Last week attorneys representing his estate, in a case where he was being sued for libel by former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod, failed to answer the court’s questions regarding the estate’s finances. When the lawyers couldn’t even tell the judge whether or not Breitbart had a will when he died, the judge became skeptical and threatened to charge them with contempt of court.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said he was mystified that Breitbart’s attorneys from Katten Muchin did not know whether or not Breitbart died intestate and said he feared that the firm and Breitbart’s estate — or whatever entity may be in ownership of the late blogger’s assets — were being evasive and uncooperative in the case.
“This court expects a law firm of the stature of Katten Muchin to not be a party to games like this, at least as the court sees it,” Judge Leon said.
Back in 2010, Breitbart posted a video of Sherrod on his web site that falsely portrayed her as engaging in racially biased behavior in her duties as a government employee. The unedited video shows that, in fact, she was telling a story about something that had occurred twenty years earlier, before she worked for the government, and actually had a message of equality and tolerance. Nevertheless, Breitbart refused to apologize or retract his defamatory articles.
Sherrod sued Breitbart, who evaded accountability by dying. And now his lawyers are continuing his legacy of shameful deceit by dodging the court’s legitimate inquiries into his finances. The boneheads that assumed control of Breitbart’s web sites have cemented their reputation for bombastic dishonesty and tabloid-like perversions of journalism to an extent that might even have embarrassed Breitbart. But they cannot continue to avoid the legal scrutiny in this case, and will eventually have to pay for their disgraceful smear campaign against Sherrod.
The diseased minds at Breitbart News and David Horowitz’s Freedom Center are joining together to fill what they perceive as a void in media criticism. Not satisfied with the efforts by richly financed conservative operations like the Lie Factory of Fox Nation, the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, the Washington Free Beacon, or Breitbart’s own BigJournalism, this new cabal is forming with the unmistakeably hostile mission to…
“…unmask leftists in the media for who they are, destroy their credibility with the American public, and devastate their funding bases.”
As for BreitBrat Ben’s partner, David Horowitz, he is a notoriously racist fringe conservative who believes that slave labor has benefited contemporary African-Americans. He also publishes “Jihad Watch,” which has labeled President Obama a “practicing Muslim.”
The new TruthRevolt project describes itself as “a conservative counterpunch to Media Matters, the Obama-linked organization that focuses on silencing conservatives in the media.” Of course, there is no Media Matters link to Obama offered by the BreitBrats, nor any evidence that they have ever silenced any conservative. What right-wingers regard as silencing is really just getting caught saying what they actually believe. That’s all that Media Matters does.
Breitbart has been after Media Matters for a long time. They have challenged the tax-exempt status of Media Matters; accused them being anti-Christian and anti-American; charged that they get their marching orders from the White House, George Soros, or any other convenient rightist bogeyman. Even their hallowed leader, St. Andrew, has taken cheap shots at Media Matters and its founder, David Brock. He published an absurd article alleging some sort of conspiracy by the media to hide an old photograph of Brock that he characterized as narcissistic and homoerotic. But he could have been talking about himself and the photos he posed for in Time Magazine:
Breitbart’s destructive tendencies are well documented. He once swore to “bring down the institutional left” in three weeks. He’s more than four years overdue. Now his successors are nursing the same obsessions. And as usual they are incapable of providing a single example of anything that Media Matters has done that was incorrect or deserving of criticism. Their unambiguous goal (as they admitted above) is to tear down an organization that does nothing more than document the conservative bias in the media. It is a plainly articulated, well-financed, censorious revolt against truth – hence their name.
Last year’s mega-bomb crocumentary, Hating Breitbart, was such a commercial disaster that the producers launched a laughable campaign to get their fan boys/girls to buy extra copies and send them to people who would immediately throw them in the trash. I’m not kidding!
The BreitBrat producers framed this marketing scam as “offering fans of our movie the chance to ‘sponsor’ an intellectually malnourished member of the mainstream establishment.” What a magnanimous offer that doesn’t in any way rip off dimwits for the enrichment of shlock peddlers. It was such a great idea that I borrowed it myself to move copies of my book, Fox Nation vs. Reality.
Today, however, the BreitBrats have taken another step over the line that divides foolishness from insanity. They put out a press release bragging about what a monstrous success their little failure is: “Andrew Breitbart Biodoc Opens At #3; Digital Sales Strong As Movie Opens Across Multiple Platforms.”
The index to which these geniuses are referring is the one that Amazon posts with every product in their store. It is a volatile gauge that changes by the minute and only measures sales on Amazon. Hating Breitbart may have been at #3 at some point, but it was short-lived and probably the result of a spike from the producers buying copies themselves. At this writing it sits at #13.
For comparison, my book is presently at #9 in Amazon’s Political Advocacy category. But a few days ago it was at #2. Tomorrow it could be #22 or #4, all depending on how it sells in relation to how everything else on Amazon sells.
The press release goes on to celebrate what they call “a national theatrical release,” with numbers they boast are “pleasing.” But there is no evidence that such a release has occurred. There are no independent box office tallies. And they don’t bother to list any venues or ticket sales data in the release. I’m afraid that, like their Amazon hype, this is all in their heads. Or perhaps they just put together a nationwide exhibition of the film in the living rooms of Tea Partiers where they could include a scrumptious pot luck feast. Then, they could Tupperware-style push more copies of the DVD to gullible viewers.
Most producers sitting on a major flop would try not to attract more attention to their failure. But it seems somehow appropriate that the producers of a film about a loudmouth propagandist would continue shouting even after their project has hit the bottom of the barrel.
Earlier this week News Corpse reported that the desperate producers of the crocumentary “Hating Breitbart” had embarked on a program to convince their fans to buy multiple copies of the DVD and send them to liberal politicians, journalists, actors, etc. We regarded this idea as a hilarious and transparent ploy to salvage their failed film and we set about to mocking it. As I wrote last Tuesday…
“The producers must be stuck with a warehouse of these paperweights and believe that their fans are dumb enough to bail them out by buying more. [...] Wouldn’t it just be easier to double the price and tell them the proceeds are going to Jesus?”
Well, I may have spoken too soon. After marathon conferences with our marketing executives and promotion consultants, we at News Corpse have determined that this sort of sales methodology has the potential to enhance the commercial prospects of our own already successful ebook “Fox Nation vs. Reality.” So today we are launching a version of the “Adopt A Wingnut” program that enables our enlightened audience to spread some of the truth and insight developed here to the community of deluded Fox Zombies who need it most. It’s a simple 3-step plan that everyone can join in on.
If you have not already purchased a copy of Fox Nation vs. Reality, do so immediately. It is an amusing and informative expose of the most brazenly dishonest efforts by Fox News to deceive their gullible fans.
Buy another copy of Fox Nation vs. Reality for an unfortunate friend or family member whose thinking has been clouded by the disinformation served up by Fox News. You can also buy copies for politicians, journalists, actors, teachers, professional colleagues, climate science deniers, Tea Partiers, bible thumpers, you name it. Be creative. Amazon makes it easy for you to designate the purchase as a gift and send the gift notice to the recipient.
Repeat Step Two as many times as necessary to complete your own list of needy neo-cons, theo-cons, and just plain cons (or until there is world peace and an end to hunger, whichever comes first).
Through this generous initiative we can have a real impact on the destructive propaganda that emanates from Fox News. The power of the human attributes of charity combined with effective social media can change the world and you can be a part of it. This is not some pipe dream cooked up by naive optimists. A check on Amazon today shows that Fox Nation vs. Reality is already ranking higher in sales than Breitbart’s autobiography, Righteous Indignation
Fox Nation vs. Reality: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,086
Righteous Indignation: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,624
(Note; these numbers seem to change by the minute, but these are the actual figures as of this writing. Also, while 28,086 seems like a high number, it is out of more than 1.3 million books. That puts it in the top three percentile.)
It is time to stand up and be counted. It is time to take positive steps toward a better world. It is time to lend a hand to the less fortunate. Just think about how badly these poor souls need the nourishment of honesty and truth. And try to imagine how much more compassionate and rational our world will be when we have eradicated the ignorance and hostility that is emblematic of the righteous-wing of the American political spectrum.
This is a moral crusade and it needs your participation to succeed. I know I can count on you. And as always, thanks for your dedication and benevolence. Your purchases will help News Corpse to continue to bring you the best in media analysis, conservative smackdowns, and political humor and art.
