The chronically choleric Andrew Breitbart has published an amusing speculation as to who the Democratic Party could field for president instead of Obama. This is really just an attempt by BigGovernment to sow new discord among the unusually united Democrats.
The article was written by Joel Pollak, the editor-in-chief of Breitbart.com, and features a roster of barely Democratic names who are arguably more conservative than many Republicans (i.e. Harold Ford and Joe Manchin). It also includes a couple of Democrats that would be bitterly opposed by the BigGovernment crowd if there were any real chance of them running (i.e. Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo). However, two names stand out for their surreal presence on any list of of reputed Democrats.
First is the anchor of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace. Pollak’s basis for including Wallace on a list of Democrats is a five year old article in the Washington Post that reported that Wallace was a registered Democrat. Unfortunately, Pollak didn’t read the whole article that quoted Wallace as saying…
“The reason I’m a registered Democrat is that in Washington, D.C., there is really only one party,” Wallace told us yesterday. “If you want a say in who’s going to be the next mayor or councilman, you have to vote in the Democratic primary.”
So Wallace’s registration is just his way of being able to influence the outcome of primary elections for a party that he opposes. We know that he opposes the Democrats because of the way speaks about them publicly and slants his reporting. For instance…
Asking the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes “is it unfair to say that this is a president whose heart doesn’t seem to be into winning the war on terror?”
Asking Rush Limbaugh what Obama has done TO the country.
Awarding ACORN pimp, James O’Keefe, the “Power Player of the Week.”
Calling Democrats “damn fools” for declining to appear on Fox News.
[My favorite] Admitting that he “generally agrees” with Sean Hannity.
Jumping to the defense of George W. Bush after director Ron Howard suggested comparisons to Richard Nixon.
Declaring Sarah Palin to be a “new star in the political galaxy.”
Asking George Bush if he was “puzzled by all of the concern in this country about protecting [the] rights of people who want to kill us.”
In a criticism of Democratic health care plans, making the absurd observation that “people don’t even contemplate end of life until they’re in an irreversible coma.”
Never mind that Wallace has no experience in politics or government, and has never run any enterprise that might prepare him to be the manager of an Olive Garden, much less the presidency.
But the number one Democratic choice by the BigGovernment editor to replace Barack Obama is —-> Sen. Joe Lieberman – who is NOT a Democrat. Lieberman was run out of the Democratic Party by the voters of his own state who chose Ned Lamont in a senate primary. Lieberman’s ego refused to step aside, so he ran as an independent and was returned to the senate by a majority of Republican voters who abandoned their own nominee in favor of Lieberman.
Pollak’s article is a joke that has failed to inject a sense of humor. It is his effort to distract Breitbart’s flock so that they don’t focus on the hilarity of their own cast of characters running for the GOP nomination. I don’t blame him. If Democrats were running a pack clowns like those in the GOP, I’d want a distraction too.
Right-wing propagandist, Andrew Breitbart, has jumped feet first into the battle against the wealthy 1%ers. Known primarily as a mouthpiece for the conservative elite and Republican power mongers, Breitbart is now attacking someone for having attained a comfortable lifestyle amongst the upper crusties.
Breitbart sent his stalkers to photograph what he calls the “vacation mansion” of this tycoon who is “so wealthy that he does not need to worry about his income,” and enjoys “the kind of luxurious summer home that 99 percent of Americans can only dream of owning.”
This scoop ranks highly amongst Breitbart’s notorious journalistic accomplishments. He is the media patron of video lie-ographer James O’Keefe. He is the perpetrator of the libel that got Shirley Sherrod fired from her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He orchestrated the campaign against former congressman Anthony Weiner. Most recently he published stolen emails and attempted to recruit his readers to find material to embarrass the Occupy Wall Street movement (he failed to turn up anything).
And now Breitbart has launched an attack against a successful American entrepreneur for having the audacity to spend lavishly from his own earnings. It may be surprising to hear Breitbart staking out this position that seems to align with the views of the 99% of the nation that is protesting the economic inequities in our system. But it is less surprising when you know that the target of Breitbart’s ire is filmmaker Michael Moore. In an effort to soft-pedal his criticism, Breitbart dials back his outrage to assert that…
“No one begrudges Moore his wealth, but it is deceitful for him to claim poverty while encouraging class warfare among other Americans. It is also purely narcissistic and selfish for Moore to back radical and destructive socialist policies that would deny other Americans the opportunity to become as rich as he is.”
Despite his assertion, Breitbart is explicitly begrudging Moore his wealth. His clear implication is that Moore is a hypocrite. But the 99% movement has never been about opposition to financial success. It’s about opposition to corruption, and the undue seizure of power. Contrary to Breitbart’s brazen lie, Moore never claimed poverty. He openly acknowledges his success, for which he is unreservedly grateful. And he does not advocate class warfare. Like the rest of those in the Occupy movement, he merely seeks fairness and an economic environment that allows everyone to prosper. And he understands that democracy is best served when all the people’s voices are heard, not just the barons who bankroll elections.
Conservatives are all for the free market and the accumulation of wealth so long as as the recipient is an approved member of their club. When someone like Moore, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates, or Al Gore, or many other millionaires, speak out on behalf of those with lesser fortunes, people like Breitbart just can’t figure it out. These folks are not declaring war against themselves. They recognize the greater economic benefits of a society that offers affluence to all. It enhances their own financial prospects and makes the country stronger.
But it will always be anathema to the Breitbarts of the world who yearn for exclusivity amongst their ranks. God forbid they might have to rub elbows with the riff-raff. And that’s why Breitbart is reduced to stunts like peering over the hedges of well-off folks that he doesn’t happen to like. If that seems creepy to you, then you are a good judge of character.
This never fails to brighten my day. Some right-wingers are so stupid they don’t even know they are refuting their own positions with some of the attempted slander they present.
Today Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment (notoriously stupid to begin with) posted an interview of an Occupy Wall Street protester. She was prodded about reports of malfeasance on the part of the Occupy movement or some of its participants. The purpose being to smear the protest movement with phony allegations and rumors. The result was an article with the headline: ACORN Front Group Pays Homeless People ‘$10 a Hour, $100 a Day’ to Protest at Occupy Wall Street.
The only problem is that the woman in the video did not say that the allegedly hired homeless persons were paid to be protesters. What she said was…
“I know some people, homeless people, are getting paid to come here and mess things up.”
So her actual charge is that they were provocateurs hired to disrupt the protest, not to support it. She seemed earnest and well-meaning, but somewhat ill-informed in that her comments appeared to conflate reports of paid instigators with unrelated reports of ACORN hiring protesters. The ACORN story itself was obvious propaganda which I debunked last week. The absurd assertions of Fox News and others painted a picture of a bankrupt and disbanded non-profit group shelling out a quarter of a million dollars for extras to populate the scene at Zucotti Park.
As further evidence of the confusion of the woman in the video, her story didn’t even make sense. Why would ACORN pay people to disrupt a protest that they presumably supported? Anyone who has watched the news the past few weeks would have readily recognized the flaws in her comments and reputable journalists would not have used them, at least not without attempting get a clarification. But that doesn’t stop the rocket scientists at BigGovernment who saw fit to post this interview anyway. Never mind that it fingered the Occupy movement’s opponents as saboteurs and dirty tricksters. What’s more, it revealed that Breitbart’s prior efforts to miscast the Occupiers as shills was a lie. If this woman is to be believed, it was Breitbart’s side that were the shills. And she very likely got her misinformation (the ACORN nonsense) from “news” reported by Breitbart.
Despite the frequency with which right-wingers make themselves look like fools, it still astonishes me when they do so. And they even manage to escalate the flamboyancy of their blockheadedness with each new incident. With all the turmoil and tribulation in the world these days, I suppose I should grateful for the little bit of cheer they bring to my life. There really is nothing I enjoy more than when my ideological opponents show up for a debate with big, red, rubber noses and clown shoes.
The last time Andrew Breitbart got any significant notice in the media was when he publicized the Twitter sexting of former congressman Anthony Weiner. It was a particularly repulsive bit of gossipy sensationalism that furthered no public interest, but ruined a man’s career (and possibly his family), just to satisfy Breitbart’s craving for attention and his obsession with destroying what he calls “the institutional left.”
