Last week attorneys representing his estate, in a case where he was being sued for libel by former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod, failed to answer the court’s questions regarding the estate’s finances. When the lawyers couldn’t even tell the judge whether or not Breitbart had a will when he died, the judge became skeptical and threatened to charge them with contempt of court.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said he was mystified that Breitbart’s attorneys from Katten Muchin did not know whether or not Breitbart died intestate and said he feared that the firm and Breitbart’s estate — or whatever entity may be in ownership of the late blogger’s assets — were being evasive and uncooperative in the case.
“This court expects a law firm of the stature of Katten Muchin to not be a party to games like this, at least as the court sees it,” Judge Leon said.
Back in 2010, Breitbart posted a video of Sherrod on his web site that falsely portrayed her as engaging in racially biased behavior in her duties as a government employee. The unedited video shows that, in fact, she was telling a story about something that had occurred twenty years earlier, before she worked for the government, and actually had a message of equality and tolerance. Nevertheless, Breitbart refused to apologize or retract his defamatory articles.
Sherrod sued Breitbart, who evaded accountability by dying. And now his lawyers are continuing his legacy of shameful deceit by dodging the court’s legitimate inquiries into his finances. The boneheads that assumed control of Breitbart’s web sites have cemented their reputation for bombastic dishonesty and tabloid-like perversions of journalism to an extent that might even have embarrassed Breitbart. But they cannot continue to avoid the legal scrutiny in this case, and will eventually have to pay for their disgraceful smear campaign against Sherrod.
The diseased minds at Breitbart News and David Horowitz’s Freedom Center are joining together to fill what they perceive as a void in media criticism. Not satisfied with the efforts by richly financed conservative operations like the Lie Factory of Fox Nation, the Media Research Center’s NewsBusters, the Washington Free Beacon, or Breitbart’s own BigJournalism, this new cabal is forming with the unmistakeably hostile mission to…
“…unmask leftists in the media for who they are, destroy their credibility with the American public, and devastate their funding bases.”
As for BreitBrat Ben’s partner, David Horowitz, he is a notoriously racist fringe conservative who believes that slave labor has benefited contemporary African-Americans. He also publishes “Jihad Watch,” which has labeled President Obama a “practicing Muslim.”
The new TruthRevolt project describes itself as “a conservative counterpunch to Media Matters, the Obama-linked organization that focuses on silencing conservatives in the media.” Of course, there is no Media Matters link to Obama offered by the BreitBrats, nor any evidence that they have ever silenced any conservative. What right-wingers regard as silencing is really just getting caught saying what they actually believe. That’s all that Media Matters does.
Breitbart has been after Media Matters for a long time. They have challenged the tax-exempt status of Media Matters; accused them being anti-Christian and anti-American; charged that they get their marching orders from the White House, George Soros, or any other convenient rightist bogeyman. Even their hallowed leader, St. Andrew, has taken cheap shots at Media Matters and its founder, David Brock. He published an absurd article alleging some sort of conspiracy by the media to hide an old photograph of Brock that he characterized as narcissistic and homoerotic. But he could have been talking about himself and the photos he posed for in Time Magazine:
Breitbart’s destructive tendencies are well documented. He once swore to “bring down the institutional left” in three weeks. He’s more than four years overdue. Now his successors are nursing the same obsessions. And as usual they are incapable of providing a single example of anything that Media Matters has done that was incorrect or deserving of criticism. Their unambiguous goal (as they admitted above) is to tear down an organization that does nothing more than document the conservative bias in the media. It is a plainly articulated, well-financed, censorious revolt against truth – hence their name.
Last year’s mega-bomb crocumentary, Hating Breitbart, was such a commercial disaster that the producers launched a laughable campaign to get their fan boys/girls to buy extra copies and send them to people who would immediately throw them in the trash. I’m not kidding!
The BreitBrat producers framed this marketing scam as “offering fans of our movie the chance to ‘sponsor’ an intellectually malnourished member of the mainstream establishment.” What a magnanimous offer that doesn’t in any way rip off dimwits for the enrichment of shlock peddlers. It was such a great idea that I borrowed it myself to move copies of my book, Fox Nation vs. Reality.