Following in the footsteps of “Atlas Shrugged” and “Sarah Palin Undefeated,” the new documentary “Hating Breitbart,” about the late Andrew Breitbart, made a beeline for the bargain bins at your local video store. It was a dismal flop at the box office despite massive marketing to the Tea Party crowd that producers thought would eat it up.
In their desperation the producers have initiated a unique marketing plan that illustrates just how delusional they are in believing that they can salvage their investment and/or integrity. The plan involves persuading their most mentally-deficient followers to buy copies of the DVD for various liberals in what they describe as a “sponsorship” in the vein of those late-night television appeals for starving third-world children. From the Hating Breitbart web site:
“At Hating Breitbart, we believe liberalism is an illness that is best treated with a healthy diet of being exposed to different points of view. We’re offering fans of our movie the chance to “sponsor” an intellectually malnourished member of the mainstream establishment by ordering a copy of the film to be sent to them to help overcome years of indoctrination by the liberal elite.”
Pleasse forghive me. It is mush hard er to type whil laughing hystrically than I thoght. OK, let me try this again.
The BreitBrats think that it’s a good idea to convince people to buy extra copies of their DVD (at 15 bucks a pop) for liberal politicians, journalists, entertainers, etc. The producers must be stuck with a warehouse of these paperweights and believe that their fans are dumb enough to bail them out by buying more. Of course, the intended recipients (i.e. Michael Moore, Rachel Maddow, Nancy Pelosi) are only going to deposit the DVDs in the trash.
Since there is no chance whatsoever that they will waste their time watching this dreck, the only real purpose for this campaign is to separate the flock from more of their cash and to enrich the incompetent producers. Wouldn’t it just be easier to double the price and tell them the proceeds are going to Jesus? But a bigger problem is that these conservative Randians are abandoning the pretense that they actually believe in the primacy of the free market. The people have spoken with their wallets. For God’s sake, let it go.
Yesterday a panel at CPAC (which I believe stands for Conniving Propagandists And Crooks) was held following the screening of “Hating Breitbart,” a crockumentary glorifying the late Andrew Breitbart. The topic of the event was “The Uninvited,” a reference to fringe conservatives who are allegedly kept from appearing in the mainstream media. Participating on the panel were several Breitbart-affiliated folks, including the disgraced video mangler, James O’Keefe, and a lone representative of Media Matters, Ari Rabin-Havt.
In the course of the discussion (video below) O’Keefe protested that he felt he was “held to a higher standard than any Pulitzer Prize winner.” Whereupon, BreitBrat editor Larry O’Conner defended O’Keefe by rejecting the notion that just because O’Keefe’s videos were found to have been deceptively edited that “everything O’Keefe does should be considered a fraud.” Actually, that’s precisely what should be done when someone has proven he’s a fraud on multiple occasions.
The discussion eventually veered off into an attack on Media Matters with O’Conner questioning the veracity of their content. When Rabin-Havt began to defend himself, in what seemed to be a transparently staged tossing of the baton, O’Conner recognized Breitbart’s Editor in Chief Joel Pollak in the audience and asked him to weigh in on the subject.
Pollak was visibly upset at what he characterized as a smear directed at him by Media Matters. He cited an article that he claimed accused him of being a birther. Standing in the audience he pointed his finger at Rabin-Havt and arrogantly insisted that “The next word out of your mouth should be ‘Sorry.'” But that was just a small portion of the generalized indictment he made of Media Matters:
Pollak: There’s a Media Matters method, it’s this: You make a statement in the headline that is not proven in the article. The lefties to whom you sell your material, or distribute your material, don’t care about the proof, they care about the headline. So you put in that headline that I’m a birther even though you admit I’m not a birther.
Alright, let’s break this down. First of all, Pollak’s assertion that Media Matters makes unproven statements in their headlines is itself unproven. Media Matters is meticulous about documenting what they publish, and the “lefties” and others who read it care very much that thoroughness. As for the article Pollak referenced, it was posted on Media Matters on March 13, with the title “What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013.” Notice that there is nothing in the headline about anyone being birther and that Pollak isn’t in it at all. So much for his thesis that Media Matters composes false headlines and fails to back them up.
Ironically, Pollak’s complaint applies perfectly to his own article on Breitbart News that Media Matters was writing about in the first place. That article’s headline was “The Vetting – Exclusive – Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'”
From the wording of that headline it would not be much of a stretch to conclude that the article was advancing birtherism by questioning Obama’s birthplace. Pollak said that he only intended to make a point that Obama, or his representatives, altered his biography when it suited him. However, that was not the inference in his headline. And it could be said of Breitbart what they said of Media Matters – that they “don’t care about the proof, they care about the headline.” What’s more, the first paragraph of the article began by affirming the birtherism in the headline:
“Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as ‘born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.'”
To be fair, there was a “Note from Senior Management” appended to the top of Pollak’s article that asserted that “Andrew Breitbart was never a ‘Birther,’ and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of ‘Birtherism.'” The fact that that note was necessary is telling in itself. But it’s a rather hollow disclaimer when the headline and the opening paragraph seemingly contradict it. Pollak also wrote that “The errant Obama biography in the Acton & Dystel booklet does not contradict the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate.” That’s true, but as Rabin-Havt pointed out, he had not called Pollak a birther. He had simply asserted that Pollak and Breitbart were still responsible for advancing the birther theme even if they themselves did not subscribe to it. And they did that by publishing articles with misleading headlines and expecting to absolve themselves of the birther taint by rejecting it several paragraphs later.
This bit of theatrics staged by the BreitBrats fits nicely into their modus operandi. It is the sort of ambush that Breitbart himself would have enjoyed pulling off. And it even starred Breitbart’s budding video propagandist, little Jimmy O’Keefe. But once again, when the facts are revealed in full, their deceit is all too apparent. The Media Matters article did not call Pollak a birther in the headline. Although Breitbart’s article did question Obama’s birthplace in their headline.
So the BreitBrats got together and conspired to ambush Rabin-Havt with a false accusation that he had done what the BreitBrats actually did do. And then they complain when nobody will take them seriously, and they wonder why they are “The Uninvited” and why everyone hates Breitbart.
CNN, the network that is presently struggling in third place in the cable news field it once dominated, has published an interview of Glenn Beck that sets a new standard for obsequious pandering. The article is not much more than a promotional vehicle for Beck’s new media enterprise and fails to disclose that two Beck employees currently work for CNN (Amy Holmes and Will Cain).
The article’s lede concerns Beck’s announcement that he is folding his GBTV web video unit into his web tabloid site TheBlaze. The author, Steve Krakauer, makes little mention of Beck’s vulgar rhetoric and conspiratorial delusions, instead describing Beck euphemistically as “a man full of complexities.” The only complex that can be associated with Beck is his Messianic one. He also doesn’t bother to offer any analysis of whether the merger is the result of rapid success, as Beck claims, or due to poor performance necessitating a merger to reduce costs.
Krakauer takes Beck’s claims of his alleged success at face value. He repeats estimates for subscriber numbers without attempting to verify the claim or inquire as to whether they are actually paying for the service. GBTV offers free trials for new subscribers, but does not reveal how many subscribers are paying or how many cancel after the free trial expires.
Then Krakauer gets into some truly puzzling territory when he permits Beck to assert his brand of fairness and balance. Krakauer cites what he calls the “clear non-Beckness” of TheBlaze, and lets Beck complete the picture by saying that “If you just look at the comments section, there are people who read the Blaze all the time but hate my guts.” Why that would surprise anyone is beyond comprehension. The Internet has a wide open, frontier ethos that allows everyone access to everything. It stands to reason that Beck’s adversaries would visit his site, just as Tea Partiers show up at the DailyKos. That is not evidence that TheBlaze is independent of Beck, just that it is online. And Krakauer’s next example of Beck’s alleged impartiality is no better. He cites an incident when TheBlaze criticized a fellow conservative:
“[O]ne of the most memorable and talked about series of articles on TheBlaze.com was a meticulous debunking of the James O’Keefe NPR videos, which claimed to show an NPR executive denigrating the Tea Party, that ran on an Andrew Breitbart-associated website.”
