican party -- probably here meeting Chalabi"); and talks about political gossip, George Tenet and, most importantly, his new book, The Fourth Power: A Grand Strategy for the United States in the Twenty-First Century. What is the message of your book? From the end of the Cold War until the terrorist attacks of 2001, America did not have a grand strategy. We did not take the time to define our purpose in our world. To rectify that, I propose that we strive toward three goals: achieve security, expand opportunity to ourselves and others, and promote liberal democracy. We have abundant power to achieve these aims. We have the largest economy, and we are a political and military power. In...

Brock, Stock, and Barrel

David Brock, author of the best-selling Blinded by the Right and head of the Web site Media Matters.org, has written a new book, The Republican Noise Machine . In a Georgetown house built "circa 1860," according to a plaque, with a well-stocked liquor bar (three kinds of whiskey), fresh flowers, and a library that includes the National Review, The Weekly Standard , and The Cheese Plate , he talks about book publishing, Rush Limbaugh, and the sins of his past. Why did you write the book? The question I tried to answer is, “How did the conservative movement reach a point that it dominates our political discourse?” I think people know FOX is the No. 1 cable network. And they know there's an awful lot of right-wing talk radio. But I don't think they know the back story -- that this did not happen by accident. There has always been a market for right-wing media, going back to the '50s and '60s. But there have been structural changes in recent years that have allowed the right-wing material...

Bias Crimes

Nobody knows how to manipulate the media better than David Brock. As a former "right-wing hit man" (his words), he skewered Anita Hill -- first in a 22,000-word American Spectator (October 1992) article and then in a best-selling book, The Real Anita Hill , described by Anthony Lewis as "Sleaze With Footnotes." He even "put a lie in print," as he recounts in Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative , when he tore apart Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson's 1994 book, Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas , in the Spectator , shredding material in their book he knew was true. That's why, he says, he's unusually qualified to do the job he has now: heading up a Web site that ferrets out misinformation and exposes the lies and deceptions of the right-wing media. It's been a strange journey. After experiencing a "spiritual and moral conversion" in the late 1990s, as he said at a National Press Club luncheon on May 3, he broke with his conservative colleagues and tried...

Patriot Act

On April 30, the day his book, The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity -- A Diplomat's Memoir , was released, Ambassador Joseph Wilson met with a visitor in his office on Pennsylvania Avenue (decorated with a framed, handwritten note dated September 30, 1998, from George Bush Senior, saying, “You accomplished so much for our country.”). As Wilson fiddled with Iraqi worry beads (and clipped his nails), he explained what it's like to be a whistle-blower, why Karl Rove should be “frog-marched” out of the White House in handcuffs, and why, despite his “notoriety,” he got only $10,000 to write his book. What do you hope to accomplish with the book? I wanted it to be part of this year's political debate. Hell, the president himself said he wanted to run on his records, and I think that's appropriate. I have some views on his policies, and I'm happy to share them at this time. Two, I wanted to talk about a rich and varied career, which...

Allies Axed

The socialists are in; the conservatives are out. Three days after a terrorist attack in Madrid killed 200 people, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party won the national elections, receiving more votes than the successor chosen by former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. Ivo Daalder, 44, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and the co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy , explains what the Spanish election could mean for Americans. What effect will the Spanish elections have on Bush? Bush had a very, very close relationship with Aznar -- as underscored by the fact that when he made his first presidential trip to Europe, his first stop was Madrid. He used to point to Aznar as a way to justify what he was doing in terms of foreign policy. He'd say, more or less, "Here's a man who supports me, even though 90 percent of his population is against what we're doing in Iraq. What a strong, principled leader." But the fact that 90...

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