March 1, 2012

Rush Rips Into the AP’s ‘Outrageous Mendacity’ in Coverage of ‘Loudmouth’ Breitbart’s Passing

Anyone who saw what the Associated Press wrote when former Bush 43 press secretary Tony Snow died in 2008 (original AP article; related NewsBusters post) knew that the wire service would do what it could to subtly distort Andrew Breitbart’s considerable accomplishments in exposing leftist hatred, duplicity, and criminality. The only question was what form(s) it would take.

Not surprisingly, reporters/distorters Philip Elliott and Sue Manning misrepresented or omitted key elements of the three episodes for which Breitbart will be best remembered — the James O’Keefe-led ACORN stings; Shirley Sherrod, Pigford lawsuit opportunist; and his exposure (so to speak) of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sleazy online escapades. The 11:44 a.m. version of their report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purporses) was bad enough. In their 1:56 p.m. revision (saved here), perhaps egged on by the vitriol which has been posted all day at leftist sites, they descended into cheap-shot name-calling adjectives which would rarely if ever be used to describe activist leftists. In his opening hour today, Rush Limbaugh covered some of what happened during the three key episodes; I will expand on them later in the post:

… the AP in their story, slash, obit of Andrew Breitbart misrepresents him, even in death. And maybe fittingly, given his quest in life, this AP article is a textbook example of the kind of outrageous mendacity in the news media today that he fought against. Even in death the AP cannot refrain from lying about him and misrepresenting him. They treat his posting of the Shirley Sherrod video clip as one of the highlights of his career only in order to use it against him. But Breitbart’s clip did not misrepresent her views.

The clip that he posted — he had the Big Government websites, Big Journalism websites — the clip that he posted of Shirley Sherrod contained enough of her comments that any fair-minded viewer would realize she was telling the audience about her previous prejudices. This was the case involving all of the mythical black farmers that were signed up for a giant government payout. She and her husband were in on that, and so many of them were not qualified to receive the payment. … He exposed Shirley Sherrod, just as he supposed Anthony Weiner’s photos, or Anthony’s Weiner photos, he exposed ‘em. Where’s Weiner today? He’s walking the baby to the dry cleaners in Queens.

… Then there was ACORN. Remember the James O’Keefe videos. That was Andrew Breitbart. They went walking in portraying a pimp and a prostitute looking for ways to scam the system, and there was ACORN telling ‘em how to do it. All caught on tape. It caused ACORN to theoretically shut down, and change their name and come back to life as a bunch of separate organizations. The AP article damns Andrew Breitbart with faint praise. It describes him as “an outspoken critic of the mainstream media but was lionized by his fans for his efforts at exposing government corruption and media bias.” Now, was he only lionized by his fans?

Wouldn’t you think that real life journalists would applaud Breitbart’s efforts to expose government corruption and media bias? I mean, what does the media claim to exist to do? To hold the powerful accountable! “Speak truth to power,” is that the phrase? Well, the mainstream media has become part of the power. When that power is held by the Democrat Party, the mainstream media covers up the corruption. He was exposing it. He did more and greater work than Woodward and Bernstein! He should have been one of their heroes. But he wasn’t. He should have been given the same kind of hero worship that Woodward and Bernstein have gotten. And unlike the work of Woodward and Bernstein, Breitbart’s investigations were actually truthful.

… the AP notes that, quote, “Breitbart’s websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera sting video that brought embarrassment to the community group ACORN. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp,” close quote, which is another blatant misrepresentation. We all know that those ACORN staffers were doing more than “offering advice on taxes and other issues.” Why else would they have been fired? They were all fired in humiliating disgrace. Why didn’t ACORN lose its funding? Why was it disbanded, and then rebranded and put back together?

Because of Andrew Breitbart.

All in all, this AP article just goes to show that the country desperately needs another thousand more Andrew Breitbarts, if you ask me.

Couldn’t agree more, El Rushbo.

For the record, here is an event-by-event correction of AP’s 11:44 a.m. write-up. First, Shirley Sherrod:

Sherrod, who is black, was fired from her job as Georgia state rural development director in July 2010 after an edited video surfaced of her making what appeared to be a racist remark. She is seen telling a local NAACP group that she was initially reluctant to help a white farmer save his farm more than two decades ago, long before she worked for USDA.

Missing from the clip was the rest of the speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing. Sherrod told the crowd she eventually realized her mistake and helped the farmer save his farm.

