Not So Breitbart: Branding Sandra Fluke A Retroactive Public Figure

The legacy of Andrew Breitbart is safe in the hands of those who have assumed control of his Internet enterprise. It’s that legacy of lies, defamation, and ignorance, that endures in articles like the one posted yesterday that asserts that Sandra Fluke was a public figure when Rush Limbaugh broadcast a vile commentary that referred to her as a slut and a prostitute. And thus, she is fair game for libelous attacks.

It is rather dumbfounding that even after Limbaugh made an (insincere and weak) expression of regret, even after his advertisers have abandoned him in droves, apologists like the Breitbrats are still defending his boorish misogyny.

The column by William Bigelow begins by mocking President Obama for advocating public discourse “that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted. Particularly when you’re a private citizen.” Bigelow then makes the argument that there is a legal basis for Fluke to be considered a public figure. He cites a Supreme Court opinion in the case of Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., which addressed the standards of libel for defamatory statements. In refuting the representation of Fluke as a private citizen, Bigelow wrote…

“According to the Supreme Court in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974), public figures include those who ‘have thrust themselves into the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved … they invite attention and comment.'”

Consistent with the Breitbartian proclivity for misrepresentation and taking edited content out of context, Bigelow deliberately quoted a brief portion of the opinion that described a commonly held view of what might constitute a public figure, but he left out the conclusive language that found that the plaintiff was not, in fact, a public person:

“We would not lightly assume that a citizen’s participation in community and professional affairs rendered him a public figure for all purposes. Absent clear evidence of general fame or notoriety in the community, and pervasive involvement in the affairs of society, an individual should not be deemed a public personality for all aspects of his life.”

The court found definitively that Gertz, was not a public figure. Nevertheless, Bigelow cites this case to try to prove that Fluke, who was unknown to the public when she was prohibited from appearing before a congressional committee hearing that almost nobody would have seen anyway, was a public figure.

It is not the least bit surprising that Bigelow chose this particular case with which to deceive his readers. The plaintiff, Elmer Gertz, was an attorney who had represented the family of man who was murdered by a Chicago police officer. The respondent, Robert Welch, Inc., is better known as the John Birch Society, a virulently racist and McCarthyesque anti-communist organization. I’m sure that the Breitbrats have a great affinity for the Birchers.

Next Bigelow makes a bold attempt to assert that Sarah Palin is not a public figure. Seriously! Sarah Palin, who was governor of Alaska and a candidate for Vice-President of the United States. Sarah Palin who is currently a Fox News political analyst and still floats hints of running for office. Bigelow contends that “Palin was just as much a private citizen as Fluke,” because she is no longer a governor. Sometimes the addled logic of these cretins is physically painful.

What apparently set Bigelow off on all of this is a statement Fluke made at a forum in Washington, D.C., where she said…

“Numerous American women have actually written to me in the last few weeks saying that I should run for office, and maybe someday I will.”

To which Bigelow sarcastically added, “Sandra Fluke. Private citizen. Yeah, right.” So it was that statement on which Bigelow based the entire premise of his article, as well as his assertion that Fluke was a public figure, even at the time that Limbaugh broadcast his attack. And that was all that was necessary for him to jump to the absurd conclusion that Fluke was somehow retroactively a public figure because weeks afterwards she would speculate that “someday” she “might” run for office.

What is really amazing about this is that anyone actually regards the Breitbrats as having any credibility whatsoever. After their promotion of deceitfully edited videos about ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, etc.; after their embarrassing episode with Hug-Gate, the Derrick Bell non-scandal; and now this incoherent excuse to prop up their hero Rush Limbaugh despite nearly universal condemnation of his abhorrent behavior, the fact that there are still some people who pay any attention at all to the Breitbrats is a sad commentary on a certain sector of the human race.


12 thoughts on “Not So Breitbart: Branding Sandra Fluke A Retroactive Public Figure

  1. Let’s assume for a moment that Ms. Fluke “thrust” herself into the national spotlight. I would think that good, Christian conservatives, who believe in chivalry and opening doors for their ladies, would find what followed to be appalling and obscene. Instead, they twisted her words into something she did NOT say, and then accused of her of being a trampy whore who needs enough condoms to have sex three times a day. It’s clear to anyone who actually fucking READ the transcript or watched the damn video, that is NOT what she said or implied. Anything for the cause, right? Assholes.

  2. Rush used the wrong adjective, he must have had his whole brain tied behind his back. The proper word would have been “fornicator”, much more accurate and also biblical and harder to criticize. It was fun watching the “assholes” flip this right back on the real haters, you know the folks at HBO and PMSNBC. Watching them squirm and shutting down once they realized their panties were down around their ankles.

