Did Andrew Breitbart send out marching orders to his conservative websites in the wake of yesterday's embarrassing revelations regarding Breitbart's protégé James O'Keefe and how he and his buddies allegedly plotted to secretly film a CNN reporter aboard a boat filled with sex toys? It sure looks that way, as the Breitbart sites continue to black out the big news.
The story erupted all over the Internet (not to mention CNN), yet Breitbart's sites were silent about the breaking, controversial story that involved one of Breibart's own contributors. Especially odd was the silence that emanated from Breitbart's Big Journalism, which, obviously is devoted to the examining the media, and specifically political media. But on Wednesday, apparently nobody had time to write about James O'Keefe.
That's why I wonder if orders were sent out, declaring the story off-limits. I mean, look at Big Journalism's list of contributors. I count nearly 300 people who write for the site. And you're telling me that as the shocking news of the O'Keefe tale broke, not one of them wanted to write about it on Big Journalism? Not one of them wanted to weigh in?
Over at Big Government, there are nearly 500 listed contributors. But again, none of them had a single thought they wanted to share on Big Government about the story involving O'Keefe, whose work the site has hyped in the past?
I don't buy it.
My hunch is editorial orders went out announcing the story was off-limits. If so, what's Breitbart afraid of?
In a September 29 BigJournalism.com blog post about the rumors White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel is considering leaving his post to run for mayor of Chicago, the website referred to Emanuel as a "rat" who is "leaving a sinking ship":
Rahm "the Ballerina" Emanuel may announce that he's abandoning the foundering hulk of the S.S. Obama Administration to go back to the criminal racket known as Chicago Democratic politics.
By sheer coincidence, Emanuel's partner in the Obama brain trust, David Axelrod, recently announced that he, too, is returning to Chicago.
Considering Obama's poll numbers -- as well as those of Axelrod's warmup act, Mass. Gov. "Cadillac" Deval Patrick...
... maybe it's no wonder.
In a post on Big Journalism, blogger and Park 51 controversy manufacturer Pam Geller falsely accused George Soros of having "assisted the Nazis," based on the content of an interview with Soros on 60 Minutes. Oddly enough, Geller links to the very Media Matters item that addresses her inaccurate claim. From Geller's post:
He assisted the Nazis, so is it any wonder he wants to destroy the Jew? If at first you don't succeed...
If you are unfamiliar with Soros's actual past, remember that, as 60 Minutes reported in 2006, "While hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being shipped off to the death camps, George Soros accompanied his phony godfather on his appointed rounds, confiscating property from the Jews."
As Media Matters noted in that item, New Republic editor-in-chief Martin Peretz edited the 60 Minutes interview to falsely imply that Soros collaborated with the Nazis as a 14-year-old boy in Nazi-controlled Hungary. The claim that Soros collaborated with the Nazis is a frequently repeated right-wing smear, whose inaccuracy has prompted the Toronto Sun to issue a retraction and apology after it appeared in one of the paper's columns.
Yesterday, NewsBusters picked up the story of local Washington, DC news anchor Doug McKelway, who was recently suspended from broadcast on DC's ABC affiliate, WJLA. NewsBusters, and other conservative blogs that have run with the story, are pushing yet another baseless allegation of liberal bias in the media, claiming that McKelway was forced off the air for reporting the "facts" about how much money BP had donated to Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
However, the right-wing blogosphere doesn't have its facts straight regarding the incident, and instead are relying on mere speculation.
To begin with, The Washington Post report -- upon which conservative blogs base their accusations -- provides no such evidence of what Big Journalism calls the "mainstream media silencing those who report inconvenient truths about this administration." In fact, the Post's article states that McKelway's suspension stemmed from comments he made "not to viewers but to his boss" in a meeting held in response to that segment. The paper also quotes one of McKelway's co-workers at WJLA, albeit under condition of anonymity, who states that "[t]he issue wasn't what he said in the live shot. It was what he said when he was questioned about it by Bill ... The issue is insubordination."