Today, however, the BreitBrats have taken another step over the line that divides foolishness from insanity. They put out a press release bragging about what a monstrous success their little failure is: “Andrew Breitbart Biodoc Opens At #3; Digital Sales Strong As Movie Opens Across Multiple Platforms.”
The index to which these geniuses are referring is the one that Amazon posts with every product in their store. It is a volatile gauge that changes by the minute and only measures sales on Amazon. Hating Breitbart may have been at #3 at some point, but it was short-lived and probably the result of a spike from the producers buying copies themselves. At this writing it sits at #13.
For comparison, my book is presently at #9 in Amazon’s Political Advocacy category. But a few days ago it was at #2. Tomorrow it could be #22 or #4, all depending on how it sells in relation to how everything else on Amazon sells.
The press release goes on to celebrate what they call “a national theatrical release,” with numbers they boast are “pleasing.” But there is no evidence that such a release has occurred. There are no independent box office tallies. And they don’t bother to list any venues or ticket sales data in the release. I’m afraid that, like their Amazon hype, this is all in their heads. Or perhaps they just put together a nationwide exhibition of the film in the living rooms of Tea Partiers where they could include a scrumptious pot luck feast. Then, they could Tupperware-style push more copies of the DVD to gullible viewers.
Most producers sitting on a major flop would try not to attract more attention to their failure. But it seems somehow appropriate that the producers of a film about a loudmouth propagandist would continue shouting even after their project has hit the bottom of the barrel.
Earlier this week News Corpse reported that the desperate producers of the crocumentary “Hating Breitbart” had embarked on a program to convince their fans to buy multiple copies of the DVD and send them to liberal politicians, journalists, actors, etc. We regarded this idea as a hilarious and transparent ploy to salvage their failed film and we set about to mocking it. As I wrote last Tuesday…
“The producers must be stuck with a warehouse of these paperweights and believe that their fans are dumb enough to bail them out by buying more. […] Wouldn’t it just be easier to double the price and tell them the proceeds are going to Jesus?”
Well, I may have spoken too soon. After marathon conferences with our marketing executives and promotion consultants, we at News Corpse have determined that this sort of sales methodology has the potential to enhance the commercial prospects of our own already successful ebook “Fox Nation vs. Reality.” So today we are launching a version of the “Adopt A Wingnut” program that enables our enlightened audience to spread some of the truth and insight developed here to the community of deluded Fox Zombies who need it most. It’s a simple 3-step plan that everyone can join in on.
If you have not already purchased a copy of Fox Nation vs. Reality, do so immediately. It is an amusing and informative expose of the most brazenly dishonest efforts by Fox News to deceive their gullible fans.
Buy another copy of Fox Nation vs. Reality for an unfortunate friend or family member whose thinking has been clouded by the disinformation served up by Fox News. You can also buy copies for politicians, journalists, actors, teachers, professional colleagues, climate science deniers, Tea Partiers, bible thumpers, you name it. Be creative. Amazon makes it easy for you to designate the purchase as a gift and send the gift notice to the recipient.
Repeat Step Two as many times as necessary to complete your own list of needy neo-cons, theo-cons, and just plain cons (or until there is world peace and an end to hunger, whichever comes first).
Through this generous initiative we can have a real impact on the destructive propaganda that emanates from Fox News. The power of the human attributes of charity combined with effective social media can change the world and you can be a part of it. This is not some pipe dream cooked up by naive optimists. A check on Amazon today shows that Fox Nation vs. Reality is already ranking higher in sales than Breitbart’s autobiography, Righteous Indignation
Fox Nation vs. Reality: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,086
Righteous Indignation: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,624
(Note; these numbers seem to change by the minute, but these are the actual figures as of this writing. Also, while 28,086 seems like a high number, it is out of more than 1.3 million books. That puts it in the top three percentile.)
It is time to stand up and be counted. It is time to take positive steps toward a better world. It is time to lend a hand to the less fortunate. Just think about how badly these poor souls need the nourishment of honesty and truth. And try to imagine how much more compassionate and rational our world will be when we have eradicated the ignorance and hostility that is emblematic of the righteous-wing of the American political spectrum.
