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02.28.09

GOP Shock Jock Goes Wild

My meeting with the infamous right-wing radio host John Ziegler.

During an otherwise ordinary day at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Convention, I had a run in with conservative radio talk show host John Ziegler. For the uninitiated, Ziegler is a talker memorably profiled by David Foster Wallace who, while not enjoying Limbaugh or Hannity levels of devotion, is a reasonably famous figure in the conservative media. Our confrontation is already infamous. Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins, Wonkette, and other bloggers seized on it for posts. Robert Stacy McCain, a former Washington Times writer drummed out of the Moonie paper partly because of my reporting on his white supremacist leanings, posted a barely comprehensible Youtube video.

Click below to watch the video.

Video screenshot

Why the rage? Well, the roots of Ziegler’s fury lay in a series of reports I produced in 2006 about the factually challenged TV movie The Path To 9-11, in which I laid out the film’s ulterior right-wing agenda. (See here, here, here, and here for the full story). In early 2008, I received a series of emails from someone calling themselves “Konrad Ziegler.” “I am producing a documentary on how "The Path to 9/11" got essentially killed in 2006 and I am wondering if you would be willing to do an interview with me and take a victory lap for your role in helping to create that reality,” the mysterious filmmaker, “Konrad,” wrote me in an email. Given the unusually cryptic nature of his request, I declined to respond.

When the film Blocking The Path To 9-11 appeared, my suspicions were confirmed—“Konrad” was actually John Ziegler. Variety panned Ziegler’s documentary, calling it “tedious.”

Which leads us to the encounter with Ziegler in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham. When I brought up our shared history, Ziegler exploded, inexplicably accusing me of “hurt[ing] poor children, most of whom were black.” See his histrionics for yourself.

Max Blumenthal is a senior writer for The Daily Beast and writing fellow at The Nation Institute, whose book, Republican Gomorrah (Basic/Nation Books), is forthcoming in Spring 2009. Contact him at maxblumenthal3000@yahoo.com.