    Oh, by the way Sammy, Drudge is in the fight, he has posted for a second time an article talking about the Sheriff Joe Arpaio evidence. When Drudge decides to get into the fight the rest of the media tends to jump on the train. Let the truth be known the Media has that natural inclination to act like Piranha and will eat their own babies for two or three months worth of news feed. Plus those journalist who act first (ie Carl Bernstein/Bob Woodward of Watergate). This will be much, much bigger than Watergate when Sheriff Joe Arpaio is finished with the Saul Alinsky clone in the White House.

    • Tony, Sandra Fluke never spoke of herself and never spoke of contraception medication for use as a contraceptive in her example. But even if she did, contraception is the best prevention for abortion and a year’s supply of oral contraception costs society fractions on the dollar less than babies born into poverty.

      As for Drudge? Different thread and who cares?

      • @Sammy, we don’t need to be in the business of giving away contraceptives via health insurance plans. There are already vast reserves of contraceptives that are free at some establishments and at little cost at others establishments. You know as well as I that this is nothing but politics, it is meaningless. The problem with the discussion came about when business were going to be ordered to provide the contraceptive, that is un-Constitutional and if it makes it that far it will be a 5 to 4 or a 6 to 3 decision declaring in un-Constitutional.

        [Admin: Edited for relevance. Please keep responses on topic.]

        • Contraceptives are medication. They are only available after a doctor’s examination and by prescription. If we were to extend logic you’re using we could also argue that shouldn’t be “giving away,” via the health insurance plans we pay for, heart medications, blood pressure medication, insulin and a variety of other pills, patches, drops, and injectable solutions.

          It’s something that could have happened had Blunt Rubio passed. That, by the by, was the name of the specific amendment that offered a very wide, very unspecific range of power that could have granted business owners to deny any ol’ health insurance coverage to their employees that did not meet with their religious standards.

          So, if you were employed by a Christian Scientist and came down with any illness or ailment imaginable that employer could have stepped in and said, “Sorry. No medications for you. I believe that sickness is caused by sin. Your receiving treatment for it offends me. It’s a shame about the stomach cancer, but you just have to pay for it yourself or pray it away.”

          Now I’d think you’d want to get what you’ve paid for, and if the laws of this land require you to get the treatment and medications you need wouldn’t you want that law upheld and enforced?

      • wow, Sam, you actually bothered to reply to a delirious scrapper. Might makes right indeed.

  3. I was just recently introduced to this blog two days ago and decided to participate in the comment section. I have lost count of the names I have been call. I am use to it, most liberals have been infected with a mutated form of a liberal virus. There was a time when one could have an intelligent discussion and/or argument and/or debates with those from the left side of the isle. Not anymore, they quickly turn nasty and when someone comes back in their language they whimper. When I refer to this President as a Clunker, a Marxist, a Socialist, a Progressive, a Usurper, a Man/Child it has nothing to do with those commenting so why the anger. I witnessed President Bush being called everything but a white man, I could care less, I just wanted to debate the issues. For some reason liberals love PERSONAL attacks.

    I want to set the record straight. I am 66 years old, married for 44 years, have three daughters, all married with 6 grandkids. I served two tours in Vietnam. I have a Masters in Education. I worked for 34 years in NYS Corrections, I am now retired and very involved in Prison ministries. I am not a “kook” nor an “asshole” nor a “dumbass” nor “delirious scrapper” nor a “you fill in the blank.” Despite your pitiful attitudes and the fact that I have been called much worse, I will stay around just so I can prove that this President you are so madly in love with is the worse nightmare America has ever encountered. His criminal activity will eventually run this country headlong into the biggest Constitutional crisis we have ever experienced personally and in our history. Once the initial love affair cools down (its already begun)the masses will demand the adulterers balls. I am here to make sure it happens.

    • Tony, you may have been called some mean names, but you have to understand that when you go to a website with nonsensical birther allegations (that have all been debunked) and use words like “Clunker” and with proclamations that the president will be impeached and removed from office for whatever weird reason you’ve mustered, you put yourself up to ridicule. Not to mention the fact that you showed up here all of a sudden, when you’ve never once commented here before. We all took you (maybe still do) for some kooky troll who scans the web for anybody who doesn’t believe the birther bullshit.

    • You’re welcome here, Tony, but I would like to request that you keep you comments on topic. There are many people who seek to divert conversations and act as obstacles to open discourse. I do not permit that on this site.

      As for the state of intelligent discussion, if you think its decline is due solely to liberals being uncivil, you are not paying attention. And you do not advance the discussion by being childish with names like “Clunker” or “Man/Child” (an obvious racist euphemism for “boy”).

    • If by “worst nightmare” you mean 24 straight months of increased employment, the Dow rising to record highs, GM paying off its bailout money and turning around, and consumer being confidence up, I’ll take it, and wonder what a real nightmare would be.

  4. “Sometimes the addled logic of these cretins is physically painful.” I would add physically sickening as well. They don’t even realize how effing dumb and ridiculous they are.

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