Indeed, TheBlaze did publish a detailed breakdown of O’Keefe’s slanderous hoax. But what Krakauer leaves out is that Beck was not acting out of any sense of journalistic integrity. He and Breitbart were engaged in a bitter feud at the time, with each alleging the other was a backstabbing phony. That may have had something to do with Beck’s takedown of Breitbart’s protege. However, Krakauer uncritically lets Beck get away with portraying himself as even-handed, but misunderstood:
“I think that’s people forgetting who I was and what I was saying when I was on CNN before Barack Obama. [...] Nobody ever, ever gives me credit for the times I’ve said on the air ‘the president is right on this, did this right’ or ‘the media is unfair by trying to say this about the president,’ or ‘the right is unfair.’ I bet I do that at least once a month.”
That’s just revisionist history on Beck’s part. He was broadly criticized for his dishonest and hateful rhetoric on Headline News. And, of course, it was that very rhetoric that got him his job at Fox after CNN ditched him. And the reason he doesn’t get credit for commending the President is because it occurred so rarely and only between accusations of fascism, socialism, racism, and threats of destroying America.
Astonishingly, Krakauer writes without any sense of irony that “Beck isn’t outwardly supporting either of the two major candidates in the 2012 election.” If he believes that he’s ready for the guys in white suits with the butterfly nets to take him to the friendly asylum in the country with the barbed wire fences. Does Krakauer think for a second that Beck would consider supporting the man he characterizes as a Stalinist bent on assuming tyrannical control of the nation and executing all resistors? Beck may not have endorsed Romney in so many words, but he has stated explicitly that America cannot survive another four years of Obama. So who do you think he’s supporting?
The article concludes with Krakauer gifting Beck with a closing statement that makes him appear to be some sort of visionary:
“We are on the threshold of something I think is as powerful as the Industrial Revolution was, except this one will happen in a very short period of time.”
Really? The threshold? Sorry but this revolution began at least twenty years ago. And many true visionaries were (and are) way ahead of Beck. The only thing Beck has done is to post web videos and publish an online tabloid-style news site. That has been done so much it’s almost passe. Every brick and mortar television station and newspaper has been doing it for years. Where’s the innovation? Saying his unoriginal venture is on par with the Industrial Revolution is like saying that starting a new blog today is on par with Gutenberg. Never mind that millions of bloggers have been doing for years.
This puff piece appearing on CNN is in line with their recent editorial direction. They have been heading ever more determinedly toward a Fox-Lite state that has done nothing for them but land them in the ratings cellar (a condition I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago). It’s a sad state of affairs for both CNN and the viewing public who would be better served by an honest, professional news provider than another megaphone for right-wing propaganda.
A few days ago I posted an article in response to a moronic ratings analysis by Breitbart’s editor-in-chief John Nolte. I noted that Nolte’s glee over the Daily Show having lower ratings than some other cable programs was a vacant and desperate stab at relevance, particularly considering that the ratings of his right-wing darlings at Fox News were even lower.
What I hadn’t noticed at the time was that Nolte is virtually fixated on what any coherent observer would agree is the unparalleled success of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The late night Comedy Central pair have created a Renaissance of political satire and much of their humorous insight has entered the popular culture. In addition to their broad-based popularity, they have both been the recipients of numerous broadcasting awards – and not just Emmys, but journalism honors. The Colbert Report just won its second Peabody this month.
That must be why the Breitbrats are so feverishly hammering away at these stars of satire. Nolte is either consumed with jealousy or merely suffering from a paranoid psychosis triggered by his Olympian lameness. In the past month Nolte has published four articles all making the same insipid and easily rebutted claim that Stewart and Colbert are failures. Four articles restating the same misinformation. But worse, Nolte imagines some Grand Design being orchestrated by Comedy Central and the White House to subvert – oh, I don’t know – motherhood? The NRA? Democracy? God’s will? In his dementia Nolte describes Stewart and Colbert as…
“…elite millionaire, speech-policing leftists,” and… “…the dynamic duo of left-wing free speech oppressors…” and… “…left-wing, speech policing, Obama Palace Guards…”
Talk about delusional. And he hasn’t even gotten warmed up. He also declared that…
“It’s all a mainstream media scam used to protect Obama and to get leftist talking points out there using a Trojan horse marked ‘satire.’ and… “The corrupt entertainment media creates a phony reality around television shows they like.”
Nolte takes particular offense at Colbert about whom he rants…
“There’s a HUGE left-wing agenda behind what Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert is doing, and it’s a serious agenda that has nothing to do with satire.” And that Colbert is…
“…attacking constitutional free speech by attempting to make a mockery of a new Supreme Court ruling that finally allows private citizens and corporations to have as much say in the political process as Stephen Colbert and corporations like, say, Comedy Central.” [Editor's note: Comedy Central is not a corporation]
Who knew? The Stewart/Colbert cabal to undermine America’s foundations, in concert with a Marxist Manchurian in the White House, is conspiring to silence “private citizens and corporations” like the Koch brothers, and China’s biggest trading partner, Wal-Mart. Indeed, Colbert’s mockery of the Citizen’s United decision is brutal in that it exposes the blatant excess of corporate billions corrupting the democratic process. Thank goodness for the Breitbrats who single-handedly come to the defense of otherwise defenseless waifs like ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, and AstroTurf Tea Party sugar-daddies at Americans for Prosperity.
I’m not sure why Nolte is so obsessed that he feels it’s necessary to repeatedly pound on a couple of comedy programs, especially when those programs are often as tough on liberals as they are on conservatives as I documented here. Perhaps he doesn’t like the abundance of dick jokes. Or maybe it’s just a part of his moral character that compels him to speak out when he sees injustice, such as this recent outpouring of outrage over an HBO program that crossed the lines of decency.
Apparently the outrageousness of the program was not enough to keep Nolte from republishing the object of his disgust. And he further demonstrated his moral fiber and family values by advocating the murder of the child-actress’ mother (Nolte later scrubbed that remark and replaced it with one saying that the mother should lose custody of her children). And somewhere in the process Nolte hallucinates that the left is supportive of this sort of televised gross-out.
I can’t say that I was ever a fan of Andrew Breitbart. In fact, I considered him to be a deliberately dishonest purveyor of propaganda who reveled in rancor and divisiveness. But still, I have to wonder if he would be proud of his successors who are driving his media empire into ever more juvenile territory. I would imagine that he would at least be dismayed at what a hopelessly ineffective operation they have turned his web site into by slathering it up with such puerile trash. On the other hand, Breitbart’s biggest claim to fame was posting a TwitPic of a congressman’s wiener. So respectability was never really a part of his mission, but the wiener obsession survives.
Despite his untimely passing, Andrew Breitbart still seems to command attention from the mainstream media hacks who think that what he did was journalism. His ghost has the uncanny ability to summon up fables and pass them on to naive reporters desperate for a hot story.
The much heralded release of Breitbart’s supposedly explosive video that he promised would unmask the racially radical philosophy that President Barack Obama has been trying to conceal for twenty years came out this week. And there hasn’t been a more anticlimactic unveiling since Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s safe. But worse than just the sad spectacle of a failed exposé, the whole production number orchestrated by the Breitbartians (the inept crew that Breitbart left behind) fell apart amidst a tsunami of hype and lies. The list of unmet assertions is long and pathetic:
Claim #1) The videos would “vet” the President in a way he had not been vetted before. The result would dash his reelection hopes. The Truth: The video was a harmless look back at a youthful and poised Obama advocating for more diversity on the Harvard faculty. If anything it makes Obama look better.
Claim #2) The Breitbartians accused Buzzfeed of “selectively editing” the video they released ahead of Breitbart’s big scoop. The Truth: When the Breitbartians released their “uncut” version it had about two seconds at the end that showed Obama hugging the professor he had just introduced. Not exactly the makings of a scandal.
Claim #3) Prof. Derrick Bell was an extremist whose relationship with Obama was evidence of Obama’s radical roots. The Breitbartians repeatedly called him “the Jeremiah Wright of academia” in an attempt to paint a false and derogatory picture of Bell. The Truth: Bell was a respected and admired legal professor and scholar whose work is still revered and taught at law schools around the country.
