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Breitbart on ACORN, Sherrod, and 'Gotcha' Journalism

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Libertarian Andrew Breitbart (Ethan Miller/Getty)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Andrew Breitbart, conservative media critic and author of Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, discussed his book and his take on the big news of the day.

The Clarence Thomas epiphany

It may come as a surprise that Andrew Breitbart grew up a self-described secular liberal before going on to build a mini-media empire specializing in conservative talking points, defenses of the Tea Party, and criticisms of mainstream journalism. It may also come as a surprise that Breitbart's transformational epiphany came during the Clarence Thomas hearings, in which the Supreme Court Justice was investigated for sexual harassment.

I went into the Clarence Thomas hearings thinking, okay, let's take down this serial sexual harasser, and by end of the event I thought, where's the accusation? What's the worst thing they're even claiming he did? When it was the pubic hair on the Coke can thing, I wanted to throw my shoe at the television set. I didn't understand how the Ted Kennedy could sit in judgment of this man given his history with women.

It was a perceived moral hypocrisy—not government policy, nor political ideology—stemming from partisanship that began the change in Breitbart. And then, there was the media coverage, which seemed to follow politicians' lead.

Everybody was so serious at ABC, CBS, NBC, like this is most serious accusation in the world. Even if it were true, it seemed like a nothing sandwich. When year later my suspicions confirmed that this was a show trial, because he happened to have the sin of being conservative and black, and in all likelihood would vote against Roe v. Wade, that it was a setup. Less than year later, Bill Clinton of sexual harassment fame was set up as the standard bearer of the same Democratic Party that said, 'I believe Anita,' every bumper sticker in my neighborhood. I thought, there's something wrong here; why can Clarence Thomas be pilloried while Bill Clinton can be protected on the same grounds of sexual harassment? It acted as an epiphany for me that started me down a path to challenge the mainstream media narrative.

Defending the ACORN Tapes

Flash forward about 20 years, and Breitbart commands a fleet of conservative-minded alternative media websites. BigGovernment.com, BigJournalism.com, Breitbart.tv—it's these websites that brought film-making activist James O'Keefe to the attention of the country, and the frustration of the Left.

In 2009, Breitbart helped O'Keefe release a series of hidden camera tapes documenting O'Keefe's meetings with the community organizing group ACORN. In the tapes, O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles pose as a pimp and prostitute receiving advice from ACORN employees on how to qualify for government housing funds, lie about their profession for tax purposes, and basically launder money.

Needless to say, the liberal blow-back was tremendous. Outlet after outlet, big and small alike, introduced arguments that the tapes had been improperly edited, that O'Keefe wasn't actually dressed like a pimp in the meetings (although it's made to seem that way), and more. Breitbart said there was no better example of the mainstream media machine at work.

Had ACORN not been the target, and it was the NRA or the Catholic Church, I guarantee Katie Couric would have owned the story, that Rolling Stone would have had Hannah and James on the front, and HBO would have given them a series to keep doing this. But I knew that since it represented the vaunted community organizing group that was associated with Obama and with 'helping the poor'—but not really looking at how great society is, hooking up people to government dependency—I knew this so went against the narrative that the mainstream media provides on groups like that, and that media wouldn't touch it.

Were they edited—and does it matter?

Breitbart said that the whole argument over context and editing distracts from what we do see in the tapes: an advocacy and action group with major political ties advising people how to profit from illegal activities. What's been edited out in no way excuses what was left in.

I guarantee you this: they had—Media Matters, ACORN, the mainstream media—everyone had the full context and no way to explain away the behavior. They had to try and deflect on us that James created a series of videos that included music, an intro sequence where he is dressed as extravagant looking pimp, but what you'll see in those selectively edited ones, they don't distort the reality of what happened. The straw man argument of him being dressed [a certain way] is a pointless one. What does it matter if in every ACORN office they were helping a person who was a Dockers-wearing pimp versus an extravagant one?

Was the Sherrod Story a Sham?

The other major Breitbart video controversy in recent memory involves Shirley Sherrod, who was forced to resign from her position as Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Her resignation came after Breitbart circulated an excerpted video of Sherrod at an NAACP event telling the story of choosing not to do her best to help a white farmer save his farm.  In the end, Sherrod does provide the man assistance, despite his rude behavior toward her—but the way Breitbart edited and presented the tape was reported by some to as an attempt to label Sherrod a racist.

That caused a huge flare-up. Government officials pressured Sherrod to resign and the NAACP even denounced her remarks. But then it was asked: had Breitbart selectively edited the tape to take Sherrod's comments out of context, and was she then being blamed for something she didn't exactly say?

