Mediaite's Tommy Christopher weighs in on Andrew Breitbart's "evidence" that several Congressmen are lying about tea partiers hurling racial epithets at them at the U.S. Capitol Building in March:
Earlier this week, conservative media figure Andrew Breitbart seized upon a New York Times story correction as proof that Civil Rights hero John Lewis (D-Ga) and others were "lying" when they claimed that a crowd of protesters had hurled the "n-word" at them as they walked to the Capitol to vote on health care reform.
Breitbart supports his claim by submitting "conclusive" video "evidence" that nothing "racially charged" occurred on March 20, 2010. I took a closer look at the NY Times correction, and Breitbart's video, and it doesn't take much to poke some pretty big holes in Breitbart's basic claim, which somehow presupposes that the failure to meet a burden of proof is, in and of itself, "conclusive evidence."
Instead, Breitbart offered the thinnest refutation possible: there was no video of the incident. He was presumably able to do this perhaps due to the expectation that the mainstream media, cowed by their embarrassment at his hands over the ACORN controversy, to go along with it, or at least accept the premise that a lack of video evidence was somehow an equal counterbalance to the testimony of three members of Congress. Or that such evidence is somehow a prerequisite to reporting a story. By the way, that's going to make a lot of print reporters very unhappy.
Sadly, this premise echoes the voice of every stereotypically racist sheriff in the 60's who ever uttered "Nobody's gonna believe you, boy!" Ironically, it also echoes the white grand jury who refused to indict the murderer of Shirley Sherrod's father.
Breitbart now presents several crudely-shot, 5 to 7 second video clips of poor audio quality as proof positive that nothing happened that day. Although that idea is, at best thin on its face, even those cherry-picked snippets contain proof that Breitbart's "proof" is in fact, false.
Included in his post is a video you won't want to miss with some tough questions for Breitbart.
As Media Matters' noted yesterday, Fox News' Dana Perino apologized for falsely claiming last week that President Obama supported the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Perino said she was "glad there's a website out there that can track my every move and keep me honest."
Mediaite's Tommy Christopher says others can learn from Perino, even if the apology was a bit "sarcastic":
Perino may have been a tad sarcastic in her veiled praise for Media Matters, but hers is exactly the right attitude to take. All too often, when a media figure gets called out, the tendency is to point the finger elsewhere. It was refreshing to hear Perino own her mistake, and thank those who pointed it out.
There will be some who will note that her apology comes a week late, but I think it works out better that way. She's speaking to the same audience who heard her initial report, and the distance from last week's story gives the apology some air of its own to breathe.
As if the up-for-sale newspaper's coverage of the Tea party movement wasn't enough of a love letter, the Washington Times is offering up web space for a new blog devoted entirely to the movement under the title "Tea Party Report."
Tellingly, the new endeavor is described thusly:
Real news, opinion and true-life tales from everyday Americans on the frontlines of the Tea Party Movement. This is your story.
That should give you all that you need to know about the blog's objectivity. So, what should readers of the "Tea Party Report"expect?
Mediaite.com's Tommy Christopher reports on one of the new blog's contributors:
According to a press release, self-described "Tea Party Founder" Dale Robertson has joined the Washington Times' "Tea Party Report" blog. Robertson, you may recall, was thrust back into the limelight in March, when he was quoted by the paper as never having seen any racial slurs at Tea Parties, despite having been photographed holding a sign that featured the N-word. He told us the photo was a fake, which our expert then disputed, before a sea of journalists came forward to point out that Robertson had already admitted to holding the sign. Update: The Times has pulled the column, but Robertson has also popped up on The Hill.
Christopher then posted an updates to his initial piece:
Earlier today, we reported that Dale Robertson, the self-styled "Tea Party Founder" who's infamous for being photographed holding a sign featuring the n-word, is touting himself as a columnist for The Washington Times' Tea Party Report blog. Now, following publicity from this blog and several others, it appears the Times has pulled Robertson's column.
DISCLAIMER: The Tea Party Reports is edited by Bill Kelly and Laura Grock and features numerous independent voices in today's Tea Party movement. Tea Party guest submitters are in no way affiliated with The Washington Times and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person other than the contributor (- 5/21/2010).
Update 2: A spokesperson for the Tea Party Report tells me that they have no official relationship with Dale Robertson, and have asked his PR flack to stop "misrepresenting" this. The Tea Party Report staff, she informs me, are also not employees of the Washington Times. The paper simply provides them space to publish their blog.
In summary: A right-wing newspaper owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon who likes to think of himself as the returned son of god is offering up space on its website for what amounts to be little more than a Tea party fanzine where people like Dale Robertson are considered appropriate contributors.
Ladies and gentlemen, behold "conservative journalism."