Gotcha Journalism Doesn’t Even Need a Gotcha Anymore

Update 2011 06/06: I was wrong. And Fuck Weiner for giving Breitbart a win, and for screwing the people who defended him, and for putting his wife at risk of public humiliation.

Andrew Breitbart is making headlines talking and posting about Congressman Anthony Weiner. I personally think Weiner’s account was hacked, as he claims it was. Mediaite posts a good for-and-against analysis. I think it’s unlikely that he sent a lewd photo of himself to a woman he doesn’t seem to know. There is no evidence of any raunchy conversation preceding the photo, so the congressman would have sent it with no provocation. Even Favre seems to have had a history of sexting. Weiner does not.

If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. I doubt Breitbart will if he’s wrong. But considering the amount of evidence currently available, he’s crowing pretty loudly and getting a lot of attention from this. How would the media act if Weiner was a right winger? Much more low key. Salon has a good explanation of that point of view.

Andrew Breitbart’s biggest stories have all been discredited. The Sherrod tape was doctored. The ACORN tapes where a hoax. The tapes he shows are edited for distortion, like something out of a movie where the cops get a guy to turn on his buddies by playing a chopped up recording that sounds like his buddies conspiring against him. Mr. Breitbart’s friends provide excuses for his erroneous reporting. But even if you have real good reasons for continuously reporting false information, that doesn’t make you a reliable news source, does it?

Of course Breitbart’s accuracy deficiency is common among right wing pundits. Maybe some day science will provide an answer to the question of why the right wing is so often wrong.

I decided to wander to the dark side and take a look at what Big Government had to say about the ACORN tapes. What I found was continuing attacks against ACORN. Most of the attacks that Big Government lodges against ACORN have not been about the ridiculous pimp scandal, but about falsified voter registration forms. Despite all the hot air about the falsified forms, these forms could not have resulted in any invalid votes. For example, in Nevada, voter cards were turned in with the names of the Dallas Cowboys. But even if these cards where never identified, none of the Cowboys were ever going to show up and vote in a Nevada election. So the falsified records served no advantage to ACORN or any political party or candidate. This is a key fact. ACORN did not gain, could not have gained, and could not have assumed that they would gain anything by turning in falsified forms. That’s explained pretty well by Chuck Ardo. What likely happened is exactly what ACORN says happened: people that ACORN hired to canvass turned in falsified forms in order to look like they were doing what they were hired to do. Breitbart took down an organization by posting false information, he’s proud of it, and continues to operate in the same fashion.

Listening to Breitbart means you enjoy shocking and lewd stories about Liberals and don’t even care if they’re true. It’s like a bully who, before picking a fight, comes up with some sort of pretext like “Hey, you looking at me!” or “Don’t you owe me fifty bucks?” It apparently makes no difference that nobody really believes the pretext as long as it’s fun and you get beat somebody up. What other excuse can there be for having a repeatedly discredited journalist on a news show? This is a real sorry state of affairs in journalism and the American public’s thirst for entertainment that looks like news.

Much of what the media is telling you is wrong, especially if you’re getting your information from the likes of Andrew Breitbart. The right wing continuously cries about how the Union is in danger. They’re right. And we won’t be safe until We the People start double checking the assertions of our news people and holding them accountable for their mistakes and their lies.

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