Andrew Breitbart's Pathetic Attempt to Smear Occupy Wall St.
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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. Friday 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 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.
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.