Ever since news reports surfaced a few weeks ago that tea partiers hurled racial slurs at Democratic members of Congress as they made their way through the tea party crowds on the Capitol before the big health care vote, Andrew Breitbart and several prominent conservatives have engaged in a concerted effort to prove that civil rights hero John Lewis and the other representatives are "liars."
Some lowlights from this effort include Breitbart claiming that Lewis was "squandering" his status as his civil rights icon by "lying;" Breitbart calling the Congressional Black Caucus "despicable;" Breitbart asserting that he doesn't care what Lewis "did 40 years ago, he's trying to rip this country apart;" and Breitbart saying that the CBC went "searching for....racism" by walking through the crowd. See, even if someone yelled the n-word at them, it's their fault because they were asking for it. Or something.
Throughout this effort, countless conservative blogs have posted a short video clip of the members of the CBC walking through the crowd as "proof" that Lewis and co are "lying." Like clockwork, Breitbart and conservative bloggers encounter their usual problem here: reality disagrees with what they are yelling about.
A reconstruction of the events shows that the conservative challenges largely sprang from a mislabeled video that was shot later in the day.
Breitbart posted two columns on his Web site saying the claims were fabricated. Both led with a 48-second YouTube video showing Lewis, Carson, other Congressional Black Caucus members and staffers leaving the Capitol. Some of the group were videotaping the booing crowd.
Breitbart asked why the epithet was not captured by the black lawmakers' cameras, and why nobody reacted as if they had heard the slur. He also questioned whether the epithets could have been shouted by liberals planted in the crowd.
But the 48-second video was shot as the group was leaving the Capitol -- at least one hour after Lewis, D-Ga., and Carson walked to the Capitol, which is when they said the slurs were used.
Breitbart goes with his usual response to being confronted with reality: stick to your guns and make things up.
Questioned about using a video on his Web site from the wrong moment, Breitbart stood by his claim that the lawmakers were lying.
"I'm not saying the video was conclusive proof," he said.
And here's Breitbart on Twitter earlier today:
Yes, Hoft shouted "VIDEO PROOF" in all caps in the headline. For safe keeping, Hoft also used the video to claim that "These radical liars with [sic] stop at nothing to ram their socialist agenda down America's throat. And, the state-run media will report their racist filth without question."
Nice website you've got there, Andrew.
All in all, it's been a rough week for Breitbart's defense of tea party extremism. Yesterday, Fox News reported on swastika signs at tea party protests after Breitbart had attacked Nancy Pelosi for "blatantly" lying about them last year.
If he had any self awareness, it would probably be embarrassing to be Andrew Breitbart right about now.