Thursday, March 24, 2011
Well, that was fun while it lasted.
It's one thing for the mainstream media to wrap both hands around Andrew Breitbart and clutch his doughy white ass while they fellate him, only to suddenly have second thoughts when the act inevitably makes them feel all icky. That's what the mass media are there for: to be hopelessly out of touch with reality. When ABC News embraced Breitbart a while back, infamously announcing that he would be part of the network's mid-term election coverage, then had second thoughts upon being reminded that Breitbart had time and time again proven himself to be an unscrupulous tool, it almost didn't seem like that much of a shock. But while the traditional press may have looked at a guy like Breitbart and only seen his SEO status and Q Score -- and therefore his potential to help it reach that elusive red meat crowd -- you'd think that those within the new media sphere who are intimately familiar with the guy's modus operandi would've known to stay the hell away from him.
Case in point: The Huffington Post.
There's been a hell of a lot of indignation of late aimed at HuffPo for its decision to allow Andrew Breitbart a platform on the left from which to spew his anti-left invective. The argument is that letting Breitbart into one of Progressive America's most powerful media strongholds (I always imagine him being like the Terminator casually wandering into the rebel hideout, sending the dogs into a frenzy then pulling his phased plasma rifle and opening fire on the hapless humans) isn't simply a case of magnanimously allowing for a dissenting opinion or for honest dialogue between two highly polarized political camps; it's a case of giving one of the right's most shamelessly avowed con men -- a guy whose reputation for trafficking in lies and perpetuating hoaxes is irrefutably documented -- credibility as something other than the pompous bullshit artist and schoolyard bully he is. I wish I could argue with this, because I really do think we should try to move past the ridiculous left-vs.-right ethos, but given his track record there should be no abiding Andrew Breitbart -- not by anyone seeking to have a legitimate adversarial debate based on facts.
So, no, Breitbart never should've been welcomed as an above-the-fold Huffington Post contributor (regardless of the fact that he had a hand in creating the publication). That said, the decision by HuffPo to now rescind that above-the-fold status -- to basically allow him to post at the site, just without the raised profile -- is almost too absurd to even comprehend. Just yesterday HuffPo said it stood behind its decision to give Breitbart the kind of spotlight that other, lesser-known contributors would kill for -- but today it's announcing an institutional change of heart. Why? Supposedly because this morning Andrew Breitbart unleashed a vicious "ad hominem" attack on Van Jones in the Daily Caller; in other words, Andrew Breitbart did exactly what Andrew Breitbart does. Once again, it's not like the people at HuffPo couldn't have predicted that Breitbart would at some point say something that would offend their sensibilities; he's made an entire career out of doing that. To claim that he hadn't stepped over the line until this very morning is laughably stupid -- or entirely disingenuous, which is more likely. The fact is that HuffPo was besieged by a hellacious backlash in the wake of its decision to put Breitbart on the front page and, well, it caved.
Why would the Huffington Post even bother to put Breitbart on the front page -- where he could thumb his nose at those whose belief system he's sought to destroy -- knowing that there would be a revolt, then yank him when the inevitable revolt happened?
Because now all they've done is given Andrew Breitbart exactly what he wanted: the ability to shout to everyone throughout his own online empire that those arrogant liberals try to quash the opinions of anyone who disagrees with them.
By the way, Van Jones is a good friend of Arianna's -- and what have we learned is the one rule of writing for the Huffington Post? You don't insult Arianna's friends. Can you imagine if that's really what this is all about: a pissing match between two very rich new media titans? How fucking shameful and tragic would that be -- and how far removed is that kind of nonsense from the lives of rest of us, the little people who take sides between these two?