Points:

  • Shirley Sherrod was offered her job back and rejected the offer. In other words, she could have avoided playing the martyr had she wished.
  • Almost no one reported the fact that the Sherrods and their “New Communities” entity received a proudly trumpeted settlement of $13 million just days before she accepted her position at USDA.
  • The sentiment uttered in the Breitbart video was racist, and the African-American audience clearly enjoyed it. What follows is my opinion, but I believe that Sherrod made a political calculation that she couldn’t get away with what she was thinking about doing to the white farmer, and later decided to put her change of heart into a pretty outfit. Given the rest of her record and that of her husband, it’s hard to see how I can be proven wrong.
  • Charles Sherrod was caught on video in a university speech advocating bizarre and clearly separatist ideas and racist whines (“create a food delivery system from the South to our people in the North”; “our labor and our monies and our contracts usually end up in white folks’ hands and pockets”; “Finally we must stop the white man and his Uncle Toms from stealing our elections. We must not be afraid to vote black”).
  • Nobody in the establishment press ever exposed the illegal and sometimes brutal employment practices of the Sherrods when they were engaged in farming during the 1970s, backed up by an “I was there” commentary at Counterpunch.com, where Ron Wilkins noted that conditions were so bad that “the United Farm Workers (were) called in to defend these laborers against such exploitation by management.”

Next, O’Keefe/ACORN:

Breitbart’s websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera video that brought embarrassment to the community group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp.

Those videos triggered a firestorm of criticism, with some ACORN employees appearing willing to support illegal schemes involving tax advice, misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children.

An internal review later concluded the videos “feed the impression that ACORN believes it is above the law.” The internal investigation and a Government Accountability Office report cleared ACORN of criminal activities.

Even so, public pressure led Congress to block previously approved funds from going to ACORN and to stop future payments. Roughly 10 percent of ACORN’s funds came from federal grants and the group eventually disbanded.

Points:

  • The employees didn’t “appear” willing; they were willing, underhandedly creative, and almost eager.
  • The “internal investigation was not the promised “audit,” which should have been conducted by a reputable CPA firm instead of lifelong Democrat and bogus Amirault child-abuse case prosecutor Scott Harshbarger, who generated the predictable whitewash.
  • The reason ACORN “disbanded” (but in many cases remains under different names in many cities) is because corporate and charitable donations dried up once O’Keefe exposed the cretinous behavior at several ACORN offices.
  • As far as I know, no one besides yours truly made what was an obvious point, namely that ACORN’s housing and tax assistance work, based on information it disclosed itself, were from all appearances barely blips compared to what other charitable groups were doing, that they didn’t help that many people, and that they appeared to function as cover for its main mission of mass-registering voters and submitting questionable voter-registration cards to potentially influence future elections.

Finally, Weiner:

Breitbart also sparked a controversy that ultimately led to the resignation of Weiner, whose problems began on May 28 when Bretibart’s biggovernment.com posted a lewd photograph of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner’s Twitter account to a Seattle woman.

… The congressman denied sending the photo and said he had retained an attorney and hired a private security company to figure out how someone could pull off such a prank.

But Weiner dropped that story line on June 6, offering a lengthy public confession at a Manhattan news conference, acknowledging to online activity involving at least six women.

The biggest miss here is the omission of Breitbart’s gutsy, spur-of-the-moment decision to speak at that June 6 conference. As the Hollywood Reporter noted, despite insisting that Breitbart “hijacked” the press conference, “50 reporters surrounded him asking questions. Reporters, in fact, asked him to take the stage so that they would hear him better.” Had Weiner shown up on time, the “hijacking” which wasn’t would never have happened.

In their 1:56 p.m. report Elliott and Manning began the denigration, starting with the headline:

Loved and hated, Breitbart dies in LA at 43

Caustic commentator Andrew Breitbart was loved and hated.

The conservative media publisher and activist who died Thursday was embraced by anti-tax, conservative tea partiers and reviled by liberals for his Internet investigations that brought down politicians and chastised mainstream journalism.

Breitbart, 43, was behind investigations that led to the resignations of former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York and former U.S. Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod.

His loudmouth style was lionized by his fans for exposing government corruption and media bias. He was a colorful and often abrasive user of Twitter, including a final message that called a follower a “putz.”

Breitbart was skilled at finding issues that pushed conservative buttons while pulling Internet traffic to his websites anchored to news aggregator Brietbart.com.

… Breitbart’s online profile called him a “mild-mannered family guy,” However, Rick Santorum said he was a “powerful force.” (as if you can’t be one without the other? — Ed.)

One suspects that they and the folks who take over on the next shift won’t stop there in future revisions.

The only people who “hated” Andrew Breitbart were those who can’t handle the truth about this country’s media-assisted statist direction, especially when it’s rubbed in their faces. That group would appear to include many of those at the so-called Essential Global News Network who are supposedly dedicated to the truth wherever it leads, but have instead become a shameless establishment lapdog organization appropriately nicknamed the Administration’s Press, populated by many who can barely restrain themselves from crossing over into where hardened leftists are going today in virtually celebrating Breitbart’s untimely passing.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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