ABC's invitation to Andrew Breitbart -- another sad day for the media
The right wing's relentless campaign against the so-called liberal media is bearing fruit, to the detriment of us all
ABC News has tapped conservative activist Andrew Breitbart to participate in its election night coverage. This is follows a trend of extreme right wing news manipulators getting access mainstream news platforms. If you remember, shortly after Loud Dobbs left, CNN announced it would be hiring Erick Erickson of Redstate.com. JD Hayworth, the failed tea-party backed Arizona senatorial hopeful, infamous for his consistent and merciless anti-immigrant race-baiting in that primary, is now apparently on staff at the “left-leaning” MSNBC. What is going on? The mainstream cable outlets are out-whoring themselves for notable personalities to drive ratings. They are playing this Jerry Springer-esque game of posing political opposites, then asking a few questions, and sitting back once the fighting begins. What they are not doing is furthering the political debate? Or even informing their viewers.
Conservative activist (not even close to being a journalist) Andrew Breitbart
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In many ways, Breitbart is worse than the above conservative pontificators. This guy has made a career out of doctoring video and putting out false news reports, primarily to malign black people and convince other conservatives that black people are racist. He’s behind the Shirley Sherrod video. In that case, he edited a video from a presentation she gave years ago and used a snippet of more than 10 minutes worth of remarks. While Sherrod was clearly trying to illustrate that we all as citizens need to get past racist and skin color. This guy makes the unethical move of making it appear as if she is admitting to being a racist, and admitting to allow her resentment towards white people affect how she performs her job at the Department of Agriculture. It was a lie, a big, made-up premeditated attempt at painting this black woman as a racist. By association it was an attempt at discrediting the NAACP. The NAACP has just recently asked the tea party to root out some of the racist rhetoric in their movement. How does Breitbart respond? By trying to take down an innocent public servant. Sherrod is now pursuing a lawsuit against Breitbart. Breitbart was then clearly discredited as anything resembling a legitimate journalist. Breitbart was also behind the ACORN "pimp and ho" video tape. He worked closely with the now infamous conservative activist James O’Keefe. O’Keefe and a female colleague, according to the video, dressed as a “pimp and a prostitute” and walked into several ACORN offices to receive services. That video, too, was found to be heavily doctored and without any merit. In the end, ACORN was exonerated of all wrongdoing. But it was too late, this lie destroyed this national nonprofit. Until this election cycle, ACORN has been responsible for registering more poor and African Americans to vote than any other group in U.S. history.
Breitbart is also behind the New Black Panther party story. In this case, a few knuckleheads yelled obscenities at white voters. This case, literally based on one encounter, has now risen to the highest levels of government. Just last year, the Human Rights Commission was unable to reach a vote on this case. It is being used as ammunition by the Republican party to launch investigations against the Justice Department. And Breitbart’s not even done with this race-baiting. Just today on his website, he had more doctored video about the New Black Panthers, claiming they would be out at Houston polling places on election day to do harm to tea party toll watchers. His most recent blatant race-bating narrative he’s shopping around on the conservativeradio circuit involves the National Association of Black Farmers. These poor families are still waiting to be compensated by the federal government over a federal discrimination claim. But Breitbart issues completely false claims they are fraudsters.Breitbart is no more a legitimate journalist than Rush Limbaugh. He should not be given this platform. It only exasperates what ails journalism today. Colorofchange.org has initiated a campaign to prevent ABC from having Breitbart participate in its election coverage. You can participate in that campaign here. Since then, ABC, according to Breitbart’s own website has walked back their plans to allow him to participate. “In response to the announcement that I would provide my analysis on ABC News from Arizona on election night, like-clockwork, from the George Soros-funded Media Matters to Keith Olbermann to Huffington Post to Daily Kos to Talking Points Memo to Twitter (#boycottABCNEWS), the institutional left began on Friday to inundate ABC News with a wave of partisan objections and unfounded allegations against me,” Breitbart wrote on his website. “What was ABC News’ response? Not standing up for free speech and the 1st Amendment. Not sticking by their original invitation. Not standing up for diversity of opinion.” Oh, poor bigoted, lying little baby! It’s interesting when anyone tries to make a distinction between spreading lies and telling the truth, between manipulating the news and reporting, between diversity of opinion and race-baiting, these guys always retreat back to their “freedom of speech” stance. The difference to me is pretty clear. It’s about standards and a news agency, a real one and I’m not talking about Fox News should have them. It should not provide massive platforms for people whose entire goal is life is to undermine reputable news reporting.