That was four months ago and Breitbart must be getting antsy about having been ignored by the press ever since. Now, on his BigGoverment web site, he has published an article asking his readers to comb through thousands of emails that he says are from OccupyWallStreet organizers. He claims to have acquired them from Thomas Ryan, a “private cyber security researcher.” Breitbart provides links to download these emails so that his minions can scour them for evidence of “links to socialist, anarchist, and possibly even jihadist organizations.”
It’s not bad enough that right-wing media have attempted to portray the Occupy Movement as dirty hippies, lazy freeloaders, ignorant dupes, leftist traitors, godless heathens, diabolical Marxists, violent revolutionaries, and White House plants, Breitbart is adding Al-Qaeda terrorists to this list. If it wasn’t so dangerously provocative it would be moderately humorous. But Breitbart’s accusations are irresponsible and his activities may be illegal. The first paragraph of the story says…
Breitbart: “In keeping with the new media notion of crowdsourcing–enthusiastically embraced by the mainstream media when trawling through Sarah Palin’s emails–Big Government will be providing readers later today with links to a document drop consisting of thousands of emails.”
The correlation Breitbart draws between these emails and those of Sarah Palin is entirely inapplicable. Palin’s emails as governor of Alaska were released through a lawful process that requires communications by government officials to be available to the public. Both the state of Alaska and Palin’s attorneys had an opportunity to examine the emails for any privacy concerns and neither expressed any objection to their release.
Breitbart, however, is publishing emails that were expressly created by individuals for their personal use. They were private communications amongst people who did not grant their publication and were not advised of it. The emails were literally stolen by a hacker who admits that he gained access to them through deception and misrepresentation (social engineering). And Breitbart is now complicit in the crime by publishing the ill-gotten goods with full knowledge of their origins.
[Update:Gawker has more on Thomas Ryan and his "Black Cell" campaign to infiltrate and discredit the movement. Ryan's activities include forwarding emails to the FBI, the NYPD, and companies targeted for protests.]
Anyone familiar with Breitbart’s Legacy of Sleaze will not be surprised by this latest atrocity. He previously was best known for unfairly smearing ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, and others, with videos that were deliberately edited to produce a false and negative impression.
It should be noted that, thus far, none of the emails that Breitbart or his lackeys have reviewed contain anything remotely embarrassing. That, however, hasn’t stopped him from lifting words like “destabalization” and “unrest” out of context to suggest something more devious than the public protesting that is protected by the Constitution. Breitbart will surely employ such tactics to demonize the movement, just as he did with his attacks on ACORN, etc. It’s hard-coded in his deviant nature.
Even if there are some unsavory comments sprinkled amongst the thousands of emails, they could not plausibly be attributed to the Occupy Movement as a whole because the movement has no leader or authoritative spokesperson. It would just be one person’s opinion. The possibility that someone in a group of passionate dissidents wrote something offensive is not inconceivable. But it is also not official doctrine and cannot honestly be represented as such. The key word there being “honestly.” If Breitbart finds something controversial he will no doubt try to tarnish the movement with the indiscreet remarks of a single, marginally associated individual.
In the telling of this story it must not be forgotten that the emails being reviewed by Breitbart & Co. were obtained in manner that is at least immoral. And this isn’t the only example of such despicable, and possibly unlawful, behavior on the part of right-wing activists.
Patrick Howley, an assistant editor for the uber-conservative American Spectator magazine, admitted to infiltrating OccupyDC for the purpose of undermining it. He then attempted to lead a group of protesters into storming the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. The protesters, being much smarter than Howley, did not play along. Howley stormed the museum alone and was pepper-sprayed by security.
Mark Williams, former spokesman for Tea Party Express, told his radio listeners that he was planning to sabotage union rallies with the intention of making them look “greedy and goonish.” And he beseeched his listeners to do the same. Williams was the one-time spokesperson for the Tea Party Express, but was dismissed for publishing a virulently racist article on his blog.
Mike Vanderboegh, a militiaman from Alabama, encouraged his followers to break the windows of Democratic offices with rocks and baseball bats. More recently Vanderboegh published a Photoshopped picture of Attorney General Eric Holder in a Nazi uniform.
Rush Limbaugh delivered a radio sermon in which he called for riots at the Democratic National Convention. The rant was titled “Screw the World! Riot in Denver!” He was specific in describing his objective as “burning cars, protests, fires, literal riots, and all of that.”
This illustrates just how afraid the right is of the 99% of Americans who are waking up to the injustice and corruption of the 1%. They are increasingly fearful that their free ride is over. When people like Rush Limbaugh call the Wall Street protesters “human debris;” when Glenn Beck asserts that they “will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you;” it is all too clear that they have lost control of their senses. They are so deranged by fear that there is no limit to the absurdity of their claims and actions.
It also illustrates the sort of desperation that leaves the likes of Breitbart clinging to the hope that he can find damning rhetoric that he can misrepresent in emails that were illicitly acquired. And it isn’t going to end any time soon. This is something that progressives and occupiers are going to have to be aware of as the struggle proceeds. Vigilance of the conservative whack jobs and their media accomplices must be an ongoing focus of the campaign for economic justice.
In the fiercely competitive world of cable news, the players have been jockeying for position as they battle for viewers and advertisers. Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, each with their own models of programming, seek to gain scale and influence.
Fox News, we know, has established its place as the leader in right-wing advocacy and Republican PR. MSNBC, while not a full-fledged counter to Fox, has allotted a fair portion of its programming to more liberally leaning fare. But CNN, the innovator and one-time leader in cable news, has wavered between those poles emerging as somewhat of a journalistic mutant – neither left nor right nor neutral.
The past year, however, CNN has been attempting to fashion a more recognizable persona. The shift coincides with the promotion of Ken Jautz, formerly the president of CNN’s sister network, HLN. At HLN Jautz succeeded in raising both ratings and revenue by turning the channel into a trashy TV tabloid reliant on celebrity gossip and characters like Nancy Grace and Glenn Beck (yes, Jautz gave Beck his first job on television).
Now presiding over CNN, Jautz has brought his brash and distinctively commercial style to the network that once aspired to be a model of journalistic integrity. He is employing the same sensationalist philosophy at CNN that brought him success at HLN, along with a decidedly conservative bent. In an interview he gave after his promotion was announced Jautz delivered a tribute to Fox News and a preview of what to expect from his tenure saying that he does not believe that “facts-only” programming will work. True to his word he has endeavored to give CNN a shiny Fox-like hue and assembled a team that shares his aversion to facts.
Here are some examples of the lowlights of the Jautz era at CNN:
1) First and foremost, Jautz brought Glenn Beck into the CNN family saying that “Glenn’s style is self-deprecating, cordial…not confrontational.” That sort of delusional analysis ought to have been a red flag that disqualified Jautz from running a news network.
2) Erick Erickson, the RedState blogger who once called Supreme Court Justice David Souter a Goat-f**king child molester, became a CNN political commentator. Since his hiring he has cheered the S&P’s downgrading of the U.S. credit rating and agreed with Rick Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.
3) CNN signed Dana Loesch, the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism, to be a contributor. Loesch has alleged that President Obama “sided with terrorists,” and she embraced the overt bigotry of notorious Islamaphobe Pamela Geller. Breitbart, of course is famous for promoting deceptively edited videos that smeared ACORN, NPR, Shirley Sherrod and even CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau. Loesch was hired by CNN after these events were widely known.
4) Jautz brought Erin Burnett over from CNBC. In her debut she broadcast a story that portrayed the protesters on Wall Street as unfocused neo-hippies that didn’t understand the issues they were protesting. Burnett would have fit in well on the curvy couch of Fox & Friends where they routinely disparage the movement without ever addressing the substance of it.
5) CNN had the distinction of being the only network to air Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party response to the State of the Union Address. Even Fox didn’t think it was worthy of live coverage. The result is that CNN had two opposing viewpoints to the President’s address, one from the GOP and one from the Tea Party which, of course, is just an affiliate of the GOP. We’re still waiting for CNN to air a response from the Progressive Caucus or MoveOn.org.
6) Another new CNN political analyst is Will Cain, who CNN acquired from the ultra-conservative National Review. And if that credential isn’t far enough out in right field, Cain just announced that he is joining Glenn Beck’s web site, The Blaze.
7) CNN locked arms with the Tea Party to co-host a Republican presidential primary debate. By choosing Tea Party Express as their partner they embraced a dubious organization that was booted out of the Tea Party Federation due to the racist commentaries of a spokesman. It was also revealed that most of the funds raised from donations wound up in the coffers of Russo, Marsh, the Republican PR firm that founded Tea Party Express.