This is a moral crusade and it needs your participation to succeed. I know I can count on you. And as always, thanks for your dedication and benevolence. Your purchases will help News Corpse to continue to bring you the best in media analysis, conservative smackdowns, and political humor and art.
Following in the footsteps of “Atlas Shrugged” and “Sarah Palin Undefeated,” the new documentary “Hating Breitbart,” about the late Andrew Breitbart, made a beeline for the bargain bins at your local video store. It was a dismal flop at the box office despite massive marketing to the Tea Party crowd that producers thought would eat it up.
In their desperation the producers have initiated a unique marketing plan that illustrates just how delusional they are in believing that they can salvage their investment and/or integrity. The plan involves persuading their most mentally-deficient followers to buy copies of the DVD for various liberals in what they describe as a “sponsorship” in the vein of those late-night television appeals for starving third-world children. From the Hating Breitbart web site:
“At Hating Breitbart, we believe liberalism is an illness that is best treated with a healthy diet of being exposed to different points of view. We’re offering fans of our movie the chance to “sponsor” an intellectually malnourished member of the mainstream establishment by ordering a copy of the film to be sent to them to help overcome years of indoctrination by the liberal elite.”
Pleasse forghive me. It is mush hard er to type whil laughing hystrically than I thoght. OK, let me try this again.
The BreitBrats think that it’s a good idea to convince people to buy extra copies of their DVD (at 15 bucks a pop) for liberal politicians, journalists, entertainers, etc. The producers must be stuck with a warehouse of these paperweights and believe that their fans are dumb enough to bail them out by buying more. Of course, the intended recipients (i.e. Michael Moore, Rachel Maddow, Nancy Pelosi) are only going to deposit the DVDs in the trash.
Since there is no chance whatsoever that they will waste their time watching this dreck, the only real purpose for this campaign is to separate the flock from more of their cash and to enrich the incompetent producers. Wouldn’t it just be easier to double the price and tell them the proceeds are going to Jesus? But a bigger problem is that these conservative Randians are abandoning the pretense that they actually believe in the primacy of the free market. The people have spoken with their wallets. For God’s sake, let it go.
Yesterday a panel at CPAC (which I believe stands for Conniving Propagandists And Crooks) was held following the screening of “Hating Breitbart,” a crockumentary glorifying the late Andrew Breitbart. The topic of the event was “The Uninvited,” a reference to fringe conservatives who are allegedly kept from appearing in the mainstream media. Participating on the panel were several Breitbart-affiliated folks, including the disgraced video mangler, James O’Keefe, and a lone representative of Media Matters, Ari Rabin-Havt.
In the course of the discussion (video below) O’Keefe protested that he felt he was “held to a higher standard than any Pulitzer Prize winner.” Whereupon, BreitBrat editor Larry O’Conner defended O’Keefe by rejecting the notion that just because O’Keefe’s videos were found to have been deceptively edited that “everything O’Keefe does should be considered a fraud.” Actually, that’s precisely what should be done when someone has proven he’s a fraud on multiple occasions.
The discussion eventually veered off into an attack on Media Matters with O’Conner questioning the veracity of their content. When Rabin-Havt began to defend himself, in what seemed to be a transparently staged tossing of the baton, O’Conner recognized Breitbart’s Editor in Chief Joel Pollak in the audience and asked him to weigh in on the subject.
Pollak was visibly upset at what he characterized as a smear directed at him by Media Matters. He cited an article that he claimed accused him of being a birther. Standing in the audience he pointed his finger at Rabin-Havt and arrogantly insisted that “The next word out of your mouth should be ‘Sorry.'” But that was just a small portion of the generalized indictment he made of Media Matters:
Pollak: There’s a Media Matters method, it’s this: You make a statement in the headline that is not proven in the article. The lefties to whom you sell your material, or distribute your material, don’t care about the proof, they care about the headline. So you put in that headline that I’m a birther even though you admit I’m not a birther.
