Per The Atlantic: “The news of Mr. Breitbart’s death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning,” said Shirley Sherrod of Andrew Breitbart. ”My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart’s family as they cope during this very difficult time. I do not intend to make any further comments.” I wonder, though, would Andrew Breitbart have been so charitable, and— dare I say it as Rick Santorum, the Catholic Bishops, Orrin Hatch spouting religious freedom, Tea Party zealots and right-wing evangelicals polka— Christian? Shirley’s a very classy lady, right? Only in that she keeps her feeling at the kitchen table. My source here in DC says that the kitchen table discourse, if transcribed, went something like this: “God don’t like ugly, and God makes ugly apparent to all but the ugly. Such is their conceit…”
Andrew Breitbart was only 43. He looked like he was 63. Checkmate, Shirley.
Oh, the insider journo universe, particularly new-school digital gossipers, curators-aggregators, polemic writers, whether the typical white guys & gals, or right-wing loons, came out to both praise or bury him. Per Muck Rack, Reuters’ Felix Salmon tweeted: “Whoa. Andrew Breitbart died? I didn’t like his politics, but the man grokked the internet like few others.” ABC’s Terry Moran tweeted: “I’ll remember his enormous, brawling passion and ready good cheer. For better and worse, he reshaped modern journalism.”
Todd Wasserman at Mashable said the former Drudge Report editor was “arguing until the end, logging his final tweet at 2:25 AM EST.
He was a pioneer at using the internet e-newspaper/magazine (culiminating in Big Journalism) and Twitter as media outlets the way the first jerk used the Gutenberg press to print slander, or the first propagandists and pogrom-minded demogague used the typeface to gin up hate, witchhunts, war, looting. Same happened with radio, then TV. That still makes him a pioneer, a digital Walter Winchell, or even Hearst, so he gets a cheer there. He wasn’t a path in the same evolutionary line as the great conservative editorial writers like the Alsops or Drew Pearson. But one could at least draw a dotted, meandering line back.
That’s all I can bear to give him. I am no Shirley Sherrod. My Biblical reference when it comes to these men is Old Testament-rooted. Something they can understand. Indeed, think of the way the Lord drained the wicked or hubris-filled of physical vitality, aging them before their downfall. God don’t like ugly…
His vitriol against a dead Ted Kennedy was legendary, an arguably it set the tone for the barnburning, quasi Klannish & Beer Hall Putsch media focus of the GOP rightwing wave that crested in the House of Representatives and many statehouses in 2010. This venom has a way of poisoning the deliverer, and we are seeing the rot within the GOP now as they pick a man who reverse history and beat the great brown Satan polluting their White House. Teddy K, and ying and yang of great good and great perfidy, made it across Styx based on public service and justice. Like Shirley Sherrod, most of his friends and cohorts are saying nothing outside of the kitchen about Andrew Breibart. Indoors, I’m sure they are lamenting how Breitbart will likely have his minion James O’Keefe commit suicide so both can pull an ACORN on Charon the Ferryman…
When Dangerfield Newby died in the Harpers Ferry raid, the 19th Century version of Andrew Breitbart went into action to misreport the raid, even ensure that Newby’s wife, the very catalyst for his involvement, was sold off. They pushed Southern moderates and patricians to war with the Big Journalism and Big Hollywood political insanity such as The Wanderer conspiracy (like ACORN ad nauseum) and “mongrelization” culture wars. They sent the 19th Century version of O’Keefe to slander Northern politicians and anti-slavery leaders, to deride anyone who’d ever said a kind word about Newby…or even bought a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. These people were scum. if they were black, they were less than human. If they were white, then they were not real Americans. Such is like the dry tinder of 2012. Thanks for making things worse, Andrew, not better.
Jump the present. Perhaps this story can provide the allegory for Andrew Breitbart’s species of ugly. Current TV broke a story, oh so small and he-said, she-said, wherein James O’Keefe, under Andrew Breitbart’s aegis, tried to get a woman named Nadia Naffee to make up claims of being raped at an Occupy [Wall Street] event. O’Keefe plied her with liquor, took her back to his parents house to get prepped, and then when she changed her mind O’Keefe locked her in a barn on his parents property and threatened her, allegedly with another man present as well. She threatened to call police and before letting her out he offered her money to stay silent about what happened. She implicated Andrew Breitbart.
Of course we know this track succeeded in coloring the Occupy movement as aimless dirty layabouts, oddly with the complicity of supposed liberal media outlets like CNN, even MSNBC. That Andrew Breitbart never refuted these claims isn’t troubling, nor is it necessary to catalog James O’Keefe’s sins. What its worrisome is the idea that his methods don’t matter to his fans. Mostly white males: arrogant in their assumption that they are the only worthy Americans, paranoid that history and demographics are burying those assumptions. Andrew Breitbart awakened something in them. Something ugly.
That’s why Shirley Sherrod responded with such “class,” as a Christian. She’s suffered the ugly. It’s no use tempting more of it with the truth, in her mind. The lady was weary. As are we all.
—Christopher Chambers, Washington DC