8) Former Fox News anchor and Bill O’Reilly fill-in, E.D. Hill, is now a CNN contributor. Hill was dumped by Fox after a segment that showed President Obama giving the First Lady a friendly fist bump and Hill called it a “terrorist fist jab.”
So CNN is now employing Fox News rejects, Andrew Breitbart lieutenants, and Glenn Beck associates. They’ve entered into covenants with unscrupulous Tea Partyers. On the flip side, former CNN reporters Ed Henry and John Roberts are now comfortably ensconced at Fox News. The lines between CNN and Fox News are blurring to the point where the networks are becoming indistinguishable. And most of this occurred since Ken Jautz assumed the helm of CNN.
If there is one thing that American media doesn’t need, it’s another Fox News. The first one is already doing a stellar job of misinforming the public and advancing the agenda of the Republican Party. What’s more, emulating Fox has done nothing for CNN’s ratings. Why should it? Viewers who are in the market for dumbed-down histrionics, Democrat bashing, and a steady diet of right-wing falsehoods, already have a proven provider. Fox’s audience has shown that they are not the least bit interested in looking for the remote that slipped under the sofa years ago. They don’t even change the channel when their heroes are just a click down the dial.
Consequently, if CNN is gaining nothing from reshaping their editorial slant to mirror Fox, the only conclusion is that they are deliberately making a hard right turn because that is the direction they want to go. But this path has only resulted in their dropping to third place behind Fox and MSNBC. If CNN ever hopes to regain some of the luster of their glory days, they will need to differentiate themselves from Fox. They might want to take a stab at journalism. That would be novel in these days of advocacy tabloidism.
Last week’s tragedy in Norway has left the world stunned. The magnitude of the bloodbath is difficult to comprehend. As news of the massacre began to trickle out, speculation was rampant as to the perpetrator and the motive.
Not surprisingly, much of the early accounts falsely alleged an Al Qaeda connection. However, as facts started to infuse the reporting, it became clear that the suspect, Anders Breivik was an extremist, fundamentalist Christian, with harshly bigoted views toward Muslims, immigrants, and leftists. His manifesto resembled the ravings of Glenn Beck with talk of cultural Marxism and Islamic colonization. Yet even after Breivik’s motives were disclosed, the right-wing media has engaged in brazen finger-pointing and insensitivity toward the victims and other innocent parties. For instance…
1) A writer on Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace website set out to whitewash Breivik’s right-wing Christianity: “This Norwegian terrorist was not a Christian or a conservative. He acted contrary to the teachings of the Bible and conservatives from Burke to Madison. He was instead a jihadist, blinded by an ideology who resorted to violence…”
While Breitbart’s crew is anxious to disassociate mainstream Christians from this atrocity, rightists in America rarely offer that distinction to Muslims who regard terrorists like Bin Laden as apostates and not representative of their faith.
2) On the other hand, CNN’s Erick Erickson unapologetically went after Muslims anyway: “The fact of the matter is violence and Islam may not be very common among American Muslims [sic], but internationally it is extremely common and can fairly well be considered mainstream within much of Islam.”
Remember, this was after Erickson learned that there was no Islamic connection to the massacre. It was also after he had accused Muslim’s of the crime before Breivik was captured.
3) A writer at RedState went off a cognitive cliff to claim that “We live in a world where we are perfectly happy to abort millions of children and then DEMAND to know WHY Anders Behring Breivik became the human sarcoma that he truly is.”
Never mind the fact that we already know that Breivik’s assault was spurred by his hatred for multiculturalism, the RedStaters, like all wingnuts, are determined to find a way to lay blame on any handy tenet of progressivism. Remember Pat Robertson blaming Hurricane Katrina on the gays?
4) Mark Steyn of the National Review is stumped as to why there have been allegations of Islamophobia: “So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that’s now an ‘Islamophobic’ mass murder?”
It is if he knew that Breivik explicitly targeted people associated with Norway’s Labour Party, whom he blamed for promoting multiculturalism.
5) Brian Kilmeade on Fox News queried his guest: “Are you surprised somewhat that western newspapers, in this case The New York Times seem to be jumping on the fact — they’re trying to equate Christian, what they say are Christian extremists, with Muslim extremists?”
Kilmeade utterly failed to grasp the irony that just hours before he and his network were baselessly accusing Muslims of committing the mass murder. Now he’s worried about the reputation of Christians despite the fact that the shooter was a Christian.
6) Professional Islamophobe, Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs found a unique way to blame Muslims even after she knew they were not involved “Anders Behring Breivik is responsible for his actions. If anyone incited him to violence, it was Islamic supremacists. If anything incited him to violence, it was the Euro-Med policy.
So according to Gellar, Muslims are responsible for violence that they cause themselves, as well as for violence caused by others who hate them.
7) After first asserting that the perpetrators were likely to have been Muslim terrorists, John Hinderaker of the PowerLine blog dug in saying “Was that wrong? Not at all. Any time mass murder attacks take place, it is not just likely but highly probable that they are the work of Muslim jihadists..”
This conveniently leaves open the opportunity to blame every future act of terrorism on Muslims, whether they are responsible or not.
8) As Norway mourns, it’s clear that the right-wing media has been boiling over with surreal speculation that is both derisive and bizarre. And you can’t allude to bizarre derision without acknowledging Glenn Beck, whose unconscionable remarks exceed all the other by disparaging the actual teenage victims even before they have been laid to rest.
“As the thing started to unfold, and then there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler Youth, or whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics?”
Well, for one there is Glenn Beck’s own 912 Project that sponsors the “Tampa Liberty School,” a Tea Party-themed getaway for schoolchildren ages 8-12. But that doesn’t excuse Beck’s inference that the slaughtered camp-goers were akin to Hitler’s youth brigades.
All of these examples of ignorant bigotry took place AFTER it was known that the gunman was not Muslim, but an extremist Christian and far right activist. Not surprisingly, the conservative press was just as blindly prejudiced in their initial reactions to the breaking news.
CNN’s Erick Erickson Tweeted: “Terrorist bombing in Oslo. I bet you it was not Lutherans who did it.” Another writer at Andrew Breitbart’s BigPeace web site said: “Norway has a big Muslim problem. Before long we should know if Norway’s problem has just blown up in its face.” The author failed to provide a definition of what constitutes a “Muslim problem,” but it sounds disturbingly similar to what was once referred to as the “negro problem” in many of America’s southern states. Apparently he considers any presence of Muslims to be a problem. Filling in for Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham announced “two deadly terror attacks in Norway, in what appears to be the work, once again, of Muslim extremists.” Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post said that “there is a specific jihadist connection here.” Thomas Jocelyn of the Weekly Standard said that “in all likelihood the attack was launched by part of the jihadist hydra.”
The despicably bigoted opinions expressed by the prominent, establishment commentators above reveal a dark and disturbing side of American conservatism. Their views percolate throughout the rightosphere and infect the broader community of conservatives. That endorsement of hate results in even more extreme views, like those expressed by this member of the Maine Tea Party: Man of the YEAR 2011 – Anders Behring Breivik!!!
If cooler (saner) minds don’t rise to moderate this overt hostility, the potential for more of this violence will persist, and there is no reason why it would not occur here in the United States. In fact, right-wing extremists have already demonstrated their capacity to do harm, as the survivors of Dr. Tiller, or the targets of Byron Williams will inform you. And lest we not forget Timothy McVeigh’s attack on a government that his militia-bred philosophy viewed as too liberal.
Stephen Bannon, the writer/director of Sarah Palin’s The Undefeated, has announced his next documentary project: Custer’s Victory – The inspirational saga of a brave general whose tiny band of soldiers tossed King Tut’s tea into San Francisco Bay. But seriously…..
The Undefeated is having as difficult a time living up to its name as its subject does. After pretending the opening was a massive success, the film’s defenders tried to make excuses for its obvious failure by whining about how little promotion it had. To the contrary, it was promoted heavily to its target audience. It had a screening at the RightOnline Conference hosted by Andrew Breitbart. It’s official premiere was in Iowa with Sarah Palin in attendance. The Fox News television and Internet PR machine was hyping it non-stop.