Alright, let’s break this down. First of all, Pollak’s assertion that Media Matters makes unproven statements in their headlines is itself unproven. Media Matters is meticulous about documenting what they publish, and the “lefties” and others who read it care very much that thoroughness. As for the article Pollak referenced, it was posted on Media Matters on March 13, with the title “What The Media Need To Know About CPAC 2013.” Notice that there is nothing in the headline about anyone being birther and that Pollak isn’t in it at all. So much for his thesis that Media Matters composes false headlines and fails to back them up.
Ironically, Pollak’s complaint applies perfectly to his own article on Breitbart News that Media Matters was writing about in the first place. That article’s headline was “The Vetting – Exclusive – Obama’s Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: ‘Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'”
From the wording of that headline it would not be much of a stretch to conclude that the article was advancing birtherism by questioning Obama’s birthplace. Pollak said that he only intended to make a point that Obama, or his representatives, altered his biography when it suited him. However, that was not the inference in his headline. And it could be said of Breitbart what they said of Media Matters – that they “don’t care about the proof, they care about the headline.” What’s more, the first paragraph of the article began by affirming the birtherism in the headline:
“Breitbart News has obtained a promotional booklet produced in 1991 by Barack Obama’s then-literary agency, Acton & Dystel, which touts Obama as ‘born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.'”
To be fair, there was a “Note from Senior Management” appended to the top of Pollak’s article that asserted that “Andrew Breitbart was never a ‘Birther,’ and Breitbart News is a site that has never advocated the narrative of ‘Birtherism.'” The fact that that note was necessary is telling in itself. But it’s a rather hollow disclaimer when the headline and the opening paragraph seemingly contradict it. Pollak also wrote that “The errant Obama biography in the Acton & Dystel booklet does not contradict the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate.” That’s true, but as Rabin-Havt pointed out, he had not called Pollak a birther. He had simply asserted that Pollak and Breitbart were still responsible for advancing the birther theme even if they themselves did not subscribe to it. And they did that by publishing articles with misleading headlines and expecting to absolve themselves of the birther taint by rejecting it several paragraphs later.
This bit of theatrics staged by the BreitBrats fits nicely into their modus operandi. It is the sort of ambush that Breitbart himself would have enjoyed pulling off. And it even starred Breitbart’s budding video propagandist, little Jimmy O’Keefe. But once again, when the facts are revealed in full, their deceit is all too apparent. The Media Matters article did not call Pollak a birther in the headline. Although Breitbart’s article did question Obama’s birthplace in their headline.
So the BreitBrats got together and conspired to ambush Rabin-Havt with a false accusation that he had done what the BreitBrats actually did do. And then they complain when nobody will take them seriously, and they wonder why they are “The Uninvited” and why everyone hates Breitbart.
CNN, the network that is presently struggling in third place in the cable news field it once dominated, has published an interview of Glenn Beck that sets a new standard for obsequious pandering. The article is not much more than a promotional vehicle for Beck’s new media enterprise and fails to disclose that two Beck employees currently work for CNN (Amy Holmes and Will Cain).
The article’s lede concerns Beck’s announcement that he is folding his GBTV web video unit into his web tabloid site TheBlaze. The author, Steve Krakauer, makes little mention of Beck’s vulgar rhetoric and conspiratorial delusions, instead describing Beck euphemistically as “a man full of complexities.” The only complex that can be associated with Beck is his Messianic one. He also doesn’t bother to offer any analysis of whether the merger is the result of rapid success, as Beck claims, or due to poor performance necessitating a merger to reduce costs.
Krakauer takes Beck’s claims of his alleged success at face value. He repeats estimates for subscriber numbers without attempting to verify the claim or inquire as to whether they are actually paying for the service. GBTV offers free trials for new subscribers, but does not reveal how many subscribers are paying or how many cancel after the free trial expires.