Claim #4) There was a conspiratorial effort to prevent the video from ever being released. The Breitbartians alleged that remarks made by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree were an admission of such. The Truth: Ogletree was obviously joking when he said that “we hid this during the 2008 campaign.” He and his audience were laughing at the statement. Ogletree spoke with the Boston Herald today and affirmed this.
Claim #5) Derrick Bell had made two visits to the White House in 2010. I’m not sure why there would be anything wrong with a law professor visiting his former student at his new job in the White House, but nevertheless, the allegation was put forth as some sort of suspicious activity. The Truth: It was a different Derrick Bell who was visiting the White House on a routine tour. Seriously, don’t these righties ever try to verify anything?
When you look back at all of the absurd concoctions that have been floated on the Breitbart network of web sites, you really have to ask yourself, why does anyone continue to pay attention to these people? Their record of mistakes, misrepresentations, and outright dishonesty should exempt them from being taken seriously by any other media outlet. How about we start to hold the media accountable for their poor judgment?
I would, however, like to thank the Breitbartians for having brought attention to the inspiring video of a young, activist Obama in his college days. I think that’s worth another look:
Yesterday was the day that the video Andrew Breitbart promised of a racially divisive Barack Obama in his days as a student at Harvard was released. It was almost universally panned as a pathetic and desperate boatload of nothing. After first yammering that the video posted by Buzzfeed (scooping Breitbart) was “selectively edited,” the Breitbartians posted what they said was the “uncut” video. Their version contained about two seconds more that consisted entirely of Obama hugging Prof. Derrick Bell, whom he had just introduced at a rally.
Since the video itself was proven to have no material evidence of anything the least bit detrimental to Obama, much less the cataclysmic data that would doom his career, the Breitbartians resorted to Plan B: Demonize Prof. Bell and tie him around Obama’s neck. This was a coordinated plot that began with Breitbart editor-in-chief Joel Pollak robotically repeating the mantra that “Derrick Bell was the Jeremiah Wright of academia.” Pollak even went on CNN and admitted that the video was irrelevant, and when Soledad O’Brein asked him “Then where’s the bombshell, I don’t see it?” Pollak responded that “The bombshell is the revelation of the relationship between Barack Obama and Derrick Bell.” But that wasn’t any revelation at all.
The argument that the Breitbartians are making rests on their assertion that Bell’s writings on Critical Race Theory define him as a racial radical. In fact, CRT is an aggregation of legal concepts that bring together law, politics, economics, etc., in a broad-based study of race and power in society. It posits that there are institutional barriers to eradicating racism that must be addressed at the root level. Those barriers are evident in things like employment practices and school admissions. Another example is the judicial system that incarcerates a higher percentage of African-Americans than their representation in the population. Affirming that example is the fact that crack cocaine, used by more African-Americans than whites, is punishable by sentences ten times more severe than powder cocaine, for which you find more white offenders.
Nevertheless, the Breitbartians are deliberately misinterpreting the legal theory in order to condemn its proponents, including Bell. In this way they can assert that Obama, as a result of his having studied at Harvard, is also a racial radical. The object is to incite fear among those who are ill-informed that Obama aspires to threaten their status in society. He is coming after your jobs, your schools, your churches, all the trappings of your comfortable, privileged lives.
In the wake of the initial flop of the video’s release, the right-wing media has been redoubling its efforts to stir up a phony controversy. Fox Nation has posted multiple stories on the subject (it has been at the top of their page for two days running). Fox News has featured it on their broadcasts, notably the video “exclusive” presented by Sean Hannity. Ironically, Fox Nation posted a video of a debate about Bell between Michelle Malkin and Juan Williams, but edited out Williams entirely.
Note the edit at about 2:20 where Hannity says that Juan’s gonna disagree, but then fades to Malkin saying “No, no. no.”. What Williams said in between was…
“Well, first of all, I must say, I thought this was going to be so much more. I thought this was going to be the smoking gun, as you describe it. But it really didn’t come too much. I mean, I just don’t think that there is.”
And that’s all that Williams was permitted to say in the entire segment, but they even cut that out when they put it online. And then they have the nerve to complain, falsely, that others “selectively edited” video.
Pollak and his Breitbart colleague Ben Shapiro have been making the rounds on the lamestream media. On CNN they argued with Soledad O’Brien over the meaning of Critical Race Theory, but spoke very little about what any of it had to do with Obama, despite O’Brien’s attempts to steer them back to the topic. That’s a tactic designed to keep the focus off of substance and aimed squarely at innuendo and slander. For good measure they threw in a bashing of the media for trying to suppress the video (for what reason, they never make clear), and to silence them (even while they are speaking on the air).
For its part, the Breitbart web site has been piling on with articles that reek of racism. One article was authored by J. Christian Adams, a notorious race-baiter who has accused Eric Holder’s Justice Department of coddling civil rights violators if they happened to be black. He wrote that…
“Both Obama and Bell demanded that Harvard hire professors on the basis of race. [...] The Obama-Bell connection is the latest in a pattern of Barack Obama’s associations with individuals who promoted a racially divisive America.”
That’s an open assault on affirmative action, which was not developed to produce hiring on the basis of race, but to put an end to it. Adams also repeated the lie that Obama had appeared with a member of the New Black Panther Party. In fact, Obama attended a civil rights rally that was attended by thousands of people, one of whom happened to be an NBPP member. Obama had no control over who came to a massive, public rally. Adams also characterized cases of civil rights abuse as “crackpot racial grievances.” That pretty much reveals his personal bias.
Another story posted by the Breitbartians alleged that “Obama Forced His Students To Read Bell at the University of Chicago Law School.” Their evidence was a document describing a course that Obama was teaching. The course was “Current Issues in Racism and the Law.” It would be difficult to teach such a class without the textbook materials by one of this generations most respected scholars on that subject. But the allegation is made even worse by that use of the word “forced” as if it were under duress. By that measure isn’t every student forced to read something? In fact, many of the references to Bell’s writings specifically said that they were optional reading.
Meanwhile, over at NewsBusters, there was an article that alleged that the non-event video was being suppressed as part of a conspiracy orchestrated by George Soros (Isn’t it always?). The evidence of that was that Soros’ foundations had made donations to Harvard (where the video took place) and WGBH (the public TV station that owned the video). Using their logic I can surmise that the Koch brothers are behind this whole phony video scandal because they have made contributions to NewsBusters.
And, believe it or not, they even have a Plan C: It’s a Cover Up! The video was a bust. The racial attacks could backfire. So if all else fails, blame it on a massive cover up. The Breitbartians took on another black Harvard professor, Charles Ogletree, by posting a video wherein he said that “We hid this during the 2008 campaign…” He was referring to the video of Obama at Harvard. Of course there would have been no reason to do that since, if anything, the video shows Obama in a positive light. The truth is that Ogletree was joking. He even laughed immediately after, which proves that he was humorously dismissing the throw-away line. but, not surprisingly, the humor-challenged righties didn’t get, even though Ogletree’s audience did.
The absence of any substance on the video has led to a redirection by the right to their usual stance against Obama – he’s black. His associates are black. And they advocate for radical concepts like equal justice under the law. They support fairness in hiring and other social contracts. They oppose discrimination.
If anyone is advancing a racialist philosophy, it’s the right-wingers who are peddling this repulsive nonsense. And if there is anything positive to take away from this, it is that they have once again shown their true colors. It isn’t about a video of a young future president. It isn’t about health care or oil prices or deficits. It is, and always has been, about one thing for these meatheads. They just can’t accept a black man in their White House.
At last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Andrew Breitbart said that he had videos of President Obama in his college days at Harvard. The implication was that the content of the videos was so scandalous that it would have an impact on Obama’s reelection. Breitbart gleefully announced that…
“I have videos. This election we’re going to vet him from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008. The videos are going to come out, the narrative is going to come out.”
Well, they came out today. But Breitbart’s survivors at BigGovernment.com had nothing to do with it. The “vetting” was done by Andrew Kaczynski at Buzzfeed. Kaczynski acquired video from WGBH TV in Boston of the future president speaking at a rally for more diversity in the Harvard faculty.
The Breitbart crew immediately blasted Buzzfeed for releasing what they said was a “selectively edited” copy of the video.
“[T]he video has been selectively edited–either by the Boston television station or by Buzzfeed itself. Over the course of the day, Breitbart.com will be releasing additional footage that has been hidden by Obama’s allies in the mainstream media and academia.”