Now, after its second weekend in theaters, the film has sunk to even more embarrassing lows. Despite promises that it would roll out nationally, it added only four new theaters. The total boxoffice for the weekend was just $24,000, a 63% decline from last weekend. And perhaps most emblematic of a cinematic fiasco, the producers just announced that the movie is going straight to video – after less than two weeks in theatrical release. The press release from the distributor is a hilarious feast of hallucinatory grandeur. It reads like an announcement of triumph:
“Victory Film Group and ARC Entertainment, the distributor of ‘The Undefeated,’ the film about Gov. Sarah Palin’s rise from obscurity to national prominence, jointly announced today that beginning on September 1st the film will be available to 75 million homes via Video on Demand and Pay-Per-View access through national and regional cable and satellite operators.”
Translation: Our movie sucked so bad in theaters that we’re desperately trying to salvage our investment and reputation by jumping immediately to television in the hopes that we can con some addled-brained Tea Baggers out of a few more bucks.
The press release went to say that “a ‘Special Edition’ DVD will contain additional new content and will only be sold in Walmart stores.” Now that’s an affirmation of achievement if there ever was one. The CEO of ARC Entertainment remarked that the company has been “inundated with requests from people wanting the film to be made available in their market.” Just not in their theaters. He continued by expressing how excited he is “about having this film made available to the entire country earlier than expected.” The producers of Harry Potter must be mortified that their movie will be stuck in cinemas for another six months and won’t be “available to the entire country” for a year or more.
These entertainment geniuses are attempting to argue that the empty theaters are a sign of “overwhelming demand” from the public who are just so darned anxious to see the picture in their own homes. Despite this hankering for the film, the producers assert that they will still have to embark on a multimillion dollar campaign to promote the TV offering. It’s a good thing that that’s a load of BS, because otherwise they would be losing even more money on this turkey.
This pathetic display of disinterest in the Palin crockumentary that was heralded as the true story of the half-term governor, and that would polish her image and reveal her greatness, cannot portend well for her presidential ambitions, if she really has any. If the people who would be her most ardent supporters won’t go to see her vanity bio-pic, then we shouldn’t expect voters to go out of their way either. America views Palin as a quitter, a loser, and a washed up reality star. At this point Khloe Kardashian would probably out-poll Palin.
As I did a week ago with an article by Hugh Hewitt, my headline for this article is taken verbatim from one by John Nolte, editor-in-chief of Andrew Breitbart’s BigHollywood.
This article appeared on BigGovernment and it is great news. The rightist meme that Republican candidates should not participate in debates sponsored by those they deem the “mainstream” media is growing quickly. I can’t think of anything I would like to see more, with regard to the GOP debate season, than to not see them at all. If they actually had the guts to follow through on this threat it would be a great service to America.
Nolte’s primary argument is that candidates should not “willingly put themselves in a less than ideal situation.” That means not exposing oneself to probing questions that might have the disadvantage of revealing what you actually believe. He continues…
Nolte: Nothing is more important than getting our failed president out of office in 2012 and therefore nothing is more important than nominating someone who can win. This is why the number one quality we should be looking for among our otherwise superb field is someone who understands that when it comes to removing Barack Obama from office, the MSM is the existential threat of 2012 – not the President.
Nothing is more important to Nolte than unseating the current president – not jobs; not health care; not global warming; not terrorism; NOTHING!. And the most important quality that Nolte is looking for in a president is fear of the media – not experience; not leadership; not wisdom; not honesty; FEAR! That is the modern GOP in a nutshell (with an emphasis on the nuts). They have NOTHING to offer but FEAR.
Nolte wants the GOP field to stage their own “New Media” debates with folks like Jonah Goldberg and Rush Limbaugh asking the questions. Me too. Does Nolte think that this group won’t ask about issues like abortion or Medicare or the budget? If anything, I think they would be even more confrontational as they seek to elicit loyalty pledges from the candidates to establish their extremist bona fides. But in Nolte’s view, the purpose of the Republican debates should be to “make our side look as good as possible” and to “do as much political damage to President Obama as possible.” Oh yeah, he did throw in that they should also “help primary voters make a difficult choice.” How that would occur while in the midst of a GOP fluffing, Obama bashing festival is unclear.
It’s important to remember that it was Fox News CEO Roger Ailes who said “The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda.” That was in response to Democratic candidates who refused to participate in a debate sponsored by Fox News. So what does that say about the candidates that can’t face NBC or CNN (who is co-hosting their next GOP debate with Tea Party Express)?
Now along with Hugh Hewitt, we have Andrew Breitbart’s web site calling for a media embargo by Republican candidates. Sarah Palin has previously made similar remarks. They may be surprised to learn that I agree with them completely. I hope they have the courage to follow through, but I doubt it. That kind of strength and integrity is not what the GOP is known for.
As an aside, I have been following the Breitbart’s BigGovernment web site since the Anthony Weiner story broke. It has now been 17 days and still…
EVERY SINGLE HEADLINE at the top of the page (with the exception of a plug for Breitbart’s lame book), is about Weiner. There is a word for the kind of psychosis Breitbart is exhibiting: Obsession.
Just when you thought that Andrew Breitbart could not become any sleazier, he is now accusing Anthony Weiner and his wife of releasing the news of her pregnancy as a PR stunt. That’s a stretch even for a scumbag like Breitbart. As usual, he has no evidence, not even an anonymous source. It is a wholly invented canard whose only purpose can be to smear the Weiner family and bring them more pain, and consequently bring more pain to his real target, the Democratic Party.
This is politics at its worst. Despite Breitbart’s disingenuous assertion that he didn’t want to hurt the Weiner family, he now says that “We have every right to find out to what extent he’s been misbehaving.” Since when? And if we have that right with regard to Weiner, should we also be stalking every other public servant to disclose their misbehavior? Should we see what Breitbart is up to when he’s not peeking through the windows of his ideological enemies?
If anyone is engaging in PR stunts, it’s Breitbart. When the latest and most graphic picture of Weiner was “leaked” to the media this week, Breitbart feigned outrage, insisting that he had nothing to do with it. Why should anyone believe that?
Here are the known facts: Breitbart took the photo with him when he went to the radio studio of shock-jocks Opie & Anthony. That’s the first curious thing. Why would he need to have that picture with him while visiting a pair of professional jerkwads who make a living off of rank controversy? Then, without any prodding, he handed the photo, which was on his cellphone, to others in the studio who passed it around amongst themselves while making juvenile wisecracks. That is not something someone concerned about the subject’s privacy would do.
Later, Breitbart alleged that a surveillance camera in the room captured the photo from his cellphone. That is a suspect assertion at best. It is simply not credible that a surveillance camera could have picked up the image from Breitbart’s cellphone and produced the detail on the leaked photo that went public. Most surveillance cameras are positioned high on the wall near a corner of the room so that they have a broad perspective of the area they are monitoring. Breitbart expects us to believe that one of those cameras, that are not generally high resolution devices, got a clear and detailed shot over somebody’s shoulder of an image on a small cellphone screen. That assertion needs to be challenged.
Additionally, Breitbart claimed that he only offered to show the photo after he was assured that there were no cameras in the room. That is a verifiable lie. Breitbart knew very well that the show was being videotaped. You can see the video of the show below.
Clearly this was taken on a hand-held device, not a stationary surveillance camera. Breitbart even looks directly at the camera on several occasions. So he obviously lied when he said that he thought there were no cameras in the studio. And his assertion that he was told that there were no cameras was also a lie. The video shows that he never asked for, nor received such an assurance.
In my estimation, Breitbart wanted this photo to be released but he didn’t want to take the heat as the sleazeball who released it. So he manufactured this cover story with a couple of radio publicity hounds who would gladly insert themselves into a national melodrama. Anthony Cumia even admitted as much in an interview on Fox News:
“When you take a chunk of meat into a lion’s den, someone’s gonna take a bite. [...] I do kind of like attaching ourselves to an international story. It is the credo of the shock jock.”
This appears to be a deliberate scheme to extend and amplify the controversy, and it is just the sort of thing Breitbart would do based on his Legacy of Sleaze. There are so many pieces of Breitbart’s story that don’t fit, or are certifiably false, that one has to refer to his history of dishonesty and purposeful deception. Until Breitbart can satisfactorily explain these discrepancies, we should assume that he deliberately devised this scheme to release the photo with his shock-jock pals as accomplices.
[UPDATE]Stephen Colbert also noticed Breitbart’s ridiculous cover story about the “accidental” release of the photo. Colbert succinctly nailed the notion that Breibart was an innocent victim of unforeseeable circumstances:
“What happened to the sacred tradition of confidentiality between respected journalists and shock-jocks?”