I had a 1400-word piece that had these words: 'eventually her basic humanity informs her to help the white farmer.' The two-plus minute video clip that was put on my website, along with another video that nobody paid attention to, has in it her redemptive arc where she says, 'But then I realized it's not about black versus white, it's about rich versus poor.' That was in essence her argument that she realized from the story.

From whence the confusion, then? Breitbart may have emphasized the portion of her speech where she talks about not helping the white farmer, but according to him, his intention wasn't to draw attention to Sherrod—it was to the NAACP and their reaction to her words.

My argument was against the NAACP framing the Tea Party as racist by saying members of its audience were racist. I said, those that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and I have video of your group laughing at a lady talking about how she stuck it to a white farmer. I stand by that point today, because the NAACP apologized for the behavior of the audience the day that it happened.

Breitbart argues that he wasn't going after Sherrod, and wasn't misrepresenting her remarks by focusing on that particular moment. Rather, the media assumed that Sherrod was his target, when it was really the organization hosting her.

The week before, Ben Jealous of the NAACP had been on TV attacking the Tea Party as racist. I went on a radio show the Thursday before the Monday we put those videos out there, and I said, 'Ben Jealous, you're trying to divide this country on a racial schism. The country can ill afford for you to be fomenting this type of racial animus during a summer in which everybody is suffering.' Sherrod on day one said she blamed the NAACP for this because they got in a fight with the Tea Party.

To mock or inform?

Whatever your feelings about Breitbart's brand, the style of journalism he encourages is undeniably interesting, subversive and effective. Look no further than the de-funding of ACORN or the forced resignation of Sherrod for evidence. 

But is it really journalism? Can it be trusted? And is it valuable? Brian Lehrer asked Breitbart if the sort of guerrilla "gotcha" reportage practiced by James O'Keefe does more to inform the public, or make a mockery of existing institutions.

I think it does both, but I think the question seems to be asked when Hanna and James do it...I grew up with Abbie Hoffman, Hunter Thompson, the Merry Pranksters, and now I watch as Dateline dresses up in Muslim garb and go to Nascar rallies to try and get middle Americans to say terrible things. They failed at it. As long as the mainstream media tells me that Hunter Thompson deserves his own wing of the J-school, and that it's okay when Dateline does it and 60 Minutes does it, I'm not going to be here to criticize it when James O'Keefe does it or the liberal from the Buffalo Beast does it with Scott Walker.

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Andrew Breitbart

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Comments [90]

Atwater...Breitbart...It seems the bad die young, too.

Mar. 02 2012 12:54 AM
HanaRachel

I wish Mr. Breitbart and others would read Al Franken's discussion of the supposed liberal or left-wing prejudice of the media. Among other things, Mr. Franken points out that the press printed way more positive articles about G.W.Bush when he was running for President than they did about any of his rivals from the Democratic party.

Then again, Mr. Breitbart sounds like yet another person whose mind is made up, and who doesn't wish to be confused by the facts.

May. 19 2011 12:30 PM

I think Sue says it best. I appreciate BL's unflagging courtesy to guests. He's not trying to push any particular position on listeners -- he's trying to give a forum for different sides to voice their positions, and let listeners decide for themselves what they think. I think it's actually very respectful toward the public.

I agree with every negative comment about Breitbart. He is truly repellent. And the name of his book makes me ill. But he is a public figure who, like it or not, has the ears of a lot of Americans. And we should be aware of the lies he is spewing.

May. 13 2011 11:35 AM

i'm always glad to hear for the other side.
thanks brian

May. 12 2011 09:19 AM
a g from n j

i see a lot of comments voted down. i guess tea bag society has nothing better to spend their time on.

May. 12 2011 07:04 AM

Compare this kid-gloves interview with the treatment dealt him in On the Media, where the interviewer suavely let not-so-Breitbart slice and dice himself.

This is soooooooo typical of how liberals have allowed themselves to be intimidated. Sad, really.

May. 11 2011 11:22 PM
Anonymous

Before I moved out of NY, I had been a longtime WNYC member.
I frankly believe that current members would be well within reason to withhold funding to WNYC this year based on Brian's decision to give airtime to a proven sociopathic liar such as Mr. Breitbart.
Brian, this was incredibly irresponsible of you. Breitbart himself is a disgrace, and the word shonde comes to mind when reviewing your decision to interview Breitbart.

May. 11 2011 09:13 PM
a g from n j

complete and total moral reprobate:andrew brietbart.

