On Thursday for Friday's print edition, the New York Times carried a weakly headlined but well-written story entitled "U.S. Opens Spigot After Farmers Claim Discrimination" on its front page. Written by Sharon LaFraniere with the help of three others, it laid out how what began in 1997 as a class-action suit by black farmers (Pigford v. Glickman) claiming they had suffered discrimination at the hands of the U.S. Department of Agriculture "became a runaway train, driven by racial politics, pressure from influential members of Congress and law firms." Moreover, LaFraniere covered how the scope of the litigation grew "to encompass a second group of African-Americans as well as Hispanic, female and Native American farmers" to the tune of over 90,000 claims and potential ultimate taxpayer cost of over $4.4 billion, in the process morphing into a vehicle for the Obama administration to unjustifiably dole out taxpayer money to as many people and constituent groups as possible. It is worth reading the entire story, though it will make just about anyone concerned about the financial and cultural future of this nation shudder.
The Times coverage indeed "vindicates" the late Andrew Breitbart, whose Big Government blog exposed the fraud associated with Pigford, but that vindication is hardly satisfying. We're supposed to be impressed that the paper finally got around to substantively covering it, and that the paper even noted the "Public criticism (which) came primarily from conservative news outlets like Breitbart.com and from Congressional conservatives like Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, who described the program as rife with fraud." I don't see why.
There's been a lot of ugly stuff in the blogosphere as well as various social networking websites such as Twitter since Thursday's shocking announcement that conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart died at the age of 43.
Possibly the most offensive came in a headline from New York Amsterdam News titled "Anti-Black Journalist Andrew Breitbart Dies Suddenly":
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:
As someone who was one of the best fighters against the left-wing media hegemony, Andrew Breitbart was also frequently victimized by lazy reporters who didn't bother to report correct information about him. This was a particular problem for Andrew because he was such a target for liberals making up lies which got repeated so often, they've become widely accepted as truth.
Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the media haven't stopped repeating lies about Breitbart even after his untimely passing. Contrary to much of the reporting about him today, Breitbart did not falsely represent Shirley Sherrod, former U.S. Department of Agriculture director of Rural Development in Georgia in relaying a video of her discrimination against white applicants for a farm subsidy program in 2010.
If you're not familiar with GRITtv or Laura Flanders, you will be because her far-left, antagonistic, attack dog style is starting to become all the rage to liberal hosts especially on MSNBC.
On Friday, as part of the panel discussion on HBO's "Real Time," Flanders in her own aggressive style impolitely went after fellow guest conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart feeling the need to bring up last year's Shirley Sherrod affair after which she called him a con man (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The outrage over Martin Bashir's absolutely pathetic interview with Andrew Breitbart Wednesday continues.
On Thursday's "O'Reilly Factor," the host and his guest Glenn Beck wondered how long MSNBC can stay in business with commentators behaving this way (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Following Martin Bashir's absolutely pathetic interview with Andrew Breitbart Wednesday, the conservative publisher has proposed a $10,000 bet with the perilously liberal MSNBC host.
"I’m willing to take a lie detector test next to him on anything," Breitbart told WOR radio's Steve Malzberg Thursday, "if he’s willing to take a lie detector test next to me talking about whether he read my book" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yes, Virginia, there is someone in media more unhinged than Ed Schultz -- left-wing radio host Mike Malloy.
If you've heard of Malloy, most likely it's because of his bizarre, on-air fantasies of violence toward Dana Perino, Matt Drudge, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh, as described here with audio clips from Brian Maloney at The Radio Equalizer.
Malloy has decided to remind us again of his pathologies, this time issuing a veiled threat against new media impresario Andrew Breitbart (embedded audio clip, courtesy of Maloney, after page break) --
Perhaps AOL acquiring The Huffington Post isn't such a bad thing after all.
Liberal filmmaker, writer and photographer Lee Stranahan did something one doesn't often see at the left-wing news aggregator -- he broke from the pack to defend "the notorious Andrew Breitbart," publisher of Breitbart.com and a slew of similar sites where he basks in skewering liberals.
In his HuffPo article, Stranahan wrote how he "spent a slightly surreal weekend" hanging out with Breitbart at CPAC --
... and at the end of the conservative convention, he was served with a lawsuit from Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA official who was forced to resign by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack back in July, 2010 after Breitbart had published two videos of her as part of a long blog post. One of those videos showed Mrs. Sherrod (ironically, it turns out) telling the NAACP audience that she suggested people get work with the government because "you can't get fired." The second, better known video showed Mrs. Sherrod telling her story of how she didn't give a white farmer 'the full of force' of her help for a period of time. After the USDA fired her, apparently without an investigation, the full tape was released.
At NPR, you cannot admit your prejudices, even in the context of disavowing them. You can, however, suggest that a U.S. Senator and his grandchildren should be infected with the AIDS virus, claim the world would be a better place if everyone who believes in the Christian rapture did not exist, claim that Newt Gingrich seeks "a civil way of lynching people," and, as long as you are just a freelancer, call for Rush Limbaugh's death.
That is National Public Radio's editorial (double) standard. NPR fired analyst Juan Williams, an 10 year employee of the organization, for admitting that he gets "nervous" when he sees people in Muslim garb on an airplane. But NPR employees (and a freelancer in one case) have made each of those statements above without suffering the swift action brought against Williams.
Why are Americans not being bombarded with sermons on the irresponsibility of blogs and new media generally? After all, the White House's attacks on the Chamber of Commerce originated with a salacious, factually-erroneous report on a highly partisan left-wing blog. Shouldn't we be hearing about the dangers of relying on new media for political news?
We were inundated with such talk after the video that led to the Department of Agriculture's fired of Shirley Sherrod turned out to have misrepresented her words. The story - that Sherrod made race-based decisions in her capacity as an Ag Department employee - was based on faulty evidence. It would never have made it into the mainstream were it not for the lax journalistic standards of digital reporters - in this case, Andrew Breitbart.
Earlier today, Shirley Sherrod, who, according to the current version of ruling class wisdom, was prematurely evacuated from the USDA by Director Tom Vilsack, decided not to accept an offer to return to the agency.
Instead, according to Politico's Matt Negrin, "she hasn’t accepted the department’s offer to work there again, but that she wants 'some type of relationship' with it later." We wouldn't closure or anything, would we?
Five weeks or so have intervened since Andrew Breitbart posted a video excerpt of Sherrod's speech at an NAACP event. (It should be noted USAactionnews.com actually posted the video earlier; though their link has been taken down, their original July 15 tweet is here.)
In that time, the establishment press has either seriously downplayed or totally ignored the several important items relating to the background and outlook of Ms. Sherrod and her husband Charles.