Gee, I can hardly wait. This should be endlessly informative since the Breitbart clan is intimately familiar with the practice of selectively editing videos. BigGovernment’s Joel Pollak says that the unveiling of the uncut video will take place tonight on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News. There’s another sign of how much credibility any of this will have. Hannity is famous for airing videos of sparsely attended Tea Party rallies that turned out to be from completely different, and crowded, events.
The most remarkable thing about this video is how little Obama has changed. He had the same oratorical style and poise then as now. At the time Obama was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was speaking on behalf of Prof. Derrick Bell, the first tenured African-American professor in Harvard’s law school. The occasion was a rally in support of greater diversity in general, and specifically the hiring of an African-American woman in the law school.
Pollak further promised to expose Bell as a “radical academic tied to Jeremiah Wright.” I’m surprised that he isn’t also tying him to George Soros, Van Jones, Saul Alinsky, and Che Guevara. However, Bell was a respected legal scholar and author who served in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, at the NAACP as an associate counsel, as the dean of the University of Oregon School of Law and, in addition to Harvard, also taught at USC, Stanford, and NYU. Clearly a dangerous anti-American. But Breitbart’s ghost is already setting in motion the smear campaign.
Perhaps Pollak has portions of the video where Obama advocates the violent overthrow of the government by black nationalists or discloses his Kenyan birthplace, but somehow I doubt it. It appears that the Breitbart folks are just upset that their phony plot to trickle out snippets of an entirely harmless video in order to create a fake controversy has been foiled by the lamestream media (if Buzzfeed qualifies as that). Now they will have to resort to smearing the name of a deceased law professor and pretending that there is something wrong with Obama supporting a more diversified Harvard faculty. Fox Nation has already jumped in with an item about this story headlined: Obama Harvard Video: Rally for Race-Based Hiring. So there’s your talking point, righties. Go at it.
Late Breaking: Breitbart’s site released the “uncut” video and the only additional footage on it is of Obama embracing the professor he had just introduced. It was not exactly a secret that Obama admired his Harvard law professor. But the real problem for the Breitbart clan is that they have been bashing Buzzfeed all day long about having “selectively edited” the video, but now they have been shown to be lying.
Hannity and Co. spent over 20 minutes discussing this embarrassing flop of a scandal, even though the exclusive broadcast of the uncut video offered nothing new. The pair from Breitbart.com (Ben Shapiro and Joel Pollak) fidgeted nervously as they desperately tried to set some sort of fire under this non-event, but they utterly failed to come up with anything other than a bumper sticker criticism of Bell which they repeated incessantly to make sure the brainwashing stuck: Derrick Bell is the Jeremiah Wright of academia.
Just as I suspected, that’s the talking point they are running with. It’s so pathetic that I actually feel a little sorry for them. Their leader passed away last week and now they are floundering like lost orphans. What a sad spectacle.
The recently deceased Andrew Breitbart delivered a stem-winding speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last month. In it he dangled a tempting treat before the assembled disciples of rightism in the form of a promise to expose the radical, Marxist roots of the young Barack Obama. Breitbart announced that…
“I have videos. This election we’re going to vet him from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008. The videos are going to come out, the narrative is going to come out, that Barack Obama met a bunch of silver ponytails in the 1980s, like Bill (Ayers) and Bernadine Dohrn, who said one day we would have the presidency, and the rest of us slept as they plotted.”
That’s pretty heady stuff. It got the CPAC crowd worked up and initiated a stream of anticipation throughout the conservative community. What does Breitbart have? Are there videos of Obama conspiring with fugitive members of the Black Panther Party? Does the future president show up on film plotting the overthrow of the government?
Not exactly. The first part in the presumably continuing series of slander is not a video at all, but consists entirely of a poster for a play about conservative bogeyman Saul Alinsky.
The play “The Love Song of Saul Alinsky” was staged in 1998 in Chicago. Obama was a state senator at the time and, as a student of local history, had some knowledge of Alinsky and his work in the city. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Obama would participate in a post-play panel discussion about the author and community organizer. Nevertheless, Breitbart’s survivors at BigGovernment think they have unveiled the next Watergate via their crack investigation of the world of the theater.
Despite the dishonest headline that calls the play “Barack’s Love Song To Alinsky,” he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. This is another attempt to smear the President by association with a demon that the right invented. Alinsky was not the Marxist menace that Glenn Beck, Newt Gingrich, and Fox News make him out to be. In fact, he explicitly rejected the communists of his era saying…
“My only fixed truth is a belief in people, a conviction that if people have the opportunity to act freely and the power to control their own destinies, they’ll generally reach the right decisions. The only alternative to that belief is rule by an elite, whether it’s a Communist bureaucracy or our own present-day corporate establishment. You should never have an ideology more specific than that of the founding fathers: ‘For the general welfare.’ That’s where I parted company with the Communists in the Thirties, and that’s where I stay parted from them today.”
Alinsky was always, first and foremost, an advocate for the underclass in society that was abused and oppressed by the powerful. That’s a message that Tea Partiers could adopt if they weren’t such tools of powerful manipulators like the Koch brothers.
It is a sad and ironic tribute to Breitbart that his web site has published his last article and it is brimming with the sort of lies and distortions for which Breitbart was famous in life. If this is any indication of what Breitbart meant when he claimed to have explosive materials that would impact the President’s reelection, then the Democrats don’t have much to worry about. But I wouldn’t rest too easy because the Breitbart machine is still alive and it is probably working overtime to fabricate its next batch of propaganda.
Sometimes, in the right-wing noise machine, you really need to stretch to spread your smears across as many targets as possible. It calls for a strategy that aims to cast your juvenile insults so broadly that they ensnare any of your perceived enemies within a certain proximity. In a way, it’s a conservative approach that allows you to use less tar to tarnish more opponents in one wide swipe.
To that end, the Fox Nationalists went after Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone for his remembrances of Andrew Breitbart. Taibbi took a particularly Breitbartian tone in saying…
“So Andrew Breitbart is dead. Here’s what I have to say to that, and I’m sure Breitbart himself would have respected this reaction: Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.
I say this in the nicest possible way. I actually kind of liked Andrew Breitbart. Not in the sense that I would ever have wanted to hang out with him, or even be caught within a hundred yards of him without a Haz-Mat suit on, but I respected the shamelessness. Breitbart didn’t do anything by halves, and even his most ardent detractors had to admit that he had a highly developed, if not always funny, sense of humor.”
That’s the sort of hyperbolic, attention-seeking comment that epitomized Breitbart’s existence. And that is exactly the point that Taibbi was making. It was a fitting tribute, not just to the man, but to his inner being and what he stood for; what he was most proud of. Breitbart defiantly rejected calls for civility, and when he was challenged to apologize for outrageous statements, he famously responded by barking back, “Apologize for what!” So how did Fox Nation report this news?
Presumably the Fox Nationalists don’t think that Matt Taibbi is well enough known to carry a hit piece on his own. So they dressed it up with one of their favorite, and most childish insults – to refer to comedian Bill Maher as “Pig” Maher. But some pimply-faced editor still didn’t think that was enough, so they added a reference to the evil home of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, NBC. Neither Maher nor NBC had anything to do with this story. Even the source article to which Fox Nation linked, from the uber-conservative NewsBusters, made no mention of these innocent bystanders. In fact the NewsBusters, while still incensed by Taibbi’s language, acknowledged a certain appropriateness. In their opening paragraph they say…
“I almost hate to draw attention to this incredibly sad example of the intolerant left over at Rolling Stone, but quite frankly, Andrew Breitbart probably would have eaten this up, and tweeted it back out.”
That’s absolutely true. Breitbart even tweeted back out a criticism of him that I sent just last week:
As I, and many others have noted, Breitbart would have been the first to proudly speak ill of the dead. On the day that Sen. Ted Kennedy died. Breitbart tweeted“Rest in Chappaquiddick.” He followed that up with several other disgraceful remarks that, unlike Taibbi, he could not frame as being tributes to the decedent.
Which brings us back to Fox Nation’s utterly unrelated assaults in their story’s headline. The inclusion of Maher and NBC was wholly the idea of Fox, and it really demonstrates how embarrassingly infantile the Fox Nationalists are. It’s bad enough that Fox is a netowrk that has no regard for the truth, but do they also have to embrace such brazenly immature rhetoric while they are lying?
