As someone who has closely watched the media for over two decades now, I’ve seen an awful lot of shameful behavior. But I have never seen anything like CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien’s now infamous “do-over.” Never before have I seen a network anchor attempt to memory-hole and cover up her own misinformation campaign by bringing on as a guest someone who would agree with her 100%.
And as I watched this pitiful segment unfold, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Breitbart is here.”
It all started the day after Andrew’s funeral, when BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith thought he would scoop Breitbart by releasing video of a then 28-year-old Barack Obama speaking before a crowd at Harvard and asking them to “open their hearts and minds to the words” of Derrick Bell, a radical racialist and proponent of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Though he was wrong and did not have what Breitbart had, Smith thought he did and thought he had scooped us. That kind of competition is, of course, totally fair game. The problem, though, is that Ben Smith wasn’t as interested in scooping our story as he was in protecting Obama from what he thought was our story.
As I detailed in this piece, this is what Ben Smith does. It’s what drives him and it’s what has come to define him. He grabs hold of a potentially explosive story that could damage Obama and attempts to control the explosion in a way that protects Obama. In the case of Derrick Bell and CRT, Smith followed his usual protocol. The subtext to his partial release of the tape was obvious: Breitbart’s big Obama video-scoop only makes Obama look even more awesome than we already thought he was!
Talk about playing into Andrew’s hands.
In one fell swoop, Ben Smith did something we couldn’t. Breitbart’s Bigs not only had a story about yet another one of Obama’s radical past associations, but thanks to Smith, we now had that story with a side-order of media corruption.
This is what Andrew would call a twofer. It was a perfect example of the media behaving in the way that drove Andrew to create Big Journalism. It wasn’t enough for Smith to downplay his own story. What he was aggressively attempting to do was downplay the impact of our story as well. This wasn’t the media holding power accountable or pouring sunlight on an issue. This was the media protecting power and blocking the sunlight.
Smith couldn’t stop the train, though. The Derrick Bell story exploded — and the media went into spin mode full-bore, as Andrew would have predicted. Rather than add context to the story and educate the public on CRT, what Andrew appropriately called the Democrat-Media-Complex spent the next four days using all of their might to push back on something they laughably declared a “non-story.”
Thanks to New Media, though, that didn’t work out very well, and as a consequence, America got to understand a little better what drives and motivates the man currently sitting in the Oval Office. Thanks to Andrew Breitbart, America got exactly what he had promised them during his CPAC speech earlier in the year when he told the audience he had video that will “show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what ‘hope and change’ was sold to in 2008.”
Andrew wanted to help Americans see behind the media’s protective curtain around Obama, and he’s already more than delivered. Not only through the video and corresponding stories, but also through the shameful way “journalists” like Ben Smith and Soledad O’Brien behaved in reaction to the video’s release.
Predictably, many in the media attempted to use the Race Card … because that’s all they’ve got. But it didn’t work this time, which means it will never work again. For starters, the facts were on the side of all those in New Media pushing the story; after four years of being called racist for simply disagreeing with the President, the effect of that kind of name-calling has pretty much worn off.
In one way, that’s great — it means that false cries of “racism” will be ignored. In another way, that’s terrible — nobody wants to see real racism ignored just because Obama’s Media Palace Guards cried “wolf” once too often.
And when I say “real racism, I of course mean the disgraceful moment in this CNN segment (a lowlight in a hundred different ways for both CNN and O’Brien) where Jay Thomas attacked Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollak (6:30 mark) over the color of his skin.
Jay Thomas has always been a bully, but for O’Brien to stand by idly and let this happen on her program shows how desperate she was for help, no matter from what source.
Then came the epic blowback.
After this segment aired, something truly beautiful and American happened: New Media exploded. Not just blogs and talk radio, but also Twitter. Citizen Journalists from all walks of life spoke truth to the power that is CNN and Soledad O’Brien until she couldn’t take the heat anymore. Eventually, O’Brien would not only ask her viewers (customers) to stop tweeting her, but for a time she disappeared from Twitter altogether.
And then came that laughably pathetic do-over, what the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple correctly dubbed as the “consensus choir”:
O’Brien apparently felt the sting, because this morning she revisited the topic with Dorothy Brown, a law professor at Emory University. Over a seven-minute segment, O’Brien and Brown agreed that Pollak and Breitbart.com had it wrong in every possible way. As a CNN viewer, I’ll gladly take the initial, contentious segment over O’Brien’s chorus-of-consensus do-over.
Why would a major cable network figure behave in such a publicly shameful way?
Throughout all of this the spirit of Andrew Breitbart was there, because the spirit of Breitbart now lives in so many. Challenging the media and holding journalists accountable wasn’t invented by Andrew, but in many ways it was perfected by him and through his work, and speeches, and tweets. Mostly, it was perfected through his example — he inspired thousands of us not to take the MSM’s word for it. Moreover, he helped hone and share the tools that made that possible — Twitter, blogs, protest, and fearlessness.
Breitbart is here … in every blog started by a mom somewhere in the Midwest who can’t take the media’s lies anymore.
Breitbart is here … in every tweet exposing the MSM fired off by some regular guy who’s fed up.
Breitbart is here … in every student who takes a camera into the classroom because she knows a teacher abusing his or her authority when she sees it.
Brietbart is here … in every Tea Party housewife only made more determined by the media’s baseless attacks.
And most importantly, Breitbart is here … living rent-free in the heads of the MSM for as long as you and I and all of us refuse to be lied to and bullied.