This is the story of an empty threat laid bare by unforeseen events. It's becoming clear that Breitbart didn't have any damaging video, but that's not stopping his fans from clamoring for it. And that's a bit of a problem.
Brett Smiley, New York Magazine:
Breitbart.com's explosive, blockbuster video that would expose Barack Obama as a radical commie who wasn't vetted by the media was almost entirely hype.
Breitbart.com's editor-in-chief Joel Pollak and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro appeared together on Fox News Wednesday night with Sean Hannity to discuss the one-minute teaser clip released earlier today in which a younger Barack Obama, president of Harvard Law Review, spoke to a group at a rally about racial equality among the Harvard Law staff. The demonstration was led by professor Derrick Bell, who took an unpaid leave of absence in protest of a lack of female black professors at the school.
"Open your hearts and open your minds to the words of professor Derrick Bell," Obama said in 1991.
And that was it.
The rightwing blog PJ Tatler explains what the big, terrible, shocking deal is here. It turns out that Derrick Bell, who died last year, was a Harvard law professor who was "credited with developing 'critical race theory,' which suggested that the U.S. legal system was inherently biased against African Americans and other minorities because it was built on an ingrained white point of view. He argued in his many books and lectures that the life experiences of black people and other minorities should be considered in hiring decisions and in applying the law."
So far, so nothing. But we're not to the stretchy part yet. Citing his obituary, PJ finds that "Some scholars, both black and white, challenged Bell’s ideas, as well as his strong support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan."
Aha! There you go; young Barack Obama once knew a guy who knew Louis Farrakhan. Therefore, Barack Obama hates white people. This is weak. This isn't even guilt by association; it's guilt by association, by association. It's a crazy game of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," where you can connect anyone to anyone you like -- perfected by the logically-impaired Glenn Beck, before Fox got sick of hosting that hothouse of lunacy.
But why stop there? Why stop at Farrakhan? Here's video of Louis Farrakhan praising Ron Paul for wanting to audit the fed. And Ron Paul infamously ran a racist newsletter. Since, as the wingnuts seem to believe, if you know someone it means you agree with every single thought they've ever had, we have to conclude -- as we follow this chain -- that Barack Obama doesn't hate white people, Barack Obama hates black people. Obama believes what Bell believed, which was what Farrakhan believes, which is what Paul believes. Right? I mean, according to the rightwing blogosphere, that's the way things work.
Of course, that means you can take Paul's association with the Republican Party and eventually make Eric Cantor believe what Farrakhan believes or John Boehner believe what Obama believes. In fact, since there is no unknown person in the world, we all believe the same damned things, since association is like a virus that turns you into an ideological clone of everyone you know. What's all this fighting about then?
What we learn from this little exercise is that -- as the right argues until it's more convenient to argue otherwise -- everyone is an individual, capable of generating their own thoughts. We also learn that the old saw about politics making for strange bedfellows is true.
And we also learn that you shouldn't make empty threats to generate headlines and drive traffic to your site. It might just bite you in the ass in the great beyond. Which, if we continue this line of reasoning, is exactly what Andrew Breitbart believed. Makes you wonder why he did it.
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