Colbert also mocked the absurd claim that Breitbart didn’t know there were cameras in the studio by pointing out that no cameras were visible in the video of Breitbart that was taken by a camera across the desk from him.
With calls mounting for Anthony Weiner to resign, it would be prudent to take a look back at the public record of his accuser. It is Andrew Breitbart whose behavior is most repulsive and destructive. He is a liar and a hypocrite and causes far more harm than a horny congressman who never actually engaged in any sexual misconduct. If anyone should resign and skulk away in shame, it’s Breitbart.
Public apologies are often the source of captivating and prurient entertainment. There seems to be a genetic compulsion in the human DNA to observe our heroes, celebrities, and, of course, adversaries, fall from grace and beg forgiveness. This week we saw what may be Rep. Anthony Weiner’s curtain call but, like any good melodrama, he was upstaged by an ambitious and vainglorious rival, Andrew Breitbart.
After commandeering the podium at Weiner’s press conference, Breitbart declared “I’m here for some vindication.” He portrayed himself as a media-contrived victim of character assassination and challenged the reporters in the room substantiate their alleged assaults on his reputation.
“The media says ‘Breitbart lies, Breitbart lies, Breitbart lies, Breitbart lies.’ Give me one example of a provable lie. One. One. Journalists? One. Put your reputation on the line here.”
For some reason, no one in the room responded. It’s almost as if the press were clueless stenographers, unfamiliar with Breitbart’s past, and were incapable of providing a substantive rebuttal.
This is actually fairly typical of the modern press corps. Another example occurred when the New York Times asked Breitbart about the Weiner affair on Saturday and he attempted to strike a non-partisan tone saying that…
“I am as offended when John Ensign acts like an idiot, when Chris Lee acts like an idiot.”
Really? What the Times failed to note was that Breitbart’s BigGovernment blog did not publish a single story about the travails of either Ensign or Lee. Not one single story. How offended was he? Compare that to his obsession with Weiner that produced 17 separate stories and consumed every single headline (except for the plug for his lame book), and that was four full days after the story broke.
For those who are interested, including members of the press who were struck dumb at the press conference, here is a brief compilation of Breitbart’s reportorial resume, replete with dishonesty and deliberate disinformation. Feel free to offer these in response to Breitbart’s future challenges. We will await his profuse and heartfelt apologies.
1) ACORN: Breibart’s web site was the central agency for disseminating videos that were later shown to have been heavily edited in order to convey a fictional scenario that smeared a social service organization that had for years been assisting low income citizens with financial advice and voter registration. Every investigation of the affair exonerated ACORN and affirmed the deception of the videos. Breitbart’s henchman, James O’Keefe, is currently being sued by former ACORN employee, Juan Carlos Vera.
2) Shirley Sherrod: In this episode, Breitbart was responsible for slandering a USDA employee as a racist. Lately he has been defending himself by saying that he had included the “redemptive arc” of her story that revealed her innocence. But let’s not forget how he originally portrayed the situation:
“In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions. [...] In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer.”
That is a pretty clear accusation of discriminatory behavior on the part of a federal employee. And it is also a lie. Sherrod did not discriminate against the farmer, as Breitbart later acknowledged, and the story she told was of an incident that occurred 20 years before she held a federal post. Nevertheless, Breitbart’s reaction at the time was another demonstration of his paranoid Narcissism as he whined, “As difficult as it probably was for her, it’s been difficult for me as well.” Poor guy. Sherrod is currently suing Breitbart.
3) Clinton Plotting a Tea Party Attack: Breitbart published a story with no evidence, about an alleged conspiracy that never came to pass:
“Big Government has learned that Clintonistas are plotting a ‘push/pull’ strategy. They plan to identify 7-8 national figures active in the tea party movement and engage in deep opposition research on them. If possible, they will identify one or two they can perhaps ‘turn’, either with money or threats, to create a mole in the movement. The others will be subjected to a full-on smear campaign.”
Also never coming to pass…a retraction. This story bubbled up through the media like much of Breitbart’s fiction, eventually getting coverage from Fox Nation.
4) Jason Mattera’s Punking of Grayson and Franken: Jason Mattera, who later became editor of Human Events, was employed to run a couple of “ambush” interviews that were posted on Breitbart’s web site. One interview targeted Rep. Alan Grayson and castigated him for his support of bill that funded a program to prevent child abuse. The other interview was directed at Sen Al Franken who was attacked for supporting student health and school safety. In both cases Mattera twisted the purpose of the legislation into something unrecognizable and patently false. Expect more of this because, as Breitbart says in his book, Righteous Indignation, “Ambush journalism is the most valuable kind of journalism.”
5) University of Missouri Labor Class: In another phony video sting, Breitbart published a video of the proceedings of a class on the history of labor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. As usual, the video was a deceitful mash-up that misrepresented the professors and students as supporting violent labor activity. The twist here is that it was Breitbart’s one-time friend Glenn Beck who published an accounting of the video deception and vindicated the professors. As a bonus intrigue, the party from whom Breitbart got the UM video is identified only as Insurgent Visuals. That, however, may be a ruse to disguise Breitbart’s long-time partner in crime, James O’Keefe.
6) Beck’s Back Alley Snitch: Speaking of Glenn Beck, in happier times when the two weren’t feuding, Breibart was the source for numerous Beck offensives. He provided Beck with scandalous material on Van Jones who, at the time, was a White House adviser on environmental initiatives. Beck lauded Breitbart, saying…
“You know where the great journalists of our time are? Andrew Breitbart. [...] You were the only one, besides watchdogs, that were really aggressively working behind the scenes with us on Van Jones.”
The same thing occurred with Yosi Sergant, communications director for the National Endowment for the Arts. Breitbart went after him and provided the data to Beck, who said…
“This is again another Breitbart story, where the NEA communications director reached out and said, hey, listen, we have to be very careful with our language here.”
In both cases the information provided by Breitbart was vague and/or untrue, but both Jones and Sergant were jettisoned — just as Sherrod was — by a nervous White House for violations that were either false or greatly exaggerated.
7) Democrats Plotted to Blame Tea Party for Slaughter: Breitbart’s site featured an article that made the sensationalist claim that Democrats devised a plan to blame the Tea Party for the tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ. The allegation consisted of a single, unidentified source who merely offered his own opinion that the massacre could be pinned on Tea Partiers. There was no allegation of a conspiracy or even of any discussions of such a plan by anyone connected to the Democratic Party. But that didn’t stop Breitbart from posting the story with an irresponsibly provocative headline.
8) The Abbie Boudreau Affair: In one of the most bizarre adventures by the James O’Keefe gang, they set out to lure CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau into a floating love nest to embarrass her in some manner that was never really explained. While Breitbart did not act as the agent for this prank, he did provide a platform for O’Keefe to publish his defense after having been outed by an accomplice. O’Keefe managed to take a situation in which he appeared to be a revolting pervert and make it worse by saying about Boudreau…
“She would have had to consent before being filmed and she was not going to be faux ‘seduced’ unless she wanted to be.”
Considering the fact that he never sought the consent of his previous video victims, why should we accept his assertion that he was going to start seeking consent now? Even more troubling is his implication that his intended victim “wanted” it. O’Keefe is resorting to the disgusting defense that rapists offer about their victims. And Breitbart permitted this to be published on his site.
9) GEICO Gecko – Tea Party Crasher? Breitbart’s BigGovernment blog posted a mind-numbingly stupid article that accused Ricky Gervais, the actor/comedian and voice of the GEICO Gecko of disparaging the Tea Party in a profanity-laced voice-mail. The only problem is that Gervais had nothing to do with it. It was an actor (D.C. Douglas) who worked for GEICO a couple of years prior. But it wasn’t enough to smear Gervais with insinuations, Breitbart also posted a picture of the Gecko atop a table that was adorned with a poster of President Obama sporting a Hitler mustache. What that had to do with the story is anyone’s guess. It just appeared to be a gratuitous slap at the President while falsely slandering Gervais.
