Earlier today, I wrote about John Ziegler’s confrontation with the ACU’s David Keene and his eventual expulsion from Western CPAC. This evening, John writes an exclusive column for Mediaite, along with exclusive video, explaining the incident and the background that led to it:
I have a really hard time with people who claim to be crusaders for the conservative cause but who are really only in it for either personal and/or economic aggrandizement. In my media career I have found that vast majorities of the elite among conservative politicians and media stars fit into this pathetic category. One of the most aggravating aspects of the heat I have taken over the past year for my efforts to shine light on the injustice of the media coverage of the 2008 election is that I often get accused of being one of those who only craves personal attention and has less than pure motives (which considering I was a long time radio talk show host, a career infested with such scoundrels, I can actually begrudgingly understand).
To me, now more than ever, the conservative movement must purge itself of those in its “leadership” who are not worthy of the cause they claim to champion. Over the past year I have begun to suspect that David Keene, the head of the American Conservative Union and the Chairman of CPAC (the largest annual gathering of conservatives) may fit into this category. …
So, with this as the backdrop, I went to Western CPAC in Newport Beach this past weekend as a scheduled speaker and an exhibitor. I also went with the full intention of getting David Keene to address at least some of these issues.
It became clear to me that the best way to do this was, rather than going way off the topic of my speaking panel (I was there to talk about my arrest at USC’s Katie Couric journalism award ceremony) and making an unnecessary scene that probably wouldn’t even make sense, was to get an interview with David Keene. Keene agreed to do a sit-down interview and the guys from Orange County Films (who had videotaped the Couric episode) volunteered to shoot whatever happened that day.
This is the first of three videos at Mediaite:
Rather than write too much about this myself, I’d encourage everyone to read John’s article and watch the videos. From my perspective, the only thing John did that crossed any kind of line was when he followed Keene into the speaking hall — where Keene was obviously trying to run away — and he had to be asked to stop repeatedly to keep from disrupting one of the panels. Instead of just dropping it, the event organizers escalated the problem by first kicking John off of his panel and then making the entire issue public when John had already agreed to leave — an agreement in which I was involved, for full disclosure, and which fell apart while I got sick in the hotel (I had some problems with my diabetes medication this weekend). The final act of this little drama was, from my perspective, completely avoidable by Western CPAC’s brain trust.