May. 11 2011 08:15 PM
David H from Bangor, PA

As others have suggested, had I wanted a virtually unchallenged whitewash of Andrew Breitbart's efforts I would have read the book. If there isn't time to challenge obvious issues like the ethics of editing video to make someone appear to say something that they didn't say, then it might be prudent to ask what point there is in hosting a guest like Breitbart. But perhaps what stood out most from his shameless self-promotion is the obviousness of his motivation. He has played both sides of the fence (liberal and conservative) by his own admission and I'll bet he's made plenty of money doing it.

May. 11 2011 08:10 PM
Chris

Dear Brian,

The next time you hand the mike and the bully pulpit to the likes of this modern day Goebbels please be so kind as to offer something sorely lacking to your listeners: CONTEXT and RESEARCH. You booted the ball old chum. What about the ACORNers that called the cops? etc. Your usually softball interviews are going the way of wiffle ball. Please improve on this in the future. I would hate to see your program sink to the levels of "the takeaway."

Breitbart admitted this much: "he is interested in political theatre" - not the truth mind you - but the GAME. Try reading his website too for some eye-openers on this paranoid, narcissitic, self-indulgent nitwit. My last post got a personal reply, rallying the "troops" to avoid the uncomfortable "truths" that the evil "lefties" indulge in. Gimme a break. The man is a shonda.

May. 11 2011 05:05 PM
eva

Dear Larry,
Fair enough, however, "It's a free country" does not magically translate to "irresponsible media coverage accompanied by flaccid softball questions."

May. 11 2011 02:25 PM
Larry from Flatbush

I can't stand Mr. Breitbart and his ilk, but the title of this segment after all is "It's A Free Country."

May. 11 2011 02:03 PM
Zuzi from NYC

BRAVO Brian !!
My conservative friends/associates do not understand why I love wnyc and why I am a member. I am now pointing to this show as evidence that Brian truly is fair and gives voice to the other side. And Breitbart makes a lot of sense. Of course, the media is biased to the left. I loved Breitbart's example of the hypocrite and murderer Ted Kennedy bashing Thomas. And exposing ACORN was glorious. I definitely will get the book.

May. 11 2011 01:43 PM
eva

As a liberal Democrat who's done a lot of oureach to conservatives and tea partiers, I take exception to Brian's decision to give Breitbart a platform.
There's everything right with listening to the other side(s) of any given argument/issue. But Breitbart has proven himself to be a malicious prevaricator - excuse me, let's just call him for what he is, he's a flat-out liar.
I have no problem listening to conservatives. But no one with Breitbart's track record should be given more of a platform.
Brian, please get a grip. Please.

May. 11 2011 01:29 PM
Bob from Glen Rock, New Jersey

I don't understand the delusion that the media has a liberal bias. When I am in Florida, and in many other parts of the country, it is true that I am exposed, on the air and in print, to two viewpoints - Right Wing and Extreme Right Wing. Such as Mr. Breitbart are outraged by the smaller voices such as NPR and The New York Times because their audiences are highly educated and the Times is read by people in power, regardless of their leanings.

May. 11 2011 01:17 PM
Edward from NJ

The key difference between what Breitbart and his acolytes do and their left wing equivalents is the reaction of their targets and their targets' supporters. Put out an internet video with a left-wing target and there's instant panic: people are fired, funding is withdrawn. Try the same with a right-wing target. They ignore it and wait until it goes away with the next news cycle.

May. 11 2011 12:09 PM

concur with most everybody on here: poor decision Brian. caught only the end of this segment and as I hear this malicious buffoon invoke one of my all-time heroes HST my blood boiled. Thompson would have seen right through this bozo's veneer, because they really don't come any lower than Breitbart. And you should know this. He deserves to be stuffed into the margins, not given a forum. Come on man. How about introducing people to someone with real political wit and candor, like Jamie Kilstein?

May. 11 2011 12:08 PM

How can you tell when Brietbart is lying? - His lips are moving.

May. 11 2011 12:04 PM
Sue

Though I disagree with the politics of Mr. Breitbart...thank you, Brian for having him as a guest. This is exactly why I get most of my news from you folks at wnyc...no screaming, no yelling, no name-calling. After all, how will I know what is worth fighting for if I don't know what could be lost!

May. 11 2011 12:02 PM
Robert Allen from New Yirk

Brian,
This guy is really good at selective distortion.

May. 11 2011 11:58 AM
MIke from Tribeca

Don't you just love how conservatives equate the act of criticizing someone, in this case a proven prevaricator like Breitbart, to being a "fascist"?