Then Krakauer gets into some truly puzzling territory when he permits Beck to assert his brand of fairness and balance. Krakauer cites what he calls the “clear non-Beckness” of TheBlaze, and lets Beck complete the picture by saying that “If you just look at the comments section, there are people who read the Blaze all the time but hate my guts.” Why that would surprise anyone is beyond comprehension. The Internet has a wide open, frontier ethos that allows everyone access to everything. It stands to reason that Beck’s adversaries would visit his site, just as Tea Partiers show up at the DailyKos. That is not evidence that TheBlaze is independent of Beck, just that it is online. And Krakauer’s next example of Beck’s alleged impartiality is no better. He cites an incident when TheBlaze criticized a fellow conservative:
“[O]ne of the most memorable and talked about series of articles on TheBlaze.com was a meticulous debunking of the James O’Keefe NPR videos, which claimed to show an NPR executive denigrating the Tea Party, that ran on an Andrew Breitbart-associated website.”
Indeed, TheBlaze did publish a detailed breakdown of O’Keefe’s slanderous hoax. But what Krakauer leaves out is that Beck was not acting out of any sense of journalistic integrity. He and Breitbart were engaged in a bitter feud at the time, with each alleging the other was a backstabbing phony. That may have had something to do with Beck’s takedown of Breitbart’s protege. However, Krakauer uncritically lets Beck get away with portraying himself as even-handed, but misunderstood:
“I think that’s people forgetting who I was and what I was saying when I was on CNN before Barack Obama. […] Nobody ever, ever gives me credit for the times I’ve said on the air ‘the president is right on this, did this right’ or ‘the media is unfair by trying to say this about the president,’ or ‘the right is unfair.’ I bet I do that at least once a month.”
That’s just revisionist history on Beck’s part. He was broadly criticized for his dishonest and hateful rhetoric on Headline News. And, of course, it was that very rhetoric that got him his job at Fox after CNN ditched him. And the reason he doesn’t get credit for commending the President is because it occurred so rarely and only between accusations of fascism, socialism, racism, and threats of destroying America.
Astonishingly, Krakauer writes without any sense of irony that “Beck isn’t outwardly supporting either of the two major candidates in the 2012 election.” If he believes that he’s ready for the guys in white suits with the butterfly nets to take him to the friendly asylum in the country with the barbed wire fences. Does Krakauer think for a second that Beck would consider supporting the man he characterizes as a Stalinist bent on assuming tyrannical control of the nation and executing all resistors? Beck may not have endorsed Romney in so many words, but he has stated explicitly that America cannot survive another four years of Obama. So who do you think he’s supporting?
The article concludes with Krakauer gifting Beck with a closing statement that makes him appear to be some sort of visionary:
“We are on the threshold of something I think is as powerful as the Industrial Revolution was, except this one will happen in a very short period of time.”
Really? The threshold? Sorry but this revolution began at least twenty years ago. And many true visionaries were (and are) way ahead of Beck. The only thing Beck has done is to post web videos and publish an online tabloid-style news site. That has been done so much it’s almost passe. Every brick and mortar television station and newspaper has been doing it for years. Where’s the innovation? Saying his unoriginal venture is on par with the Industrial Revolution is like saying that starting a new blog today is on par with Gutenberg. Never mind that millions of bloggers have been doing for years.
This puff piece appearing on CNN is in line with their recent editorial direction. They have been heading ever more determinedly toward a Fox-Lite state that has done nothing for them but land them in the ratings cellar (a condition I wrote about just a couple of weeks ago). It’s a sad state of affairs for both CNN and the viewing public who would be better served by an honest, professional news provider than another megaphone for right-wing propaganda.
A few days ago I posted an article in response to a moronic ratings analysis by Breitbart’s editor-in-chief John Nolte. I noted that Nolte’s glee over the Daily Show having lower ratings than some other cable programs was a vacant and desperate stab at relevance, particularly considering that the ratings of his right-wing darlings at Fox News were even lower.
What I hadn’t noticed at the time was that Nolte is virtually fixated on what any coherent observer would agree is the unparalleled success of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The late night Comedy Central pair have created a Renaissance of political satire and much of their humorous insight has entered the popular culture. In addition to their broad-based popularity, they have both been the recipients of numerous broadcasting awards – and not just Emmys, but journalism honors. The Colbert Report just won its second Peabody this month.