10) Racism: Breitbart is obsessed with the theme of racism. He is convinced that the charge is thrown around cavalierly, and mostly to insult Tea Partiers and himself. He embarked on a campaign to prove that congressman and civil rights hero, John Lewis, was lying when he said that he had been the victim of racial epithets when attending a congressional rally. He regards the Shirley Sherrod incident as an example of the racism demonstrated by the NAACP. But when discussing allegations of his own prejudice, Breitbart said this to radio host Adam Carolla:
“Can I prove that I’m not a racist toward Hispanics? Did you ever see Moscow on the Hudson? Remember Maria Conchita Alonso in that? The things I did to myself as a teenager prove that I’m not a racist.”
So Breitbart’s proof that he is not a racist is that he used to masturbate to pictures of a Latino actress. That defense would also work pretty well to prove that colonial plantation masters weren’t racist either because they routinely raped their slaves. Breitbart’s repulsive pride in his perverse view of racial open-mindedness tells us much about him. And he is certainly in no position to assess the veracity of people like John Lewis.
This should be a good starting point for the press in case they ever get the chance again to respond to Breitbart’s call for evidence of his dishonesty and low character. Here’s hoping that they are listening and that no one presumes to use the Weiner affair to rehabilitate Breitbart’s deservedly sleazy reputation. Just because Breitbart lucked into being correct (like a broken clock) doesn’t mean that his long-established pattern of deception should be dismissed. Just because Charles Manson didn’t kill Marilyn Monroe doesn’t mean that he’s innocent of every other crime attributed to him.
Breitbart deserves no accolades over this. His reputation cannot be rehabilitated after one lucky scoop sent to him by a Twitter stalker. And he still owes the many people he deliberately harmed an apology. Weiner, at least, was man enough to own up to his mistakes, eventually. Will Breitbart ever do the same? Not likely.
The New York Times interviewed Andrew Breitbart about the Anthony Weiner affair on Saturday. He attempted to strike a non-partisan tone saying that…
“I am as offended when John Ensign acts like an idiot, when Chris Lee acts like an idiot.”
However, the Times failed to note that Breitbart’s BigGovernment blog did not publish a single story about the travails of either Ensign or Lee. Not one single story. How offended was he?
Compare that to his obsession with Weiner that produced 17 separate stories and consumed every single headline on his masthead (except for the plug for his lame book), and that was four days after the story broke.
Obviously Breitbart was not as offended by the sexcapades of Ensign and Lee as he was about Weiner. He was lying as usual. And as usual the Times, our so-called liberal mainstream media, was clueless and unable to set the record straight. That’s how Breitbart gets away with being a dishonest slug and propagating his horse manure brand of pseudo-journalism.
Today Congressman Anthony Weiner held a press conference where he apologized for his “shameful” personal behavior. He said he was taking full responsibility for what he called “dumb” mistakes that included inappropriate communications on Facebook and Twitter and for lying about it when confronted.
There is no question that Weiner should and will suffer consequences for these serious lapses in judgment. But Weiner isn’t the only character in this morality play. The media must be held accountable for presenting the issue fairly. They must ask themselves whether this story is as critical to the American people as the debate over the debt ceiling, foreign wars and terrorism, and other pending matters of public concern. Of course it is going to be covered, but to what extent, for how long, and what issues will be displaced as a result?
The press must also seek to position it in context to prior similar events. If they raise questions as to whether Weiner, who broke no laws, ought to resign, they should also press GOP Congressman Ken Calvert and Senator David Vitter, both of whom illegally patronized prostitutes.
Another character in this melodrama is Andrew Breitbart who engaged in a bizarre hijacking of the Weiner press conference. He showed up at the hotel and commandeered the podium for nearly twenty minutes. He spent most of that time in a display of self-aggrandizement and bemoaning his victimhood. But if justice is to be served, Breitbart should be required to apologize for his part in disseminating purposefully deceitful videos smearing the reputations of ACORN and former USDA employee, Shirley Sherrod.
Just because Breitbart lucked into being correct (like a broken clock) doesn’t mean that his pattern of deception should be dismissed. Charles Manson can honestly testify that he had nothing to do with the death of Marilyn Monroe, but that doesn’t absolve him from his participation in other atrocities. Breitbart deserves no accolades over this, and he still owes the people he deliberately harmed an apology. Weiner, at least, was man enough to own up to his mistakes, eventually. If Breitbart exploits this matter for his own gain, I predict it will backfire on Republicans, simply because Breitbart is such a repulsive figure that he will produce more disgust than support.
The tabloid circus surrounding this is going to heat up for a few days. Smarmy, holier-than-thou martinets of virtue will speak out while hypocritically suppressing information that reflects poorly on themselves. Glenn Beck, not surprisingly, has leaped to the front of that line, spending the opening minutes of his program railing against Weiner. And equally unsurprising, Beck failed to note that he previously was engaged in a public feud with Weiner over investigations into the corrupt practices of his sponsor, Goldline. Again, Weiner’s misbehavior does not absolve Beck or Goldline of their own malfeasance.
Let’s see if we can get through the next week without ignoring some of the serious matters that face our nation. We have to address the budget and the Republican threat to Medicare. We have to deal with unemployment, energy, the environment, and funding for programs like education and infrastructure. Our country has a lot on its plate that is more important than the overactive libido of a New York congressman. Will we rise to that challenge?
Ben Shapiro’s “Primetime Propaganda” is a book that perfectly epitomizes the rightist paranoia about liberal bogeymen under our beds, in our closets, and, most of all, on our TV sets. The book is promoted as…
“The inside story of how the most powerful medium of mass communication in human history has become a propaganda tool for the Left.”
In the book published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins, Shapiro claims to have interviewed Hollywood’s most important power players and gotten them to admit that they have been secretly inserting their subversive messages into popular programs for decades. But his work is decidedly one-sided and he takes great pride in the obvious. For instance. the revelation that MASH had an anti-war theme is not exactly earth-shattering and it hardly exposes a liberal conspiracy. However, he presents it as a triumph of investigative journalism.
In a defensive posting on Andrew Breitbart’s BigJournalism, Shapiro complains about the criticism his book has received. He is dismayed that critics allegedly focused on the parts referencing Sesame Street, but then proceeds to bash Sesame Street for the remainder of the posting.
According to his own defense, Sesame Street is awash in propaganda. For instance, they broadcast segments teaching kids about divorce. He apparently thinks that subject has no relevance to kids today. The program also aired segments after 9/11 about peaceful conflict resolution. Shapiro asserts that these were designed to steer kids away from retaliating against terrorists, when the more likely purpose was to illustrate how wrong the actions of the terrorists were. Then Shapiro whines about everything from teaching kids not to beat up other kids of different cultures, to using gender-neutral language like firefighter or flight attendant. If that is evidence of leftist indoctrination, then Shapiro is implying that rightists support cross-cultural fights amongst children.
What doesn’t seem to be acknowledged in Shapiro’s book is that the vast majority of television programs in the period of time his research encompasses were far from being dogmatically left-wing. There were more police dramas and westerns than any other genre of program. Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and The Waltons, or Dragnet, Magnum P.I., and 24, were not exactly peddling liberal doctrine. Nor were the iconic sitcoms from Andy Griffith, The Golden Girls, or Frasier. Why didn’t Shapiro interview people from those shows to ascertain whether they were planting conservative opinions in their programs?
Even worse, Shapiro is attempting to position this book as a scholarly investigation into historical television practices and philosophies. But he provides no historical context whatsoever to support his obviously predetermined conclusions. He lumps shows like The Partridge Family, Happy Days, and Family Ties, into the liberal cabal that “took over your TV,” but fails to note that those years were mostly dominated by Republican presidents and conservative culture. It was the heart of the era that saw the rise of the Reagan Revolution, the Moral Majority, and the Christian Coalition. If the purpose of these pinko TV executives was to reshape America in their leftist image, they failed miserably. Yet Shapiro insists that this was their purpose and that they succeeded in turning America into a socialist state.
For the record, Shapiro is the Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an ultra-conservative organization whose mission is to “combat the efforts of the radical left and its Islamist allies to destroy American values and disarm this country.” Shapiro was interviewed about the book by Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine who called him “a courageous defender of our civilization – and such a brave soldier on the frontlines in our culture war.”
Shapiro’s previous books were Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth, and Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future. He recently penned an article for CNSNews, a division of the rabidly right-wing Media Research Center, wherein he castigated Jews who support President Obama as…
“Jews in name only. They eat bagels and lox; they watch ‘Schindler’s List’; they visit temple on Yom Kippur – sometimes. But they do not care about Israel. Or if they do, they care about it less than abortion, gay marriage and global warming.”