The pugnacious proprietor of the conservative collection of “Big” blogs (BigGovernment, BigJournalism, etc.), Andrew Breitbart, passed away last night while walking near his home in Los Angeles. At 43 years old this can be described as nothing less than shocking and a tragic blow to his family, including four young children.
I never met Breitbart but, in some distant respect, I knew him via his work and my study of his consuming mission to assault and/or reform the American media. We have that in common. However, it is a shallow connection as we probably would disagree on every matter of media and politics that might arise. Breitbart wrote in his autobiography, “Righteous Indignation” (See my review here), that…
“The biggest point I wanted to make was one I’m still making: Hollywood is more important than Washington. It can’t be overstated how important this message is: the pop culture matters.”
That was a view that he carried into almost every aspect of his work. He was a fierce practitioner of publicity stunts and relished opportunities to perform a sort of media jiu jitsu wherein the force of the press was deviously turned against itself. Who can forget the hijacking of the press conference that was called by former congressman Anthony Weiner by Breitbart, who commandeered the podium prior to Weiner’s arrival? Breitbart took questions from the assembled reporters as if it were his own press conference.
I originally created this image to portray Breitbart negatively, but today let it stand for what the character ultimately represented: Courage.
There is no cause of death being reported at this time, however, Breitbart was known to have heart problems. If true, there is a lesson here in that Breitbart was also well known for his hard-drinking lifestyle, which is not recommended for people with bad hearts. Our health is a treasure that we should all take care to preserve because our lives belong to more than just ourselves. Ask Breitbart’s widow, Susie. If you drink excessively, or smoke tobacco, or subsist on junk food, this would be a good time to reassess your priorities. You owe it to every person that loves you.
On days like this the animus of adversaries is subordinate to the reflection on a broader fate that all of us share. Breitbart’s passing is a deeply personal and somber event for those who cared about him, and their grief is deserving of respect. There will always be another day to lock horns in the battles we wage over the issues we mortals regard as significant, but significance, as it turns out, can be relative. For now I send my condolences and best wishes to his family, and hope that they can soon manage to find more gratitude for the time they had together than grief in their loss.
[Update] Michelle Malkin (among others) is making a fuss about some random “lefty” Tweets that are less than civil about the news of Breitbart’s passing. It is unfortunate (and disgusting) that she is exploiting this family’s tragedy for her political agenda. I don’t want to get into a debate with her, but when 99% of the left has been respectful, including Shirley Sherrod, David Shuster, Josh Marshall (TPM), Eric Boehlert (MMfA), and more, Malkin’s grousing is just plain sick. And besides, she might want to look back and see how Breitbart dealt with the death of another public figure, Ted Kennedy:
And he later Tweeted“Why do you grant a BULLY special status upon his death?” Breitbart is fortunate that his critics have more grace than he did. And Malkin, and the other rightist tools trying to turn this into a partisan brawl, should STFU. At least for a day or two.
There is a news report today that is raising the question of whether or not crocumentary videographer James O’Keefe is a felon and a rapist. The question has risen from the announcement by O’Keefe that he is suing the CurrentTV network, Keith Olbermann, and David Shuster over remarks allegedly made about allegations that he is a felon and a rapist.
What we already know about O’Keefe is that he is a liar and a convicted criminal. The videos he has produced over the past couple of years have invariably been proven to have been deceptively edited to reflect negatively on his victims.
He misrepresented himself in his ACORN videos as having entered ACORN offices dressed outlandishly as a pimp. It was later revealed that he never did so. He also cut out segments of his videos that showed his victims challenging him and he failed to disclose that some of his victims had even reported him to the police.
His NPR sting was so incompetently constructed that Glenn Beck’s web site (yes, that Glenn Beck) took it apart. The altered video was again selectively edited and this time even included replacing audio in parts with audio from other parts.
Then there is affair where O’Keefe attempted to lure a CNN reporter into a juvenile and salacious prank aboard his “love boat” that was designed to embarrass the reporter and the network. This stunt was so misguided that his own accomplice blew the whistle because she couldn’t go through with it.
His most recent escapade involved an attempt to demonstrate the ease with which one can cast a fraudulent vote. However, the only fraudulent activity he revealed was that of his own activities. He utterly failed to show that any voting fraud had or could occur using the methods he employed. But the use of those methods as captured in his video may have been illegal.
So now O’Keefe has filed a lawsuit alleging that he was been defamed by CurrentTV, Olbermann, and Shuster. The complaint cites instances of his having allegedly been referred to as a felon and a rapist.
The felon charge stems from his conviction in Louisiana for shenanigans in the office of Senator Mary Landrieu. O’Keefe and his cohorts entered the office dressed as telephone repairmen and asked to inspect the Senator’s phones. They were subsequently arrested and O’Keefe pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of entering a federal building under false pretenses. So technically he is not a felon, which Shuster acknowledged and corrected. But he is still a convicted criminal and only avoided a felony record by pleading to a lesser crime.
The rape charge is a misstatement of events wherein O’Keefe was accused by a colleague of harassment in a case that included allegations of possible drugging. The case was dismissed due to jurisdictional issues, but could be reinstated in another court.
So was O’Keefe facing a rape charge? No, he was facing harassment charges. Was he a convicted felon? Not quite, but almost. And for this he is filing a defamation lawsuit. The man who has taken defamation to new levels of repulsiveness is so incensed at these affronts that he is willing to drag himself through the mud and remind everyone of his disgusting behavior.
Can you just picture his testimony? Can you see him on the stand asserting that he is not a felon because he was only convicted of a misdemeanor in a federal office? Can you hear his defense saying that he never faced rape charges, just charges that he held a woman against her will, possibly drugged her, and then threatened her and disparaged her in words and video?
The documents filed with the court go into lurid detail of his encounter with a female colleague and his criminal activity in Sen. Landrieu’s office. If anything, reading the entire complaint proves to me that there could not have been any defamation that was injurious to his reputation because his reputation is that of a scoundrel. To this day, the only persons ever convicted of any wrongdoing as a result of any of the video pranks O’Keefe has conducted are O’Keefe and his accomplices. And there is still other litigation against him pending.
Does O’Keefe really think that he has any chance of prevailing in court where he has to prove that the allegedly injurious statements were made with actual malice? Some of his complaints are merely misstatements, such as the charge that he was on parole. In fact, he was (and is) on probation, and it is highly unlikely that O’Keefe can prove that the use of the word “parole” was deliberate and intended to due him harm. Yet he is taking an aggressive stance in response to these trivialities despite the fact that doing so only exposes him to more bad publicity and coverage of his disgraceful antics and tawdry character. In a statement to his pals at Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism blog, O’Keefe said…
“I welcome criticism and even misguided hatred. But, if they call me a felon, if they call me a rapist, or any other disgusting, libelous, ridiculous thing, I will bring them into a courtroom, I will depose them, I will get access to their e-mails. I don’t care how many golden statues they have, I don’t care how many Emmies, Pulitzers they have. We will bring them to justice.”
That’s a fair amount of pseudo-bravado for someone who couldn’t even measure up to Glenn Beck’s ethical standards. But the material revelation in his statement is that he actually welcomes all of this, misguided hatred and all. He clearly enjoys being called a felon and a rapist. And he doesn’t even care if you’re Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep. The orgasmic thrill he gets just thinking about depositions and access to your email is palpable. So go ahead and call O’Keefe a felon and a rapist. It’s what he yearns for. And although he may not be a felon and a rapist now, I have every confidence that he will someday achieve his life’s ambition.
The chronically choleric Andrew Breitbart is well known for his histrionics and hyperactive bluster. One need look no further than his recent psychotic tirade aimed at Occupy protesters in Washington, whom he castigated as rapists and murders, to understand the depths of his dementia.
On his BigGovernment blog yesterday, Breitbart uncovered a disturbing conspiracy involving David Brock, the founder of Media Matters. Apparently a photograph of him that was published in a 1997 issue of Esquire Magazine was allegedly scrubbed from the Internet with the help of co-conspirators at Google – and probably George Soros, ACORN, Sesame Street, and, of course, the White House.
