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Thanks Breitbart

July 21, 2010

It turns out that the “Racism” video that was posted at Big Government is actually a woman telling the story of how she learned to look past her racial blinders.

Did you hear that giant whooshing sound? That was credibility being flushed down the toilet.

Breitbart claims that he didn’t edit the video, that it was sent to him in the way it was presented. It doesn’t matter – the video was obviously edited and he had a responsibility to verify content and context before posting it. I am a little doubtful about his claims though – If he didn’t have the whole video why was he mocking Allahpundit on twitter monday night? Allahpundit was one of the first to raise doubts about the editing, and why was he angrily promising more video to come? Now of course it doesn’t matter if he has more video or not. His credibility is destroyed.

In an attempt to salvage something from this debacle Breitbart and others are now claiming that it was never really about what Sherrod (the woman in the tape) said, but about the reaction of the NAACP audience to the initial race driven part of her story. There is something to that – but in the initial posting accompanying the tape that claim is made only tangentially and all the focus is on Sherrod’s story. Given that the new explanation just doesn’t wash, and won’t wash with most people.

(I started to write this yesterday under the title of “Breitbart is a Pied Piper, follow at your own peril” after an email conversation with XBradTC. The story was already falling apart I just didn’t expect it to collapse so completely so quickly)

Andrew Sullivan is rarely worth reading but he is right about journolist.

Speaking of journolist – The Daily Caller has a new posting that further outlines the bad behavior going on there. Glee over the imagined death of Rush Limbaugh, talk of urging the FCC to shut down Fox News, coordinating a campaign to portray Tea Partiers as fascists, this all follows the earlier revelations about the participation of Dave Weigel, the Washington Post writer assigned to cover the conservative movement, who routinely reviled conservatives in journolist postings, and a campaign to discredit people questions President Obama’s association with rev. Jeremiah Wright, by calling them racists. The Daily Caller names names in their articles so I am going to suggest that anytime you read an opinion piece or article by any of the following people you do so with a jaundiced eye and if anything strikes you as untoward or inaccurate you immediately contact the the paper’s ombudsman and include the words “a former participant in the notorious Journolist, and participant in schemes to manipulate the news to further his (her) own political views” :

Dave Weigel
Ezra Klein
Kevin Drum
Spencer Ackerman
Katha Pollitt
Jared Bernstein
Holly Yeager
Joe Conason
David Greenberg
David Roberts
Todd Gitlin
Chris Hayes
Richard Kim
Michael Tomasky
Thomas Schaller
Sarah Spitz
Ryan Donmoyer
Richard Yeselson
Lindsay Beyerstein
Ed Kilgore
Daniel Davies
Michael Scherer
Jonathan Zasloff
John Judis

Ace has more on this.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. xbradtc permalink
    July 21, 2010 10:07 am

    A reader writes to The Corner and has a take on Journolist that pretty much matches my own:

    So here, JournoList is composed not of reporters who happen to be “Progressives,” but of Progressives who boast about how to perfect and use their capture of their employers. This is in itself institutional rot, but the more serious rot is the failure of the managers of those institutions to react to the problem. And if you search the WaPo over the past couple of days, there is nothing on the Daily Caller stories, so either management does not care or it does not read anything out of its comfort zone, such as the Daily Caller, and has not been informed by its subordinates, the former members of J-List (surprise!).

    http://tinyurl.com/22nswrx

    Then we get stupid stuff like Bob Scheiffer saying he “didn’t know” about the New Black Panther story, and the WaPo exercising their “news judgment” in deciding not to cover it. You know, I’d be a heck of a lot more sympathetic to those arguments if those judgment calls didn’t ALWAYS resolve themselves in favor of the Democrat/progressive side of an issue.

    As to Brietbart, he’s been damaged, but I think it is too early to say he’s through. The people who will say he’s completely discredited are the ones who were against him and all he stands for in the first place.

  2. jenn1964 permalink*
    July 21, 2010 6:41 pm

    I’m not going to say Breitbart’s credibility is destroyed forever, but for the foreseeable future he is completely non-credible.

    I thought about the management angle on J-List earlier today and I am leaning towards the third possibility, management didn’t say anything because they were participating.

  3. smitty permalink
    July 21, 2010 9:47 pm

    It would have been better if he had had the full video, but I don’t know about your claim that his credibility is destroyed.
    I’d say everyone is going to take a slightly less enthusiastic look at his stuff, but that, too is a feature.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      July 21, 2010 10:21 pm

      I’ll stand by that remark. I don’t see how in the foreseeable future anything Breitbart posts can be viewed without immediately questioning it’s authenticity, and it allows critics to merely point and say “It’s Breitbart, it’s probably doctored” , much like the Besailles episode earlier this week. What’s worse is this is not the first time Breitbart has been accused of selective editing. There were also questions about the ACORN Pimp and Ho videos.

      The New York Daily News quotes a law enforcement source who says that while the video by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide illicit money, an unedited version wasn’t as clear-cut.

      “They edited the tape to meet their agenda,” the Daily News quotes the source saying.

      http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ny_prosecutor_clears_acorn_workers_in_pimp_and_hooker_incident/?from=widget

      1) Its absolutely true the videos don’t all show the same thing. And it appears well-documented now that the videos , in some cases, left out what I would call some exculpatory material that might make you see ACORN in a more favorable light. For example, in one, a San Bernadino employee at ACORN explains that there is no way ACORN would support what the couple were proposing, and she asks if they are putting her on, candid-camera style

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/09/23/DI2009092302081.html

      I haven’t seen the unedited videos, and I probably never will, I’m not exactly on the inner circle of the vast right wing conspiracy, so I don’t know if the above allegations are true or not, but the fact that there were already questions about whether Breitbart and Co. selectively edit videos should have made them extra careful in how they handled this.

  4. July 22, 2010 1:01 pm

    I’m gonna disagree with you on Breitbart’s credibility. Sherrod’s credibility is the real issue here, as Dan Riehl pointed out. http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=38192 As for him editing the Sherrod video, he posted the same version that had been available on YouTube when the Daily Caller first mentioned it.

    Fact is, you continue to read the statements being made by Sherrod, and I just don’t see the evidence that she’s moved beyond a racialist view of the world. I certainly don’t see the rationale for canonizing Sherrod as a victim of shoddy journalism.

    As far as the “pimp and ho” videos, they were edited to make them more sensational, sure. That doesn’t mean that people at ACORN offices didn’t advise the aspiring whoremonger on his options; some of them very clearly did.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      July 22, 2010 9:50 pm

      I disagree.

      Brietbart is the one who took a clearly edited video and put it out there in an attempt to play gotcha with the NAACP and got caught. As I said above given that this isn’t the first time there have been such accusations he knew he was going to be scrutinized closely and he did it anyway. Unfortunately he sucked a lot of people in with him. Breitbart is a bomb thrower and he will cause a lot of harm before he is done. If people are smart they will take my advice and stay far far away from him.

      I am going to follow the old adage “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me” I will be doing a lot of double checking before I ever link anything from a Brietbart site again.

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