In a December 12 Politico article, serial smear merchant Andrew Breitbart said of Media Matters: "I'm 100 percent at war with those people." From the article:
Andrew Breitbart, who's already made some dents in what he considers the "Democrat-media complex" in 2009, says he's going to roll out his own site, Big Journalism, a few days earlier - designed, he says, to report stories that the mainstream media is either missing or willfully ignoring.
Breitbart, who was a co-developer of the Huffington Post, knows how to generate buzz online, and even uses his Twitter feed for a public battle with liberal media watchdog, Media Matters. "I'm 100 percent at war with those people," he said.
From a December 10 entry at David Horowitz's NewsReal blog titled, "Sean Hannity and Birtherism: Give to Idiocy No Sanction":
Media Matters is disseminating audio from Sean Hannity's December 8, radio show, in which he takes a challenge from a caller over his support for conservative website WorldNetDaily, which is also one of the Right's most aggressive advocates of paranoia over President Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Maybe it was legitimate to ask when the story first broke, but regardless of who did the original asking, the caller is right that it has been repeatedly investigated, answered, and should be a dead issue now. During the 2008 campaign, blogger John Hawkins ran down the case against Birtherism for Townhall.com:
- The people at FactCheck.org have seen the certificate of live birth provided from the state of Hawaii to the Obama campaign and it is genuine.
- Although Hawaii state law prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record, the director of Hawaii's Department of Health has certified that Obama does have a legitimate birth certificate on file in Hawaii.
- In a print copy of the 1961 Honolulu Advertiser, there's a notice that Barack Obama was born. In and of itself, this is a game, set, match conversation-ender on this subject unless people want to argue that this isn't genuine or that there was a conspiracy going all the way back to the day of Obama's birth to make him President.
A few additional points: FactCheck.org is not infallible, but their report on the birth certificate is substantive and detailed. Hawaii's Health Director, Chiyome Fukino, is a Republican. As I've noted elsewhere, the Right's most prominent (and most conservative) voices have all rejected Birtherism.
WorldNetDaily, however, obsessively clings to any bizarre hypothetical that might explain how a Kenyan-born Obama got illicit citizenship credentials (indeed, their front page still hosts links to their full coverage of Birthergate, "Where's the birth certificate?" postcards, and a petition demanding that the President release the certificate). This isn't due diligence; it's a cottage industry.
As David Swindle has pointed out, Birtherism is a poison to conservative credibility, and by drinking it we play right into the Left's propagandizing hands. Sean Hannity's defense of "asking questions" is all well and good, but for all our sakes, he needs to recognize the difference between asking a question and ignoring the answer.
It's not surprising that a conservative outfit like NewsBusters would take a pro-Sarah Palin stance. And it's not surprising that they'd sometimes go a little overboard in their Palin adulation -- as much as the right loves to complain about irrational hatred from the left, its own worship of the half-term governor who quit to spend more time on Facebook does tend to get a little out of hand.
Then there's Noel Sheppard.
The NewsBusters associate editor has never made any secret about his admiration for Palin. For a while now, he's been serving as her unofficial press office, dutifully republishing every single message the ex-governor posted on Facebook, frequently appending them with a rousing "Hear, hear!"
But in the past couple of days, things have become a little ... weird.
Here's how Sheppard began his blog post this morning on Palin's "Tonight Show" appearance last night:
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin continued her historic climb into the hearts of Americans Friday by appearing on NBC's "Tonight Show" in a small cameo role.
And here's his opening paragraph from a December 10 entry on Palin:
Showing the sense of humor millions of Americans fell in love with last year, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said Thursday that critics of her previous day's op-ed in the Washington Post "kind of got all wee-weed up about it and wanted to call me and others deniers."
Yipes ... Perhaps not quite to the same level of Rich "Starbursts" Lowry, but still ...
From his recent Salon column, Joe Conason details what former Massachusetts AG Scott Harshbarger discovered about the undercover ACORN videos made by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. The discovery came as part of Harshbarger's larger, and often critical, review of ACORN's practices. (Read the report here.)
Conason notes [emphasis added]:
To assess the meaning and accuracy of the videotapes, Harshbarger and his colleagues did the job that journalists ought to have done from the beginning. They interviewed ACORN employees. Later, they reviewed both the tapes and the transcripts made available on BigGovernment, a Web site owned by Andrew Breitbart, the right-wing impresario behind Giles and O'Keefe.
What Harshbarger discovered, as his report's Appendix D reveals, is that much of what appeared on Fox News Channel and in other media outlets, let alone on right-wing Web sites, was not what had actually occurred in the ACORN offices -- and that exculpatory material was edited out of the tapes.