Breitbart is convinced that, because he can’t find an online copy of a picture from a fifteen year old magazine, he has stumbled onto a liberal media attempt to rewrite history. What is it that Brock would be trying to hide by suppressing this (rather interesting and artful) photograph? Breitbart is attaching some profound significance to this picture that most other observers would simply regard as photographic melodrama – the sort that commonly appears in culture pimping publications like Esquire.
To hear Breitbart tell it, this photo depicts “an otherwise boring political subject [who] is happy to take off his clothes and tie himself to a tree in the name of fighting the VRWC [vast right-wing conspiracy].” Breitbart exclaims “What narcissism! What delusions of grandeur!” And he asks “Who else takes a homoerotic picture Fabio-style and tied to a tree?” He is proud of himself for rediscovering this photo “with all its narcissism and desire for fame, adulation and martyrdom.” If I didn’t know any better I might have thought that Breitbart was referring to his own adventures in periodic pictorials. Here is Breitbart in the March 2010 issue of Time Magazine:
Andrew Breitbart: Booze, Bath, And Beyond
What narcissism! What delusions of grandeur! Who else takes a homoerotic picture, naked in a bubble bath, in the name of fighting the VLWC? Breitbart’s hypocrisy is only matched by his conceit. For a raving egotist like Breitbart to accuse others of narcissism takes mega doses of chutzpah. Breitbart is so self-involved that he wrote in his biography (see my review) that “I didn’t want to react to the news at all. I wanted to be the news.” And he has succeeded in that ambition in the most embarrassing sense. Like the dweeb who repeatedly slips on a banana peel, Breitbart has become famous for falling on his ass over and over again. He’s a one-man Three Stooges.
[By the way, If you try to search for that photo of Breitbart on Google you will have great difficulty finding anything other than one or two blog postings. And this photo is only two years old. It must be some sort of conspiracy between Breitbart, Time Warner, and the Koch brothers to suppress such an unflattering and nausea-inducing portrait. Come to think of it, it may be a public service.]
If that isn’t enough, Breitbart says of Brock that “Only in a world without opposition can Brock be safe—so he must destroy it.” Breitbart offers no support for that statement. On the other hand, Breitbart’s destructive tendencies are well documented. He once swore to “bring down the institutional left” in three weeks. That was over two years ago so I’m assuming the institutional left doesn’t have much to worry about at this point. In his biography, Breitbart also maligned the faction of the media that he regards as his opposition as worse than Al Qaeda.
Like all of the other critics of Brock and Media Matters, Breitbart leaves one thing out of his extended diatribe: Any evidence that Brock has done anything untoward, unscrupulous, or unprincipled. Media Matters is a resource for documented conservative bias in the media, often without editorializing. But Breitbart makes a big show of personal attacks without bothering to provide a single example of any wrongdoing on the part of his victim. He is a relentless smear-monger who has no respect for the truth.
Breitbart also has no respect for people who have just eaten. And on that point I would like to apologize for having posted that photo of him bathing. I felt it was my journalistic responsibility, but I now regret the subsequent gastrointestinal distress it may have caused some readers.
As if Andrew Breitbart’s performance before some Occupy protesters wasn’t pathetic enough, the terminally choleric pundit delivered an incoherent rant from the CPAC podium. He spent much of the time rambling in sentence fragments, struggling to make sense. But one portion of his speech teased what may be his next video crusade. And, no, I’m not talking about the hilariously twisted “Hating Breitbart” documentary that was announced at the conference. I’m referring to Breitbart’s tantalizing claim to have unearthed videos of President Obama in college.
“I have videos. This election we’re going to vet him from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008. The videos are going to come out, the narrative is going to come out, that Barack Obama met a bunch of silver ponytails in the 1980s, like Bill (Ayers) and Bernadine Dohrn, who said one day we would have the presidency, and the rest of us slept as they plotted.”
OMG! Obama in college plotting with Ayers to become president. That’s blockbuster material. I can just picture it: A twenty year old Obama meeting with the middle-aged Ayers, drafting a scheme that would see Obama elected to the presidency thirty years later. What foresight and commitment they must have had. Especially since they never met until long after Obama graduated from Harvard Law and eventually moved to Chicago where Ayers lived.
It is also interesting that Breitbart would characterize his comrades on the right as sleeping through the eighties. You know, the eighties when Ronald Reagan was president and conservatism was at its peak. That would explain a lot, like how Reagan got elected president in the first place. Little did they know that liberals were holed up conspiring to take over the free world – thirty years in the future – by electing a black man with no birth certificate to the presidency. A brilliant plan that couldn’t possibly fail. It makes you wonder if there might not be a young, undocumented, Mexican atheist currently putting together a plan with billionaire drug lords to occupy the White House in 2040.
For Breitbart to make these allegations involving Bill Ayers is curious since he just attended a dinner party thrown by Ayers a few days ago. Breitbart was invited to the party by Tucker Carlson who paid $2,500 in a charity auction to have dinner with Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn. Breitbart, ever the gracious guest, told Eric Bolling on the Fox Business Network (whose show was just canceled) that Ayers was a great conversationalist, an incredible chef, and a sociopath.
Another guest for dinner, Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard, posted his recollections of the affair with a distinct and buoyant whine about not having had enough time to harangue his hosts. He ate their food (personally prepared by Ayers), drank their wine, and enjoyed a scrumptious desert of apple pie topped with Ben & Jerry’s AmeriCone Dream (the flavor inspired by Stephen Colbert). But apparently two hours and a free gourmet meal is not deserving of appreciation. How rude of the Ayers’ not to take a seat in the dunking booth and allow their rightist guests to harass them for another hour or two about things they did forty years ago.
Which brings us back to the videos that Breitbart claims to have in his possession. If they are anything like the videos he has released in the past, we can be assured that they will utterly lack any truthful representation of events. Like the ACORN videos that were deliberately edited to create false and negative impressions of people who were unselfishly helping low income citizens to vote and find housing for their families. Like the Shirley Sherrod video that was cut to make her look like a racist when the the whole, unedited video proved just the opposite. Breitbart’s history with video exposes is a cavalcade of conscious deceit.
I have doubts that any videos of Obama’s college years will ever actually be released, but if they are it seems unlikely that they will have any relevance this many years later. Breitbart once famously declared that he would “take down the institutional left” in three weeks. That was two years ago. He’s a radioactive bundle of bluster and petulant anger. And even though he has threatened his liberal enemies saying that “We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns”, I’m not losing any sleep over it.
Every year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) there are demonstrations of ludicrous and hateful behavior by the nation’s rightist luminaries. Already this year we have seen three of the candidates for the Republican nomination for president take the stage to throw red meat invectives at President Obama and other Democrats, to the delight of the ravenous crowd.
But nothing has yet come close to the maniacal tantrum thrown by Internet mogul wannabe, Andrew Breitbart. And it was all caught on tape:
Breitbart often tries to present himself as someone who wants to be taken seriously by the media. He thinks he is a credible journalist and media critic. But his behavior belies even the notion that he is mentally stable. By repeating incessantly, at high decibels, his demand that Occupy protesters behave themselves, he is not exactly a model of civil behavior. But then he escalates his tirade to inexplicably accuse the protesters of rape and murder. He becomes so completely unhinged that security guards intervene to remove him from the scene.
It boggles the mind that so-called respectable news networks provide Breitbart with a platform to spew his bile. When CNN, for instance, puts him on the air they are validating him as a credible commentator, despite his resume that is replete with hostility and brazen dishonesty. This latest episode of frenzied derangement ought to put an end to his media exploitation but, unfortunately, that will probably not be the case. Too many media executives (like CNN’s Ken Jautz) are more concerned with ratings generating controversy than they are with professionalism or journalistic ethics.
This week a disturbing story emerged from Afghanistan in the form of a video of U.S. Marines urinating on the corpses of Afghans presumed to be members of the Taliban. Such behavior is repulsive and contrary to the standards of the Marine Corps. The acts portrayed in the video have been condemned by the highest representatives of the military.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: I have seen the footage, and I find the behavior depicted in it utterly deplorable. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey: Actions like those are not only illegal but are contrary to the values of a professional military and serve to erode the reputation of our joint force.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos:[The behavior is] wholly inconsistent with the high standards of conduct and warrior ethos that we have demonstrated throughout our history.