That exclusionary and insulting diatribe suggests that the Jews are such a shallow people that they are incapable of caring about more than one thing at a time, particularly if it’s about the rights and well being of others. And Shapiro neglects to disclose who designated him as the Jewish certification authority.
Shapiro is a part of the conservative campaign to assault the media and popular culture, and he is tightly integrated with the leaders of that campaign. David Horowitz’s Freedom Center began as the Center for the Study of Popular Culture in 1988 to “establish a conservative presence in Hollywood.” Andrew Breitbart, who runs both the BigJournalism and BigHollywood blogs, wrote in his recent autobiographical book, “Righteous Indignation,” 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.”
This is a coordinated attack on the creative community that has long been a target of the right-wing martinets of virtue. They demonstrated their hostility for the arts when they orchestrated congressional hearings and blacklists against Hollywood in the 1940′s and 1950s. And they are demonstrating it today as they seek to defund public radio and television, as well as arts institutions like the National Endowment for the Arts. Their censorious mission is reflected in attacks on movies like Avatar and rappers like Common. It is ingrained in the works of the secret society of Hollywood conservatives, the Friends of Abe. They recognize the power in creative expression and they are determined to either hijack it or shut it down. That’s why Shapiro et al are so adamant about silencing overt propaganda like this alarming segment from Sesame Street that he explicitly rebuked for advancing a gay/liberal agenda:
Do you feel gayer or more liberal yet? Shapiro’s new book appears to be the literary equivalent of James O’Keefe’s dishonest video ambushes. Shapiro taped conversations with his subjects and is releasing them without having obtained permission to do so. Of course, he certainly won’t release any tapes that exhibit ideological fairness or otherwise don’t fit his agenda. And, as noted above, we won’t be seeing any comments from producers of the far more numerous conservative-themed programs that reveal their own biases. There is no way of knowing whether the tapes were edited in misleading ways, as the right is prone to doing – particularly the Breitbart right. And notice to whom Shapiro ran first to whine about being criticized.
Expect to see Shapiro making the Fox News rounds with an already announced appearance on Sean Hannity’s show. Watch as he shamelessly bashes the broader media even as he exploits it. And sadly, like a victim of spousal abuse, the media will forgive him and beg him not to go. His Murdoch-published book will get plenty of play from Fox News, the rightist blogosphere, and conservative talk radio as he laments the imagined prevalence of left-wing media. How ironic.
There has not been a more obvious case of penile obsession than that exhibited by Andrew Breitbart and the pervs at Fox Nation. Since the non-story about Anthony Weiner’s alleged Twitter escapade, these alleged “news” sources have maintained a frenzied focus on it. Despite the utter lack of verifiable evidence, the Fox Nationalists have posted FOURTEEN articles on the subject:
That’s fourteen separate articles on this one issue that hardly compares to the urgency of other matters currently in the news cycle. The second most reported story on Fox Nation, with two whole articles, was the Palin/Trump pizza summit. They sure know their priorities.
As for Andrew Breitbart, he puts Fox Nation to shame. It has now been four days since the story broke and Breitbart’s BigGovernment blog still features it in a big way. In fact, EVERY SINGLE HEADLINE on the site is Weiner-related. There is no other story (with the exception of Breitbart’s lame book) that warrants a headline on that pseudo-news site.
I know these weasels live to smear their liberal adversaries, but this ridiculous. When Americans are desperate for information about pressing issues concerning jobs, the economy, health and Medicare, and national security, the rightist media is glued to titillating irrelevancies. Weiner is one Congressman from New York who is not even a member of the Democratic leadership. He is in a heavily Democratic district that would likely elect another Democrat if the worst case scenario were to occur and he left office. The GOP has little to gain from hyping this other than to remind people of the verifiable incidents of Republican malfeasance in office.
So why are they doing it? Because they are being hurt so badly by their own news that they are desperate for a distraction. Their presidential candidates are a laughing stock, even amongst Republicans. And their budget plan that kills Medicare is unpopular with every sector of the electorate, including conservatives and Tea Partiers. They are in a rapid meltdown and they think that this will save them. Thus the fixation that blots out every other news story for these losers. Pathetic.
Committed news junkies this morning are following a ludicrous story about New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. I’m not getting into it now because at this point there is nothing substantive to report. There are only salacious accusations with no proof whatsoever.
What I will get into is the fact that Andrew Breitbart, the notoriously dishonest purveyor of right-wing lies and propaganda who has been caught disseminating slanderous videos that were proven to be faked, has now expanded his field into porn and the yellowest of journalism. Here is a screen capture of the top of his BigGovernment web site:
Note that every single story is on one subject – the alleged Weiner controversy that Breitbart himself invented. (Well, there is one exception – an ad for Breitbart’s thoroughly dishonest book). Apparently Breitbart considers this non-story more important than any other news story on the planet. There is literally no other story worthy of covering than this one. Not the presidential campaign. Not the congressional vote on raising the debt ceiling. Not the tornadoes in the Mid-West. Not the War on Terror. Nothing.
Breitbart’s desperation to hoist a fake scandal on his dimwitted readers is palpable. Seriously – EVERY SINGLE HEADLINE! It exposes Breitbart as obsessed with advancing his slander. And to make matters worse, Breitbart went on CNN this morning (shame on CNN) and talked about “relationships that Congressman Weiner has been having with women, young women…” That despicable quote was wholly unsupported by even the flimsiest of facts. Breitbart even tried to qualify it later, after he had already set it loose into the mediasphere. He knows very well that that’s all it takes to set ignorant tongues wagging, and that was his intention. His whole existence is reliant on the slobbering imbeciles who live for dirt on their liberal adversaries and don’t care if it’s real or manufactured.
The press has to recognize that Breitbart has zero credibility. How many incidents have to arise where he is proven to have fabricated videos, documents, and testimony, before the media stops treating him as if he were their peer? It’s just embarrassing to see them sully themselves by cozying up to this dirtbag. It has got to stop.
How Hollywood Drove Andrew Breitbart To The Mad Hater’s Tea Party
Andrew Breitbart just released his new book, “Righteous Indignation,” that opens a window into his innermost impulses and ambitions. It reveals the complex circuitry of his character that succeeds in being both self-loathing and Narcissistic. Breitbart takes us on his journey from unrequited Hollywood wannabe to Tea Party overlord and along the way establishes that his book might better have been titled “Noxious Irritation.” If anything, his indignation is aimed at a community that he desperately wanted to be a part of, but which wanted nothing to do with him.
Growing up in the Tinseltown suburb of Brentwood, Breitbart developed an early obsession with show business and celebrity. He writes with a palpable glee of having had the same tennis instructor as Farrah Fawcett and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The most trivial association with stardom sent him twirling, as when his family, “once rented out our motor home to John Ritter from Three’s Company. I bragged about it in school for weeks.” But despite his glamorous aspirations, the first forty pages of the book describe a young man seething with self-hatred. And judging from his own account it was deserved. He paints a picture of himself as an ignorant, alcoholic, loser.
Adam Carolla hates Los Angeles. He says so fervently and repeatedly in his latest podcast. It is a vulgarity-laced rant that excoriates Latinos, unions, and liberal celebrities and politicians. And his guest for the hour is the chronically choleric Andrew Breitbart who agrees with every word. To illustrate his hatred, Carolla offers this story, wherein he exposes his overt prejudice and ignorance:
Carolla: On one side of the stretch of Forest Lawn Drive are all the illegals. And they hang out there and they sell flowers to people who are going to Forest Lawn [Cemetery]. And, of course, next to where they’re selling all their stuff is trash. Trash everywhere. Fast food wrappers from the food they eat. Boxes from the boxes they use and then discard. There’s no trash cans put along there. It’s a bunch of illegals, standing around, selling things without a license, without permits, without anything.
Of course, Carolla has no idea whether the entrepreneurs he saw were documented or not. He didn’t pull over and ask to see any ID or business permits. He simply spewed his racist rage based on their appearance alone. That is racism by definition.
Andrew Breitbart wholeheartedly agrees with Carolla’s assessment of Los Angeles and its people, calling all of California “the suckiest place.” He tells Carolla that his views would help him were he to be a Republican candidate for office. That’s probably true. Then Breitbart offers a preemptive defense against any well-deserved accusations of racism:
Breitbart: If you tell the truth … You’re not allowed to say that story. If Media Matters or some left-wing group were to take what you just said, I guarantee they would distill it down to “This guy’s a racist.” They’re not listening to the logic in it.
