Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tea Party Hearts Breitbart Lies

The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth ~ H.L. Mencken (9/12/1880 to 1/29/1956) an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English.

Unqualified Candidates

If you're like me, you're probably asking yourself "how much longer will the Tea Party joke continue?" Wednesday night (9/15/2010) a lesser qualified and not quite as intelligent Sarah Palin wannabe and Conservative Christian nutjob by the name of Christine O'Donnell "defeated" her Republican opponent, nine-term US congressman and former Delaware governor Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Primary. Her Democratic opponent in the November race for Joe Biden's old Senate seat will be moderate Democrat Christopher Coons.

O'Donnell, who has been accused of using campaign donations for rent and personal expenses, claimed a "big victory", even though only roughly 16% of registered Republicans in Delaware's closed primary cast their ballot for her (30,561 out of approximately 179,941). The fact that this is double the Republican turnout in the 2008 primary shows how much an influence angry idiots can have on an election.

The Tea Party apparently likes the idea of electing unqualified candidates to political office. Although I'm sure that isn't the way they'd state the case. I'd guess the Palin-endorsed O'Donnell is another "regular Jane" Tea Partiers mad at the "establishment" can relate to. Barack Obama is "professorial" and Liberals are intellectual elites who just don't understand them. The Tea Party Joes and Janes don't want someone to explain the issues to them, they want a dumbed-down message delivered by a charismatic Lonesome Rhodes everyman (or woman) who tells them what they want to hear, regardless of the facts.

Professional Liars

This explains why they turned out for the newly minted televangelist and huckster prophet Glenn Beck's sermon and book promotion "restoring honor" rally on 8/28/2010. And why they continue to place their trust in professional Conservative mud slingers like Andrew Breitbart. Most Democratic voters who follow politics know this is the slimeball who attempted to smear Shirley Sherrod with a deceptively edited video and got caught (7/19/2010).

But this wasn't the first nor the last manufactured video controversy Breitbart has been involved in. James O'Keef's undercover ACORN "sting" videos were used by Breitbart to launch his "Big Government" website (the videos were released between 9/10/2009 and 9/17/2009). The ACORN videos were found to be "heavily edited" deceptive splice jobs by investigating law enforcement agencies. In at least one instance an ACORN employee later called the authorities and filled them in regarding the illegal activities O'Keefe had described to him. No charges were ever filed against ACORN in connection with the videos.

Are we to believe Breitbart posts excerpts but never views complete videos? This is the lame excuse he offered when his Shirley Sherrod clips were revealed to be highly misleading. He offered no excuse or apology in regards to the ACORN tapes, but I suspect he viewed the complete tapes and was a participant in the editing process... in both cases. With his reputation (theoretically) on the line, it would be unlikely he would post any clip without viewing the complete tape. Breitbart's strategy clearly is simply to get the damaging video out there and hope the public doesn't notice (or care) when the "evidence" is debunked later.

It worked with ACORN, which no longer exists thanks to his efforts. I'm sure he expected the same results with the Sherrod tape... he just wasn't expecting to be outed as soon as he was. And, even though it was quickly debunked, there was damage done - the Obama administration was made to look foolish when US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack over-reacted and asked for Sherrod's resignation without investigating the veracity of the claims. Being caught lying means nothing to the operatives defending the Republican (and now Tea Party) noise machine. It's guerrilla (class) warfare, or what Rush Limbaugh refers to as "the drive-by media".

Accusing your enemy of using the very same tactics you are employing tends to deflate the criticisms against you - especially when you make the accusations before your enemy does. This explains why Glenn Beck claimed President Obama has a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture", why Breitbart (attempted) to smear Shirley Sherrod as a "black racist", why the Tea Party members often carry signs stating the Obama Administration is racist, and why so many conservatives blogs display placards saying the same (see images below).

More Video Evidence?

