God forgive me, I’ve never said this before, but America is a better place tonight because someone died today. What a horrible thing to say! But there it is.
Andrew Breitbart dropped dead unexpectedly today. His fellow journalists, eager to justify one of their own and “Make Some Larger Sense Of It All”, are already embarrassing themselves with their eulogies. Breitbart was the “cutting edge of the new journalism.” He “was among the first to see” that with the internet, the old standards of journalism no longer applied.” Blah, blah, blah.
No. Andrew Breitbart was nothing more than an accomplished liar. His “gotcha” journalism was deliberately dishonest but he justified his lies in the name of a higher truth. If he victimized his liberal targets with fabricated videos, that was OK because the larger truth (as defined by the Radical Right) was being served.
This is how fascists think.
Breitbart’s first “sting” purportedly showed ACORN — a low income community organizing network — committing voter registration fraud. Except it didn’t. Breitbart edited his sting video to make it appear election law crimes were being committed when they weren’t. Republicans (and FOX) jumped on Breitbart’s fraudulent video, Democrats were too gutless to resist, and ACORN was destroyed. Thus was the largest registrar of legal, low income voters in America driven out of existence. For Republicans, Mission Accomplished.
His next target was an African American employee of the Department of Agriculture, Shirley Sherrod. Breitbart edited a video of a speech she gave to make it seem she was prejudiced against white farmers in her DOA job. Except her speech actually said the opposite. Spooked once again by the Right-wing Media Machine, liberals and the Obama Administration crucified her, only later realizing that Breitbart had deliberately distorted this good woman’s actual remarks.
After all this documented dishonesty, Andrew Breitbart remained a respected commentator on FOX News. Of course.
Democracy depends upon a shared public commitment to facts, reality, truth and dialogue, Democracy needs journalism committed to checking its sources and publishing what it believes to be true. Andrew Breitbart believed “The ends justify the means.” Conservatives can fabricate news, destroy legitimate organizations and slander good people because their larger cause is just.
Andrew Breitbart was a destroyer of journalism and democracy, and both are better off tonight because he can’t do his dirty work any more.