Nevertheless, CNN contributor Dana Loesch (who is also a Tea Party leader and the editor-in-chief of Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism) took to the air to exacerbate the offense and defend the soldiers saying…
“Now we have a bunch of progressives that are talking smack about our military because there were marines caught urinating on corpses, Taliban corpses. Can someone explain to me if there’s supposed to be a scandal that someone pees on the corpse of a Taliban fighter? Someone who, as part of an organization, murdered over 3,000 Americans? I’d drop trou and do it too. That’s me though. I want a million cool points for these guys.”
The subsequent controversy erupting from Loesch’s offensive remarks has generated a secondary controversy centered on the appropriate role of news analysts and the lines drawn for decency and civil discourse. Loesch, in a tacit acknowledgement that her comments crossed the line, sought to defend herself by claiming that she was not condoning the Marines, but ridiculing the media response. But the dishonesty of that excuse is apparent just by re-reading her statement. She explicitly says that she would do the same thing the Marines did and praises them for being “cool.” If that isn’t condoning the behavior, what is?
Loesch’s web site, BigJournalism has gone to work to absolve her sins, not by demonstrating that her comments were appropriate, but by attacking anyone who criticized her. They started with Politico, a news operation started by unabashed conservative journalists, and tagged them as leftists because of their article that merely reported that the controversy exists. John Nolte, editor-in-chief of Breitbart’s BigHollywood, desperately stretched to imply a bias by Politico because the article included this:
“I’ve reached out to CNN to ask for their response to Loesch’s comments, and whether or not it will have any impact on her role at CNN.” Nolte’s emphasis.
Most people would regard that as a standard inquiry in a situation where a news analyst’s big mouth got them in hot water. From there Nolte descended into an hysterical rant that accused Politico of “pushing to have Dana taken off the air or punished.” And he escalated that nonsense to claim that Politico had an even bigger agenda to “marginalize” and “silence” Loesch. The conspiracy in Nolte’s mind extended all the way to George Soros, as all conservative conspiracies do. And the entirety of this clandestine plot was drawn from Politico’s perfectly reasonable and responsible desire to get a response from CNN.
Another Breitbart hack, Dan Riehl, weighed in on the subject to accuse Media Matters of being…
“…fixated on a mission to try and silence the free speech of Big Journalism editor Dana Loesch, while also engaging upon a campaign to somehow damage her with CNN.”
Riehl’s evidence is an article by Media Matters that correctly observes that Loesch’s comments were Too Extreme For Rush Limbaugh. Riehl disputes that assessment mainly by changing the subject. He utterly ignores the fact that Limbaugh, with reference to the Marines, said explicitly that “There’s no defense of this.” But Riehl peels away from that fact to post a rambling quote from Tea Party Republican Allen West that also advocates punishing the Marines and says outright that “The Marines were wrong.” It appears that the fixation is on Riehl’s part to avoid the reality that the behavior of these particular soldiers was indefensible to almost everyone but Loesch.
As for Loesch, her own defense that she published on BigJournalism was an incoherent jumble of phony patriotism and self-aggrandizement. Her primary argument was that…
“There is a difference in advocating for the Marines to break the law, which I didn’t do, and defending them from overly-dramatic hysteria.”
Of course, defending them is precisely what she did. Even to the point of declaring that she would have “dropped trou” and joined them (which I’m sure they would have loved). Nevertheless, she contradicts herself a few paragraphs down by stating that “I won’t condemn American soldiers on the battlefield.” Not even, apparently, when they engage in condemnable acts that their commanders have no problem condemning.
The triumvirate of Loesch, Riehl, and Nolte, all touched on what they regard as an underlying evil aimed at Loesch and conservatives in general. They are convinced that any criticism they incur is an attempt to silence them. Ironically, they call for such criticism to be silenced. Conservatives believe that free speech is sacrosanct exempt when exercised by liberals. Consequently, any critique of Loesch is viewed by rightists as akin to censorship.
It is, however, perfectly appropriate to question news analysts who engage in a dialogue that advocates unlawful acts in the conduct of a war. CNN should take the responsible steps to review incidents wherein contributors bring disrepute to their network. But I don’t anticipate that they will. The current head of CNN, Ken Jautz, is the hack who gave Glenn Beck his first job on television. He also recently hired Beck associate Will Cain. These two uber-rightists share the air with CNN contributor Erick Erickson, who called former Supreme Court Justice David Souter a “goat-fucking child molester.” And it was under Jautz that CNN partnered with the corrupt AstroTurf PR firm, Tea Party Express, to host a GOP debate.
The hard-right turn that CNN has taken has landed them squarely in third place. And that decline is due in large part to people like Loesch. The American people are not looking for this kind of substanceless, bombastic, hate-speech from their news sources. They can get that from Fox News. And if anyone’s job should be in jeoprady, it is the person at the helm, Ken Jautz.
Last week Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment published an unintentionally hilarious column that sought to offer Democratic alternatives to President Obama. The choices included non-Democrats like Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and Independent senator Joe Lieberman.
Not content to embarrass himself with his incoherent analysis of Democratic politics, the author and editor of Breitbart.com, Joel Pollak, followed up the story this week with even less plausible suggestions for his own Republican Party. Pollak advocates for a brokered convention that would nominate a candidate not currently in the field. He runs down the GOP wish list of familiar names like Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie, and threw in some of the most unpopular characters the Republicans have ever hatched like Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint, and Paul Ryan. These folks might get the Tea Party extremists sweaty, but they would alienate the general public to an unprecedented degree. However, Pollak saved his top recommendations for last, and they are doozies.
Pollak’s number two choice for president is one of the nation’s most ridiculed and disrespected politicians, Sarah Palin. Despite starring in a documentary bomb, ironically titled “The Undefeated,” Palin has a resume chock full of defeat. She bailed out of her governorship half way through her first term. She lost the 2008 vice-presidential campaign and is credited with having been responsible for the fall of the ticket. Her book sales have been declining with each new release. Her canceled Alaska tourism program on TLC lost viewers almost every week it aired. She is currently trying to pitch a new TV show featuring her husband’s snowmobile exploits, but no one is biting. When Republicans are polled as to whether they want her to run for president, majorities say unequivocally NO! So of course, she’s the perfect candidate.
Well, almost perfect. Palin was, after all, Pollak’s second choice. So who could Pollak come up with that would surpass Palin’s extraordinary credentials? He would have to dig deep to uncover someone even more ludicrous than Palin. And Pollak does not disappoint when he reveals his first choice, the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker.
There may be no politician in America who is more reviled by average citizens and working families. Scott Walker is renowned for his arrogant attempts to roll back collective bargaining rights that were in effect for decades. He managed to anger nurses and firefighters, and even his own police departments, as he battled for lower wages, pensions, and budgets that would mandate extensive and dangerous layoffs. His state has lost jobs for five consecutive months as job creation grew nationally. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics place Wisconsin last in the nation.
But the biggest obstacle to Walker being drafted for a presidential run is that he is about to be recalled. The organizers of the campaign to recall Walker have already announced that in less than half the allotted time they have over 500,000 of the 540,000 signatures required for a recall election. Walker’s popularity in the state is abysmal and his prospects for fending off the recall are, let’s say challenging. Earlier this year Democrats successfully recalled two of Walker’s Republican legislative allies.
The notion of a brokered GOP convention is music to the ears of Democrats. It’s an admission that the candidates put forth so far are inadequate to the job. Should one of them prevail in such an environment they would emerge greatly weakened. Should a new name emerge, it would be someone that did not endure the primary process of vetting that is so critical to assessing the viability of a candidate. Imagine if any of the previous Republican frontrunners (Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Trump) had been selected by acclamation in a brokered convention. They would have been quickly dispensed with in the general election because their obvious flaws would not have been revealed until it was too late. That will surely be the fate of any of the candidates that Pollak is setting up now.
So I wish him well. I completely agree with his choices. It would bring me great pleasure if Walker or Palin or Christie or DeMint were thrust to the head of the line and were chosen to face Obama in the general election. Obama has some very real hurdles to overcome in his quest for another term. The economy has to continue to show signs of improvement. Unemployment has to keep going down. And any number of international hotspots need to be carefully managed in order to avoid tragic flareups. But the most consistently positive advantage that Barack Obama has over his prospective opponents is that he is running against the sort of contemporary Republicans that have lost all semblance of sanity. How lucky can a guy get?