This brings me to a third (or second, chronologically - see "Breitbart Deceptively Edited Video Timeline" below) Breitbart manufactured video controversy that you may have previously been unaware of. Or at least I was until my recent visit to "The Voltron Ruffian Blog" (VRB). As reported by the Huffington Post, a 3/20/2010 health care legislation protest rally turned ugly when several Democratic Congressmen were assaulted by Tea Partiers who shouted racist and homophobic slurs at Georgia Representative John Lewis and Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank.

Indiana Representative André Carson recalls that, "while walking with John Lewis and his chief of staff from the Cannon building, amid chants of Kill the bill he heard the N-word at least 15 times". Missouri representative Emanuel Cleaver reported that he was spat on by a protester. Democrat Heath Shuler of North Carolina (who is white) said he also heard the slurs.

Of course I'd heard about the "Kill the Bill" D.C. rally and the verbal and spitting assault on our Democratic House members - and Breitbart's offer of a $100,000 donation to the United Negro College Fund for any audio/video footage of the incident - but I wasn't aware that Breitbart actually found video footage proving the attack didn't happen as reported.

When I responded to the VRB post "Andrew Breitbart: The American People Are The 4th Estate", post author and VRB contributor Freedom Fan told me to "study the video evidence if you really care about the truth". According to Mr. Fan, "there is no question that Andre Carson and Eldridge Cleaver, The CBC, [and the] NAACP are liars". Freedom Fan described the incident as part of the Left's "Goebbels Big Lie Smear of the Tea Party movement as racists".

The video evidence, as one might expect, is of a different moment during the protest, and not of the moment when the racial slurs were uttered. Columnist Tommy Christopher of Meidaite correctly points out, "several crudely-shot 5 to 7 second video clips of poor audio quality [are not] proof positive that nothing happened that day". More importantly, "[we need] to go over the other evidence that the incident did occur, at least as told by the corroborating testimony of three credible eyewitnesses", notably "John Lewis [who] is a hero of the Civil Rights movement". Christopher concludes that "no video of the incident [is the] thinnest refutation possible".

Also, while no footage exists (or has been released) on which the racial slurs can be heard (possibly because of the poor audio quality of the Breitbart clips), the same cannot be said of the homophobic epithet hurled at Congressman Barney Frank. A 4/11/2010 Washington Post article reveals that "an ABC News video recorded the incident inside a House office building". The video "clearly captures a protester shouting, Barney, you faggot". The article does suggest that the spitting incident may not have been deliberate, but an accidental spraying by a rabidly screaming tea bagger. Fair enough, I say. It is believable that the loogies may have been unintentional.

However, while there may be no video on which the N-word can be heard being uttered, we do have the word of three respected members of Congress, "each of whom [has] little motivation to lie". It is NOT believable that the event was fabricated by the Left "to marginalize Tea Party supporters", as Breitbart claims. I think we have more than enough evidence to conclude that the incident happened as described by the Congressmen who were there. Breitbart was not present, and his video footage proves nothing.

Eldridge Cleaver (who Freedom Fan identified as one of the liars in his response to my comment) wasn't there either... because he has been dead for more than 12 years. Eldridge Cleaver was a leading member of the (original) Black Panther Party, and isn't related to Missouri Democrat Emanuel Cleaver. I mention this identification of the wrong man as being present at the rally because it is the lie direct from Breitbart's lips. The fool can't even be bothered to get the genuine facts right in his mostly fabricated story - and Mr. Fan can't be bothered to do any independent research - instead using a known liar as his only source.

Breitbart: Tea Party Hero?

Freedom Fan concludes by saying "Andrew Breitbart is a national hero for calling the Libs' bluff and defending the honor of the decent folks in the Tea Party movement". First of all, the preponderance of the evidence has unequivocally proven Breitbart to be a unethical lying slimeball. Secondly, no one on the Left has ever claimed EVERYONE who identifies with the Tea Party movement is a racist (or a homophobe). I believe, while I strongly disagree with their politics, there certainly are decent people who have been deluded into believing Tea Party economics would solve America's ills.