Considered it distilled by this left-winger. Breitbart likes to complain about being called a racist, but he hasn’t yet figured out that the best way to avoid that is to stop being one. The entirety of the logic in Carolla’s rant comes down to “brown skin = illegal.” Breitbart also defended himself against charges of racism by confessing that, as a teenager, he jacked-off to pictures of Maria Conchita Alonso and Lisa Bonet. Yeah, that proves it. Even Carolla saw the disgusting fallacy of that remark:
Breitbart: Can I prove that I’m not a racist toward Hispanics? Did you ever see Moscow on the Hudson? Remember Maria Conchita Alonso in that? The things I did to myself as a teenager prove that I’m not a racist.
Carolla: But you’re like one of those plantation owners who’s having sex with their slaves.
They just laughed that one off and proceeded to imagine how much better things would be if they moved to Texas or New Zealand to get away from the more ethnically diverse culture of Southern California. The whole hour was a display of small-minded bigotry and crass attempts at humor. It’s the sort of show that thinks that calling Congresswoman Maxine Waters a cunt is funny.
I don’t listen to Carolla’s program, and suffice it to say I’m not going to be rushing to join his current audience of putrid preteens and grossly immature adults like Breitbart. But in the future I may pay more attention to his venomous spewing so that he can be exposed as the vile bigot that he is.
Jon Lovitz used to have a character on Saturday Night live known a the “pathological liar.” He would simply make up things to impress his associates and, as he settled on the perfect deceit, would exclaim, “Yeah, that’s the ticket.”
Andrew Breitbart has taken this notion to new levels. His capacity for dishonesty is boundless and entirely devoid of shame. The latest episode in his recurring series of video lie-fests takes place at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. The video posted at his BigGovernment blog shows a professor and a guest lecturer engaged in a discussion that includes statements that imply they are advocating violence on behalf of labor interests. “Yeah, that’s the ticket.” The only problem with this expose is that, like just about everything else Breitbart does, it isn’t true.
Judy Ancel, Director of Labor Studies at UMKC, is the professor in the video. She responded to Breitbart’s smear in an email with several examples of how Breitbart fiddled with the content to deliberately convey a meaning that did not exist in reality. For instance, she writes…
Breitbart is a master of taking quotes out of context, deletion of what doesn’t serve his purpose, and remixing to achieve totally different meaning. For example he has me saying:
o Breitbart’s version: “Violence is a tactic and it’s to be used when it’s the appropriate tactic.”
o The real version: After students had watched a film on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and the assassination of Martin Luther King, they were discussing nonviolence. I said, “One guy in the film. . . said ‘violence is a tactic, and it’s to be used when it’s the appropriate tactic.’. . . ” The class proceeded to discuss and debate this.
It is apparent that Ancel was quoting somebody in the film, not expressing her own views. This is typical of Breitbart and his ilk. It is the point I was making when I posted this video of Glenn Beck admitting that he idolizes Adolf Hitler:
This project has all the earmarks of Breitbart’s modus operandi. It is precisely what he did to Shirley Sherrod. It is the very same tactics he used against ACORN, along with his protege, James O’Keefe. However, there are no credits for the video other than the name “Insurgent Visuals.” It’s odd that no one would want to take credit for what they must regard as a brilliant piece of investigative journalism.
However, after some investigation of my own, I discovered that Insurgent Visuals has a web site. Surely there would be some indication of who was responsible for this story. Nope. Just a short statement on their “About” page saying “We are a small collective of motivated political actionists intent on changing the world.” They are also intent on hiding their identity.
So I continued my investigation and discovered that Insurgent Visuals also had at one time a blog at BlogSpot. The blog was no longer available, but I was able to access it via Google’s cache. Once there I noticed that the blog’s contributors were Bruce Bronson, and some guy named — James O’Keefe! Who’da thunk it? So O’Keefe, a well-known lying video manipulator may have had an invisible hand in Breitbart’s new anonymous smear campaign. He’s certainly the guy I would call if I wanted to produce a phony videotaped assault on someone.
Prof. Ancel’s response to the video is worth reading in full. It outlines the dishonesty that Breitbart perpetuated as well as her outrage at having the privacy of her students violated and the forum for free expression in the classroom replaced with a chilling mood of fear and distrust. The email in full follows:
Last week the feud between conservative stalwarts Glenn Beck and Tucker Carlson became public in a big way with Carlson’s web site citing numerous rightist pundits who claim that Beck has plagiarized them. Beck shot back accusing his critics of jealousy.
Andrew Breitbart was one of those cited in Carlson’s story. Today Breitbart upped the ante by telling the New York Observer that Beck “threw me under the bus” during the Shirley Sherrod affair when Sherrod was defamed as a racist in a deceptively edited video. Breitbart reveals that Beck had worked with him in the preparation and editing of the video.
Breitbart: Next thing I know, I’m under complete attack without the support of Glenn Beck, who I thought was somebody I could count on.
This is a startling revelation. First it’s an admission that there was an intent to misrepresent Sherrod in the video, something that Breitbart has previously denied. And it also casts Beck as a co-conspirator. This is significant because Beck has tried to portray himself as someone who had rejected the Sherrod video when it was first released by Breitbart.
Beck: We defended her and said her side of the story demanded to be heard – because context matters. That’s how we do things.
Not exactly. First of all, Beck only defended Sherrod on his afternoon television program after the video hoax had been revealed. On his radio show that morning he castigated her saying that we “have video tape of a USDA administration official discriminating against white farmers.”
So Beck participated in the dishonest editing of the video with Breitbart, used his morning radio show to promote the phony clip that he helped to create, and by the time his TV show aired later the same day, and the bottom had dropped out of the story, he pretends to be pristine and unaffiliated as he defends the poor victim of Breitbart’s slander and the White House’s knee-jerk over-reaction.
Hannah Giles, the partner of right-wing propagandist James O’Keefe, who assumed the role of a prostitute in a series of videos designed to smear ACORN, is very upset about a documentary that she says intends to “shape a narrative that will change public opinion through the use of deception.” This critique will surely go down in the Annals of Irony with Colonel Sanders’ denunciation of animal cruelty.
Giles has taken to Andrew Breitbart’s BigHollywood blog to post a scathing critique of a documentary set to air on PBS’s POV series this fall. It’s called “Better This World” and PBS describes it as…
“The story of Bradley Crowder and David McKay, who were accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, is a dramatic tale of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal. Better This World follows the radicalization of these boyhood friends from Midland, Texas, under the tutelage of revolutionary activist Brandon Darby. The results: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and a high-stakes entrapment defense hinging on the actions of a controversial FBI informant. Better This World goes to the heart of the war on terror and its impact on civil liberties and political dissent in post-9/11 America.”
I haven’t seen this documentary and cannot comment on its presentation or accuracy. But I do find it ironic that Breitbart chose Giles to articulate this preemptive hit piece. It was Giles who gave birth to the ACORN project. She worked closely with O’Keefe to produce a video crockumentary that has since been proven to have been deliberately edited in order to embarrass its subjects and destroy the reputation of an organization they considered to be a political enemy.
Giles is, therefore, poorly suited to be a custodian of journalistic virtue. The only contribution she can offer this discussion is her intimate, personal knowledge of how to produce a dishonest work of fiction and present it as fact. To demonstrate her skill in this area she misrepresents the comments of the two filmmakers by juxtaposing answers to two completely different questions and reversing their chronological order to give the impression that they were related. Then Giles contends that this mash up was an admission on the filmmakers part to falsifying the narrative. Hannah sure knows her stuff.
In addition to the ironic absurdity of relying on someone like Giles to defend documentary integrity, Breitbart commits the sin of failing to disclose a glaring conflict of interest. The “revolutionary activist Brandon Darby,” who is an integral part of the story in the PBS doc, also happens to be a contributor to Breitbart’s web site. But rather than have Darby author his own first-person account of the events, Breitbart hands the job to Giles and nobody mentions Darby’s connection. They are, in effect, disparaging a documentary that they believe is unflattering to one of their associates without disclosing the association.
This is typical of Breitbart’s modus operandi: Lash out viciously at perceived enemies while accusing them of heinous acts that he engages in himself. You have to admire the audacity of Breitbart and Giles stepping up to accuse others of misleadingly editing film. These people have made lying an art form.