Tag Archives: Andrew Breitbart

Tacitus now blogging at the Guardian?

Joshua Treviño’s first [and last!] column for Guardian US on Republican politics will appear on Monday.

(Or not. Poll at foot of page.)

Joshua Treviño for many years blogged under the name of “Tacitus”. As Tacitus, in 2004, he founded a discussion board so explicitly rightwing that its posting rules treated centrist or left-wing comments as disruptive behaviour for which even an unwitting offender could be banned without warning:

A little clarification is in order. Pursuant to the mission statement, this site is explicitly meant to serve as a conservative and Republican community. Postings, comments, etc., contrary to this purpose fall under the rubric of “disruptive behavior” and will result in banning. You may or may not get a warning — it depends on how harried the moderators are. If you are coming from a non-conservative, non-Republican context, you are still welcome here, but you must respect the site’s stated purpose.

That stated purpose was, if you weren’t a Republican, to make you one:

Nazis, Islamists, Communists and racists are unwelcome at redstate.org. Any other person of basic good sense and goodwill, regardless of party, is welcome to participate and hopefully come around to the ideals of Republicanism.

By “Islamists” Treviño wanted to be clear that he only meant bad Muslims. He was banned from Obsidian Wings (“The Voice of Moderation” – a multi-member blog which has always aimed at having a range of political voices) because he accused one of the bloggers, an evangelical Christian, of “promoting Islam” by quoting approvingly the chief Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, saying in his annual sermon:

“Islam is the religion of moderation. There is no room for extremism in Islam,” he said. He called on Muslims to “protect non-Muslims in the Kingdom and not to attack them in the country or anywhere. Islam is a religion of peace that abhors attack on innocents.”

Treviño’s response to this was:

You are intent on promoting Islam — and yes, I think that is an accurate phrasing — inasmuch as you chronically misrepresent it and its spokesmen in order to portray it positively. If this isn’t “promotion,” precious little is.

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The Breitbart problem

Andrew Breitbart used James O’Keefe’s fabricated “pimp videos” to kill off ACORN, the progressive organisation that worked to register low-income voters. That may be Breitbart’s most enduring legacy. I thought this blogpost would be called “the Thatcher” problem, but she is still alive; or the Rupert Murdoch problem, but he’s still alive too.

The problem:

What do you do when someone thoroughly detestable dies?

Unlike Thatcher, who will die well into her retirement (and well after her mind has retired), and unlike Rupert Murdoch, whose evil has generally been carried out through employees and subsidaries, Andrew Breitbart’s evil was active and personal.

On 19th July 2010, Andrew Breitbart posted two short videos showing excerpts of a speech by Shirley Sherrod, Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture, at an NAACP fundraising dinner in March 2010.

In the 1960s Shirley Sherrod established a land trust with her husband, for poor black farmers in Georgia: New Communities, Inc.

In his first post about the video, Breitbart wrote: “In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white.” He also strongly implied that Sherrod was describing recent actions as a USDA official unser President Obama, though since he had seen the full tape he knew that she was talking about an event in the 1960s. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News picked up on this, and accused Shirley Sherrod and NAACP of “reverse racism”, and Sherrod was fired.

When NAACP put the full video up on their website, you can read the full transcript here. The bold section is the part that Andrew Breitbart exercpted for his video. NAACP had accused the Tea Party movement of racism. (This is shown to be true.) Breitbart took a videorecording of a black speaker to a majority-black audience, where the speaker was making an impassioned defense of the principle that it is not black or white but rich and poor that unite and divide Americans, and the audience was applauding her. And Breitbart edited it to make it look as if she were saying the exact opposite.
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Filed under In The Media, Racism