That must be why the Breitbrats are so feverishly hammering away at these stars of satire. Nolte is either consumed with jealousy or merely suffering from a paranoid psychosis triggered by his Olympian lameness. In the past month Nolte has published four articles all making the same insipid and easily rebutted claim that Stewart and Colbert are failures. Four articles restating the same misinformation. But worse, Nolte imagines some Grand Design being orchestrated by Comedy Central and the White House to subvert – oh, I don’t know – motherhood? The NRA? Democracy? God’s will? In his dementia Nolte describes Stewart and Colbert as…
“…elite millionaire, speech-policing leftists,” and… “…the dynamic duo of left-wing free speech oppressors…” and… “…left-wing, speech policing, Obama Palace Guards…”
Talk about delusional. And he hasn’t even gotten warmed up. He also declared that…
“It’s all a mainstream media scam used to protect Obama and to get leftist talking points out there using a Trojan horse marked ‘satire.’ and… “The corrupt entertainment media creates a phony reality around television shows they like.”
Nolte takes particular offense at Colbert about whom he rants…
“There’s a HUGE left-wing agenda behind what Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert is doing, and it’s a serious agenda that has nothing to do with satire.” And that Colbert is…
“…attacking constitutional free speech by attempting to make a mockery of a new Supreme Court ruling that finally allows private citizens and corporations to have as much say in the political process as Stephen Colbert and corporations like, say, Comedy Central.” [Editor’s note: Comedy Central is not a corporation]
Who knew? The Stewart/Colbert cabal to undermine America’s foundations, in concert with a Marxist Manchurian in the White House, is conspiring to silence “private citizens and corporations” like the Koch brothers, and China’s biggest trading partner, Wal-Mart. Indeed, Colbert’s mockery of the Citizen’s United decision is brutal in that it exposes the blatant excess of corporate billions corrupting the democratic process. Thank goodness for the Breitbrats who single-handedly come to the defense of otherwise defenseless waifs like ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, and AstroTurf Tea Party sugar-daddies at Americans for Prosperity.
I’m not sure why Nolte is so obsessed that he feels it’s necessary to repeatedly pound on a couple of comedy programs, especially when those programs are often as tough on liberals as they are on conservatives as I documented here. Perhaps he doesn’t like the abundance of dick jokes. Or maybe it’s just a part of his moral character that compels him to speak out when he sees injustice, such as this recent outpouring of outrage over an HBO program that crossed the lines of decency.
Apparently the outrageousness of the program was not enough to keep Nolte from republishing the object of his disgust. And he further demonstrated his moral fiber and family values by advocating the murder of the child-actress’ mother (Nolte later scrubbed that remark and replaced it with one saying that the mother should lose custody of her children). And somewhere in the process Nolte hallucinates that the left is supportive of this sort of televised gross-out.
I can’t say that I was ever a fan of Andrew Breitbart. In fact, I considered him to be a deliberately dishonest purveyor of propaganda who reveled in rancor and divisiveness. But still, I have to wonder if he would be proud of his successors who are driving his media empire into ever more juvenile territory. I would imagine that he would at least be dismayed at what a hopelessly ineffective operation they have turned his web site into by slathering it up with such puerile trash. On the other hand, Breitbart’s biggest claim to fame was posting a TwitPic of a congressman’s wiener. So respectability was never really a part of his mission, but the wiener obsession survives.
Despite his untimely passing, Andrew Breitbart still seems to command attention from the mainstream media hacks who think that what he did was journalism. His ghost has the uncanny ability to summon up fables and pass them on to naive reporters desperate for a hot story.
The much heralded release of Breitbart’s supposedly explosive video that he promised would unmask the racially radical philosophy that President Barack Obama has been trying to conceal for twenty years came out this week. And there hasn’t been a more anticlimactic unveiling since Geraldo Rivera opened Al Capone’s safe. But worse than just the sad spectacle of a failed exposé, the whole production number orchestrated by the Breitbartians (the inept crew that Breitbart left behind) fell apart amidst a tsunami of hype and lies. The list of unmet assertions is long and pathetic:
Claim #1) The videos would “vet” the President in a way he had not been vetted before. The result would dash his reelection hopes. The Truth: The video was a harmless look back at a youthful and poised Obama advocating for more diversity on the Harvard faculty. If anything it makes Obama look better.
