Journalism’s Age of Shame

Eric Alterman
The black political art of “working the refs” with constant and vociferous complaints of “liberal bias” in the media has a long and distinguished history. Few of its practitioners, however, have succeeded so frequently—and nakedly—as the ex-Drudge drudge and Arianna acolyte Andrew Breitbart. The estimable E.J. Dionne terms Breitbart to be the MSM’s virtual “assignment editor” and, indeed, it’s hard not to be impressed. Breitbart has already been exposed as a provocateur who cares not a whit for honesty or accuracy in his self-declared war on all things liberal. Yet reporters, editors and producers remain so frightened by his accusations that they continue to trumpet them as they search their souls to purge themselves of the bias that prevented them from seeing the world from a Tea Party point of view.

Remember, the very same techniques deployed to defame Shirley Sherrod and discredit the NAACP were employed to destroy ACORN, albeit aided by the idiocy of a couple of low-level ACORN employees. Breitbart’s underlings, the admitted criminal James O’Keefe and his associate Hannah Giles, lied to ACORN about their respective identities for the purpose of surreptitiously taping their words and actions and then releasing a doctored version of the tape to the credulous media. They misrepresented their own dress and demeanor in this visit—they were not dressed up as a comic-book pimp and ho—and O’Keefe also claimed that an undercover video campaign was a “nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation” implicating numerous ACORN employees. In the heavily edited videos Breitbart released of their encounters at eight ACORN offices, he (and they) failed to note that in at least six of these, they did not get their desired result. (Some ACORN employees contacted the authorities.) Of course, we did not learn any of this until after the MSM conspired with Breitbart and company to help destroy ACORN based on this false and defamatory narrative.

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