Additionally, the segment these conservative blogs tout as "accurate" "facts" for which McKelway was punished by the liberals at WJLA and its parent company Allbritton Communications, is far from factual. In the report, McKelway claims that the "strategy" of "far left environmental groups" rallying against members of Congress who have "dirty oil money on their hands" is a "risky" one, "because the one man who has more campaign contributions from BP than anybody else in history is now sitting in the Oval Office -- President Barack Obama -- who accepted $77,051 in campaign contributions from BP."
As Media Matters has noted, Barack Obama's presidential campaign did not receive donations from the BP corporation. While Obama's Senate campaign did receive a total of $1,000 from BP's PAC in 2004, the donation was less than what 21 other Senate candidates received from the BP PAC that year. The figure that McKelway uses in his report is the amount of money Obama received from employees of the company. An amount, by the way, which accounted for only .01% of Obama's total fundraising.
So while these right-wing blogs lament the fact that it's impossible "for a reporter in Barack Obama's Washington to mention on air that President Obama's a major recipient of BP cash without getting chewed out in the newsroom," what they really should be concerned about is the accuracy of their own reporting.
Numerous right-wing media have agreed with Rep. Joe Barton's (R-TX) claim that the BP escrow account fund designed to aid Gulf residents affected by the oil spill resulted from a White House "shakedown," despite the fact that the plan was "mutually agreed to" by both the administration and BP.
Yet again, Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts prove that they have no business running a website called "Big Journalism." Today, in a post titled "You Want News, Go To The Blogs, Not the In-the-Tank MSM," Pamela Geller discusses how you can find real journalism at websites like her own:
In that sense, bloggers are not journalists. The best bloggers aren't shilling for Obama and Pelosi the way journalists are. Instead, bloggers are doing the heavy lifting. Who breaks the stories today? Bloggers. Take my own blog, AtlasShrugs.com, for example. I broke the explosive story of tens of thousands of dollars of Obama contributions from a Hamas-controlled "refugee" camp in Gaza. Did the "journalists" in the mainstream media pursue this story? Not a chance. Obama's odd relationship with Kenyan pro-Sharia politician Raila Odinga? Atlas! Not to mention the numerous revelations I broke on the Rifqa Bary story (here and here and here and here), the story of the young Ohio girl who fled from her family in fear for her life after converting from Islam to Christianity.
While I agree that there is plenty of great journalism being done by bloggers, Pam Geller is certainly not one of them. Here's some proof from just the past few months:
Right-wing media seized on Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) recent announcement that three airports in his district received federal grant money in order to baselessly claim the Obama administration bribed him for his vote on health care reform. In fact, there is absolutely no evidence that the airport funds are related to Stupak's vote, and indeed, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded grants in 47 states -- including one in Minority Leader John Boehner's district -- as part of a decades-old airport improvement program.
From a March 6 Big Journalism post:
Mark Steyn is always right, whether he's writing about Andrew Lloyd Webber or, in this case, the suicide-bomber-in-chief, Barack Obama, who doesn't much care how many Democrats get sent to the electoral Elysian Fields -- or even whether he gets a second term -- as long as he can blow up the capitalist system from within. Excuse me -- effect "fundamental change." And what better way to get Hussein's camel's nose under your hospital gown than by taking over the American health-care system, all under the guise of "reform?"
Both Andrew Breitbart's Big Journalism and the Media Research Center's NewsBusters have recently added anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek as a blogger. Stanek has a history of inflammatory and dubious claims; in her inaugural NewsBusters post, however, she admits that she's "not a student of" media analysis.
Of the many objectionable things said at this past weekend's Tea Party Convention, former Rep. Tom Tancredo's call for "civics literacy tests before people can vote" was perhaps the most flagrantly offensive and, arguably, anti-American. The idea of a "civics literacy test" as a prerequisite for voting rights is not only illegal, it conjures up the still raw memories of Jim Crow segregation in the post-bellum South.
