Guess who ABC has recruited to cover election returns next Tuesday? Andrew Breitbart and his new editor, St. Louis’ own Tea Party favorite, Dana Loesch. Bear in mind that ABC, in distinction to Fox News, still has some lingering claim to being a news organization – although that may not be the case much longer given the network’s response when questioned about their choice of commentators:
Asked about Breitbart’s history of unethical behavior and misinformation, ABC News’ David Ford told Media Matters: “He will be one of many voices on our air, including Bill Adair of Politifact. If Andrew Breitbart says something that is incorrect, we have other voices to call him on it.
To which Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly quite correctly calls foul:
ABC’s explanation for this is woefully unpersuasive — if the right-wing hatchet-man starts lying on the air, “we have other voices to call him on it”? Here’s a crazy thought: if ABC News has reason to believe Breitbart might try to deceive the network’s audience, then maybe he shouldn’t be part of the election-night broadcast.
For that matter, this isn’t exactly a recipe for quality journalism — Breitbart will spew propaganda; others on the broadcast will be there to “call him on it.” Viewers will, in other words, hear some falsehoods and some corrections, but won’t necessarily know who’s right.
In case you haven’t had a chance to develop an appreciation for Mr. Breitbart and Ms. Loesch’s journalistic depravity, Mediamatters offers some links to a few of the highlights of Breitbart’s career; specifically check out the link titled “Wild accusations over Gladney case.” Not only does this link detail a St. Louis event, but Dana Loesch was intimately involved in helping to manufacture a fringewing cause celebre out of poor, inept Mr. Gladney and in pushing it as hard as she could, no matter how she had to fib. It should give you an idea about why it’s is so disturbing that ABC would let either of these night crawlers out into the light.
Some amusing comments on Benen’s post about Breitbart and Loesch on ABC: “… it’s like asking Jeffrey Dahmer to work in a restaurant kitchen“; “What, David Duke was unavailable? “; “… Micheal Vick will be doing commentary for the Kensington Dog Show“; and “That is why comedians deliver news these days while news organizations now do really bad comedy.” Not so amusing, to paraphrase another comment on Benen’s post, is the fact that if the Tea Party does well on Tuesday night, we can expect to see more of this opportunistic pandering to the fringewing crazies in the future.
If you think that these two ethically challenged, hyper-partisan hacks have no place outside of Fox news, let ABC know that you will be watching election coverage elsewhere next Tuesday (and in the future, if this pattern persists). And be clear that you are not objecting to conservative commentary, but to dishonest and unethical pseudo-journalists being legitimized by what has been, until this event at least, a more or less respectable news outlet. You can offer ABC News feedback here.
Update: Steve Benen reports that ABC is feeling the heat; issues clarification of Breitbart’s role – he’ll be part of an online panel only. What about Loesch, online only as well?
I assume that everybody knows all there is to know about the Shirley Sherrod affair. There has been plenty of speculation that the edited Breitbart tape was the opening salvo in a Republican strategy that seeks to portray Obama’s almost hysterically racially neutral administration as favoring blacks over whites – a commonly voiced fear from elderly and working class voters before Obama’s election. An interesting take on the timing of Breitbart’s release of the doctored tape that was presented on TPM last week takes this speculation even further:
It’s also important to understand that Andrew Breitbart’s timing of the release of the grossly distorted video of Sherrod, which he admits having had for weeks, may not be entirely random. Congress will soon vote on whether to fund part of a settlement between the USDA and African-American farmers who faced acknowledged discrimination — farmers like Sherrod and her husband used to be.
From this perspective, the manufactured controversy might have proven to be an effective ploy – in spite of the fact that Breitbart’s selective editing was quickly discovered. Only a few days after all the noise about Sherrod began, the Senate stripped from the war funding bill the allocation for the Pigford II settlement, which would have directed that $1.25 billion in reparations be paid to black farmers who were openly discriminated against by USDA in the 80s and 90s.
Harry Reid’s response to the defeat:
I hoped that tonight the Senate could finally right a wrong that has been left unresolved for far too long. … As recent events have reminded us, the fact that justice and fairness were denied to black farmers for so many years continues to have ramifications today. … Republicans should be held accountable for standing in the way of justice for those affected.
Reid is right about the injustice, but wrong to lay the blame on solely on Republicans. As usual, many of the hard-core, Democratic “moderates” (self-labeled) in the Senate voted along with the Republicans – a point of shame for us in here in Missouri since our own Claire McCaskill once more showed her contempt for Democratic values by joining the folks on the other side of the aisle, who more and more seem to be her true cohorts.
Why, Claire, one is tempted to ask. Does it have anything to do with her absurd deficit posturing (see also here) – which in itself constitutes a potentially harmful little legislative hobby she has taken up in order, one suspects, to appeal to what she seems to believe to be “common-sense” preferences of small town and surburban Missourians. Or perhaps she is really concerned that the racial overtones that often pervade discourse about government spending in Missouri were just too strong in this case – which means that McCaskill will easily be stampeded to the right in order to avoid the fallout from a Republican race-baiting strategy.
The one thing we can be sure of is that the answer with McCaskill always seems to be that she goes along in order to try to get along. In other words, she has no respect for her constituents and is running scared of what she considers their general meanness. Which means that we’ll have to work harder to let her know that we are better than she thinks we are before it’s too late.