Question: Is Andrew Breitbart's site Big Government ever going to release all the unedited ACORN tapes? And if not, what is he hiding? At the very least, why won't Breitbart detail exactly which tapes were edited and which exculpatory material was cut?
UPDATED: The Harshbarger report seems to demolish the idea that Breitbart even practices journalism. Unless this new brand of conservative 'journalism' includes deceptively editing hidden-camera videos and then refusing to produce the original tapes when discrepancies are highlighted.
UPDATED: Conason also note the following:
Contrary to the claims of right-wing critics, who complain that Harshbarger failed to interview any of ACORN's adversaries, the lawyer and his colleagues were rebuffed when they tried to speak with O'Keefe and Giles. Amy Crafts, a Proskauer associate who co-authored the report, told me that she made several efforts to contact the video producers both in person and through their attorneys.
What are these people hiding?
UPDATED: More from Conason:
On Oct. 21, [Harshbarger's associate Amy] Crafts said, she was barred from the press conference held by O'Keefe and Giles at the National Press Club in Washington, even though she promised not to ask any questions.
Over at Breitbart's BigHollywood.com (the fun crazy one) writer Alicia Colon was not happy about Saturday Night Live's sketch Gossip Girl: Staten Island last week. It turns out she has many warm memories of living in Staten Island and the people she knew were nothing like how they were portrayed by the unfunny SNL cast. So she wrote up a post titled "'SNL' Trashes Staten Island: Why Leftists Hate the Borough." Oh boy.
The native Staten Islanders I've met do not speak with the Brooklynese accents in the SNL skits. Yes, there are many Italian families here but there are also many Africans, Pakistani, Russian, Polish, German, Asian, Irish and many Hispanics from Central and South America. There are also many pizzerias and many are run and operated by Albanians. So basically, Staten Island is your typical New York City borough or is it and why do the liberal elite find it such an easy target to mock?
(Good luck making sense of that last sentence.)
Last I checked, Saturday Night Live mocked everything it could about the people living in New York City. From the China Club in Manhattan to the "Bronx Beat" to the "Beating of the Week" on "Good Morning, Brooklyn!" to my favorite, the "Bensonhurst Dating Game."
But apparently her own children informing her that SNL was not off the mark was not enough to deter her ridiculous blog post: "Although I've claimed to have never met the Staten Islanders ridiculed on SNL, my children tell me that the caricatures are dead on."
Colon plows ahead and gets even more ridiculous, digging up a 2004 essay from the New York Times "Lives" section in which the author explains her decision to abort two of the triplets she was expecting. The author mentioned that she thought if she had triplets she might have to move to Staten Island." Colon responds thusly:
I'm assuming the reason she aborted two of her babies was so she could still live in Manhattan. Therein lies the liberal contempt for a borough that cherishes and respects family values and human lives.
So there you have it - an SNL sketch (the first one?) spoofing Staten Island and an old essay about one woman's abortion. That's her proof that "leftists hate" Staten Island.
Well, such an absurd conclusion calls for an even more absurd browbeating. And Colon doesn't disappoint, penning possibly the lamest invocation of 9-11 ever written:
So if the untalented writers at SNL want to continue mocking Staten Island, so be it. I would like to remind them however that this is also the borough that suffered the greatest personal losses in the 9/11 attack. The residents have shown great resilience and courage since then and will surely weather their puny attempt at humor as well.
Words fail me.
From Andrew Marcus' December 11 post on BigGovernment.com:
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his December 11 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Media Matters Action Network, our partner organization, has unearthed a 1987 American Spectator article (available here) in which Lord Christopher Monckton -- one of the right's favorite global warming deniers -- advocates requiring the entire population to undergo monthly HIV tests and forcibly quarantining "for life" those who test positive.
You would think that such views would have made Monckton a marginal figure. But apparently there are no views too extreme for the right-wing media.
On October 23, for instance, Glenn Beck said on his Fox News show that Monckton is "one of the world's foremost authorities on what the global warming hoax is really all about and what they are about to sign over in Copenhagen."
Monckton appeared as a guest throughout Beck's October 30 Fox show. Beck introduced Monckton by saying: "With me now, Lord Christopher Monckton, former adviser to British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and climate change expert."
On October 19, Rush Limbaugh described Monckton as "a voice of sanity," saying, "The hysteria on the left on virtually everything is all over the place. So you got to hear a voice of sanity in this. Last Wednesday, St. Paul, Minnesota, during a presentation at Bethel University, a portion of remarks made by Lord Christopher Monckton regarding the United Nations' climate change treaty."