Over at Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism.com, though, Tancredo's comments were no big deal. They were so innocuous, in fact, that they attacked MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for denouncing Tancredo, calling her a "race-baiting demagogue."
BigJournalism.com contributor Izzy Lyman tried to explain why Tancredo's comments were OK:
Tancredo didn't say "literacy," and he wasn't talking about race. He said "civics literacy," which implies a basic understanding of U.S. government and history. Thanks to multiculturalism and unsecured borders, there are far too many people in this country who don't speak a word of English and will never bother to do so. Here is one reason why state campaigns to make English the official language of government business are so successful.
This is a distinction without a difference. Any sort of "literacy test" as an impediment to voting rights -- be it actual literacy or governmental literacy or historical literacy -- is illegal. In fact, literacy tests administered prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 did test knowledge of civics and history. If, as Big Journalism suggests, that's the type of "literacy test" Tancredo was advocating, then it's still illegal and discriminatory. And to argue that the Tancredo wasn't "talking about race" when slamming people "people who could not even spell the word 'vote,' or say it in English" is willfully obtuse, given Tancredo's past racially inflammatory rhetoric.
Earlier this week, Breitbart made a big deal about how he doesn't support Birtherism, even though his websites had wallowed the Birther swamp on numerous occasions. Will someone ask him now why his websites apparently condone Tancredo's call for the resurrection of Jim Crow in the United States?
On Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity again attacked President Obama over his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and guests Richard Miniter and Noelle Nikpour attacked Obama over devotional messages he receives, while earlier this week, right-wing blogs attacked Obama over his church attendance. These attacks follow repeated religion-based smears of Obama both during the 2008 presidential campaign and after he took office.
From the January 27 Big Journalism post, titled "With the Moon Missions Scrapped, Is Christianity Next in Obama's Gunsights?":
The Orlando Sentinel recently reported that President Obama wants to nix NASA's moon missions and instead intends to spend funding for space ventures beyond earth's orbit. Perhaps to Avatar's beautiful planet Pandora? Now what would make the president stray so far from JFK's vision of lunar supremacy? Perhaps he wasn't that thrilled to learn what I just did about what occurred on the first moon landing. My friend Eric Metaxas wrote a great book, Everything You Alwayhs Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid To Ask), and in it he recalled that Buzz Aldrin confirmed to him that he took communion on the Moon.
When the ACLU and the other secular protesters start hammering CAIR and radical imams about their tax-free status with the IRS, I'll start giving a rat's tookus about Christian codes that preach love and salvation.
There have been plenty of rumors floating around Barack Obama's religious affiliations that suggest his Christian roots don't run very deep. It must be very difficult for him to be faced with the reminder that this nation is overwhelmingly Christian.
It was upsetting enough for the president to deal with the alarming news that the government has been purchasing gun sights with Christian codes. In 2005, the military supplier Trijicon won a $660 million dollar multi-year contract to supply up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional sights to the U.S. Army. The company was founded by Glyn Bindon, a devout Christian from South Africa who was killed in 2003 plane crash and according to a spokesman from Trijicon, Tom Munson, these messages have always been on their weapons and there is nothing wrong or illegal in adding them.
Here's the thing I don't understand. I've looked at these codes and I have to wonder who noticed that they referred to biblical passages? They look at first glance the same as ordinary serial numbers that are found on all merchandise. When I first learned of the controversy I assumed that the messages were more blatant but they are indeed very subtle. Judge for yourselves.
So the military have used these sights for several years without a fuss yet now the company is being forced to remove the messages which are being viewed as a violation of the separation of church and state clause in the Constitution which does not even exist. Hmmm. Critics complain that these Christian codes send the wrong message to the Muslim world: that we are in a religious war. Hmmm...
Then what are we surmise from the suicide bombers who shout Allahu Akbar before they blow themselves and others to kingdom come? If its perfectly all right to use the sacred Koran as the rational to commit jihad, then wouldn't that mean that a religious war is being waged against us?