Claim #2) The Breitbartians accused Buzzfeed of “selectively editing” the video they released ahead of Breitbart’s big scoop. The Truth: When the Breitbartians released their “uncut” version it had about two seconds at the end that showed Obama hugging the professor he had just introduced. Not exactly the makings of a scandal.
Claim #3) Prof. Derrick Bell was an extremist whose relationship with Obama was evidence of Obama’s radical roots. The Breitbartians repeatedly called him “the Jeremiah Wright of academia” in an attempt to paint a false and derogatory picture of Bell. The Truth: Bell was a respected and admired legal professor and scholar whose work is still revered and taught at law schools around the country.
Claim #4) There was a conspiratorial effort to prevent the video from ever being released. The Breitbartians alleged that remarks made by Harvard professor Charles Ogletree were an admission of such. The Truth: Ogletree was obviously joking when he said that “we hid this during the 2008 campaign.” He and his audience were laughing at the statement. Ogletree spoke with the Boston Herald today and affirmed this.
Claim #5) Derrick Bell had made two visits to the White House in 2010. I’m not sure why there would be anything wrong with a law professor visiting his former student at his new job in the White House, but nevertheless, the allegation was put forth as some sort of suspicious activity. The Truth: It was a different Derrick Bell who was visiting the White House on a routine tour. Seriously, don’t these righties ever try to verify anything?
When you look back at all of the absurd concoctions that have been floated on the Breitbart network of web sites, you really have to ask yourself, why does anyone continue to pay attention to these people? Their record of mistakes, misrepresentations, and outright dishonesty should exempt them from being taken seriously by any other media outlet. How about we start to hold the media accountable for their poor judgment?
I would, however, like to thank the Breitbartians for having brought attention to the inspiring video of a young, activist Obama in his college days. I think that’s worth another look:
Yesterday was the day that the video Andrew Breitbart promised of a racially divisive Barack Obama in his days as a student at Harvard was released. It was almost universally panned as a pathetic and desperate boatload of nothing. After first yammering that the video posted by Buzzfeed (scooping Breitbart) was “selectively edited,” the Breitbartians posted what they said was the “uncut” video. Their version contained about two seconds more that consisted entirely of Obama hugging Prof. Derrick Bell, whom he had just introduced at a rally.
Since the video itself was proven to have no material evidence of anything the least bit detrimental to Obama, much less the cataclysmic data that would doom his career, the Breitbartians resorted to Plan B: Demonize Prof. Bell and tie him around Obama’s neck. This was a coordinated plot that began with Breitbart editor-in-chief Joel Pollak robotically repeating the mantra that “Derrick Bell was the Jeremiah Wright of academia.” Pollak even went on CNN and admitted that the video was irrelevant, and when Soledad O’Brein asked him “Then where’s the bombshell, I don’t see it?” Pollak responded that “The bombshell is the revelation of the relationship between Barack Obama and Derrick Bell.” But that wasn’t any revelation at all.
The argument that the Breitbartians are making rests on their assertion that Bell’s writings on Critical Race Theory define him as a racial radical. In fact, CRT is an aggregation of legal concepts that bring together law, politics, economics, etc., in a broad-based study of race and power in society. It posits that there are institutional barriers to eradicating racism that must be addressed at the root level. Those barriers are evident in things like employment practices and school admissions. Another example is the judicial system that incarcerates a higher percentage of African-Americans than their representation in the population. Affirming that example is the fact that crack cocaine, used by more African-Americans than whites, is punishable by sentences ten times more severe than powder cocaine, for which you find more white offenders.
Nevertheless, the Breitbartians are deliberately misinterpreting the legal theory in order to condemn its proponents, including Bell. In this way they can assert that Obama, as a result of his having studied at Harvard, is also a racial radical. The object is to incite fear among those who are ill-informed that Obama aspires to threaten their status in society. He is coming after your jobs, your schools, your churches, all the trappings of your comfortable, privileged lives.
In the wake of the initial flop of the video’s release, the right-wing media has been redoubling its efforts to stir up a phony controversy. Fox Nation has posted multiple stories on the subject (it has been at the top of their page for two days running). Fox News has featured it on their broadcasts, notably the video “exclusive” presented by Sean Hannity. Ironically, Fox Nation posted a video of a debate about Bell between Michelle Malkin and Juan Williams, but edited out Williams entirely.