Because of the recent NAACP resolution that condemed "extremist ELEMENTS within the Tea Party, and called for "Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches", Freedom Fan included the "current president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" Ben Jealous on his list of liars. However, when the Tea Party claims the NAACP resolution is without merit they deny ANY of it's members harbor racist sentiments. Not one single racist has ever attended a Tea Party rally? That REALLY is unbelievable.

As I pointed out in my 11/29/2009 post titled "The Racists Who Disagree With Us", Jimmy Carter was absolutely correct when he said the racists in the Tea Party are a "radical fringe element". The debate could be put to rest very easily. The Tea Party leaders could agree with the NAACP resolution and issue a zero tolerance policy for any racist language or signage. The reason they don't do this is because they are using the racists in their movement to their advantage (in their smear campaign against the Obama Administration).

Asserting that our President isn't Constitutionally eligible to serve because he was born in Kenya or that he has an "anti-colonialist agenda inherited from his father" - is an attempt to delegitimize his presidency. It is also thinly veiled racism. Those putting forth these cockamamie theories are telling their base that it's OK to use racist arguments against Obama, his administration, and all minorities - so long as your racism/bigotry is at least thinly veiled. Or not. Take a look at some of the signs these Tea Partiers carry. I wouldn't call them "thinly veiled" at all. Which is why they attack Obama and the Left for their "racism". To deflect criticism of their own racism.

Tea Party Loves Liars

And this explains why Tea Partiers like Freedom Fan are eager to believe a discredited moral cretin like Breitbart. The Breitbarts, Gingrichs and D'Souzas tell them what they want to hear - it's OK to associate with a movement that condones racism within it's ranks. It's OK to use whatever methods, no matter how vile, if they are effective in taking down your opponent. The Communist and Socialist accusations have been levied at Democrats for decades now, and despite the fact that their side favors plutocracy, the Communist/Socialist/Marxist charges have gained traction. They've conflated socialism with fascism to the point where their followers don't know the difference.

Under the Obama administration they've managed to conflate legitimate concerns over racism with attacks on the entire Tea Party movement. They actually believe the Left is attacking them by labeling policy disagreements racism! The Tea Party fancies itself an anti-establishment movement - but this simply isn't true. They are pawns of wealthy elites like the Koch brothers who are playing them for suckers. You can't get more "establishment" than the upper one percenters. Don't try making this argument to a Tea Partier, however. They honestly believe the billionaire-funded FreedomWorks (headed by establishment figure and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey) is "grass roots".

In other words they truly do admire daring liars and detest those who try to tell them the truth. I don't know how a rational mind could reach any other conclusion regarding anyone who would suggest Breitbart is a "national hero"... but these are the same people who buy into Frank Luntz's spin (although, I'd say Luntz is a tad classier than Breitbart). Andrew Breitbart is a morally repugnant sleaze merchant and exposed liar - and the Tea Party loves him for it. That, and the fact that they'd vote for someone as unqualified as Christine O'Donnel to represent them in the US Senate really speaks to just how gullible and misinformed these people are.

Breitbart Deceptively Edited Video Timeline
->9/10/2009 & 9/17/2009: Deceptively Edited ACORN videos released. Note: O'Keefe dresses as a pimp outside ACORN offices, but wears a dress shirt and pants inside.
->03/20/2010: Breitbart releases several crudely-shot 5-7 second video clips with poor audio quality which he claims "prove" nothing "racially charged" happened.
->7/19/2010: Shirley Sherrod is forced to resign from her position as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the US Department of Agriculture after blogger Andrew Breitbart posts deceptively edited excerpts of Sherrod's address at a March 2010 NAACP event to his website.

Further Reading & Viewing
[1] Teabaggers Money to Be Had! by Grung_e_Gene, Disaffected And it Feels so Good (blog), 9/15/2010.
[2] American Thinker: "Obama's racism against whites is upfront, in your face racism" Posted by Media Matters staff 11/23/2009.
[3] Zazzle T-shirt: I'm a typical white person appalled by Obama's racism.

Images: Placards often found on Conservative blogs.


SWTD #52