Note the edit at about 2:20 where Hannity says that Juan’s gonna disagree, but then fades to Malkin saying “No, no. no.”. What Williams said in between was…
“Well, first of all, I must say, I thought this was going to be so much more. I thought this was going to be the smoking gun, as you describe it. But it really didn’t come too much. I mean, I just don’t think that there is.”
And that’s all that Williams was permitted to say in the entire segment, but they even cut that out when they put it online. And then they have the nerve to complain, falsely, that others “selectively edited” video.
Pollak and his Breitbart colleague Ben Shapiro have been making the rounds on the lamestream media. On CNN they argued with Soledad O’Brien over the meaning of Critical Race Theory, but spoke very little about what any of it had to do with Obama, despite O’Brien’s attempts to steer them back to the topic. That’s a tactic designed to keep the focus off of substance and aimed squarely at innuendo and slander. For good measure they threw in a bashing of the media for trying to suppress the video (for what reason, they never make clear), and to silence them (even while they are speaking on the air).
For its part, the Breitbart web site has been piling on with articles that reek of racism. One article was authored by J. Christian Adams, a notorious race-baiter who has accused Eric Holder’s Justice Department of coddling civil rights violators if they happened to be black. He wrote that…
“Both Obama and Bell demanded that Harvard hire professors on the basis of race. […] The Obama-Bell connection is the latest in a pattern of Barack Obama’s associations with individuals who promoted a racially divisive America.”
That’s an open assault on affirmative action, which was not developed to produce hiring on the basis of race, but to put an end to it. Adams also repeated the lie that Obama had appeared with a member of the New Black Panther Party. In fact, Obama attended a civil rights rally that was attended by thousands of people, one of whom happened to be an NBPP member. Obama had no control over who came to a massive, public rally. Adams also characterized cases of civil rights abuse as “crackpot racial grievances.” That pretty much reveals his personal bias.
Another story posted by the Breitbartians alleged that “Obama Forced His Students To Read Bell at the University of Chicago Law School.” Their evidence was a document describing a course that Obama was teaching. The course was “Current Issues in Racism and the Law.” It would be difficult to teach such a class without the textbook materials by one of this generations most respected scholars on that subject. But the allegation is made even worse by that use of the word “forced” as if it were under duress. By that measure isn’t every student forced to read something? In fact, many of the references to Bell’s writings specifically said that they were optional reading.
Meanwhile, over at NewsBusters, there was an article that alleged that the non-event video was being suppressed as part of a conspiracy orchestrated by George Soros (Isn’t it always?). The evidence of that was that Soros’ foundations had made donations to Harvard (where the video took place) and WGBH (the public TV station that owned the video). Using their logic I can surmise that the Koch brothers are behind this whole phony video scandal because they have made contributions to NewsBusters.
And, believe it or not, they even have a Plan C: It’s a Cover Up! The video was a bust. The racial attacks could backfire. So if all else fails, blame it on a massive cover up. The Breitbartians took on another black Harvard professor, Charles Ogletree, by posting a video wherein he said that “We hid this during the 2008 campaign…” He was referring to the video of Obama at Harvard. Of course there would have been no reason to do that since, if anything, the video shows Obama in a positive light. The truth is that Ogletree was joking. He even laughed immediately after, which proves that he was humorously dismissing the throw-away line. but, not surprisingly, the humor-challenged righties didn’t get, even though Ogletree’s audience did.
The absence of any substance on the video has led to a redirection by the right to their usual stance against Obama – he’s black. His associates are black. And they advocate for radical concepts like equal justice under the law. They support fairness in hiring and other social contracts. They oppose discrimination.
If anyone is advancing a racialist philosophy, it’s the right-wingers who are peddling this repulsive nonsense. And if there is anything positive to take away from this, it is that they have once again shown their true colors. It isn’t about a video of a young future president. It isn’t about health care or oil prices or deficits. It is, and always has been, about one thing for these meatheads. They just can’t accept a black man in their White House.