May. 11 2011 11:55 AM

C'mon, people, you have to be more tolerant. The appeal of the BLS is that it isn't demagoguery.

May. 11 2011 11:54 AM
jawbone

I'm fighting nausea listening to Breitbart and the gloves on interview.

Strong insula response to this guy and his lies and lies about his lies::

"Consider an animal (including a human) that has started eating some rotten, fetid, disgusting food. As a result, neurons in an area of the brain called the insula will activate. Gustatory disgust. Smell the same awful food, and the insula activates as well. Think about what might count as a disgusting food (say, taking a bite out of a struggling cockroach). Same thing.

Now read in the newspaper about a saintly old widow who had her home foreclosed by a sleazy mortgage company, her medical insurance canceled on flimsy grounds, and got a lousy, exploitative offer at the pawn shop where she tried to hock her kidney dialysis machine. You sit there thinking, those bastards, those people are scum, they’re worse than maggots, they make me want to puke … and your insula activates. Think about something shameful and rotten that you once did … same thing. Not only does the insula “do” sensory disgust; it does moral disgust as well. Because the two are so viscerally similar. When we evolved the capacity to be disgusted by moral failures, we didn’t evolve a new brain region to handle it. Instead, the insula expanded its portfolio."

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/this-is-your-brain-on-metaphors/

May. 11 2011 11:54 AM
guy catelli from America

another example of Brian's being the fairest man in media.

May. 11 2011 11:54 AM

Will Hachette Book Group give WNYC a contribution for all this publicity? Brian does give authors time to make their points and treats all with grace. Breitbart just received more broadcast time than he will receive on Fox broadcast radio and TV. Will Hachette and Breitbart give WNYC money for the generous treatment he just received?

May. 11 2011 11:53 AM
Cynthia Vos from Brooklyn

Brian- I am a longtime fan of yours, but I strongly object to your giving a soapbox to a creep like Andrew Breitbart and hardly challenging him.
You're too nice. It creeps me out.

May. 11 2011 11:53 AM
Eden from NY

The abject stupidity of the left is fully on display today. Not a single SUBSTANTIATED allegation against Breitbart, just the usual hyperpartisan pap against anyone who disagrees with them. It's always the refuge of an ignoramus; can't produce the facts? Go for the ad hominem. They don't agree with us (think Tea Party) - well, let's call 'em racist or some other claptrap label. That'll fix 'em!
The left is so pathetic. And thanks, Brian, for doing the right thing.

May. 11 2011 11:53 AM

@MartinC...

Away with your conservagasm! If Brian's audience wants more objectivism than we will ever get from a self-serving, serial fraudster like Mr. Breitbart, the solution isn't to turn off our radios.

Breitbart, O'Keefe and Fox News care more about reinforcing their point of view than they do about objective truth. All propagandists (right and left) receive far too much attention from the so-called mainstream media. That's because reporting from the center is usually boring and boring doesn't attract audience.

I'd love to hear a sound debate on the issues but any time one is arranged, it quickly degrades into a march of sound bites and talking points. Great radio, poor education.

May. 11 2011 11:53 AM

@J from New York

No one is silencing anyone! We have a right to comment, and Rush's audience wouldn't comment? Oh please!

May. 11 2011 11:50 AM
Theresa from Brooklyn

Brian how do you let him indulge in this free-form filibustering? It's like being beaten with a sledgehammer of stupidity.

May. 11 2011 11:49 AM
Mark from Westchester

Unlistenable. As for gay conservatives, it's always mystified me why they're willing to aid and abet people who wish them dead.

May. 11 2011 11:48 AM
Ellen from chelsea

You are being far too nice to this dissembling creep

May. 11 2011 11:48 AM
RLewis from the bowery

Did he just say, "Some of my best friends are...."??? sad.

May. 11 2011 11:48 AM
Estelle

Breitbart and his ilk spend so much time and energy just playing "gotcha." It just seems so distracting. How about the issues???

May. 11 2011 11:46 AM
D Franklin from NYC

Amazing how many commenters are unwilling to listen to opinions that differ from their own. Good job Brian, glad you guys at WNYC are being less biased not more.

May. 11 2011 11:46 AM
Tony from Canarsie

The mainstream media supported ACORN? Before Mr. Breitbart opened his deck of lies, the MSM rarely if ever mentioned ACORN. That's why it was so easy for the cowardly Congress to shut off their federal funding.

May. 11 2011 11:46 AM

Why are you being so gentle about Sherrod? The Tea Party has plenty of racists among them. Don't let him say they don't. THAT"S FALSE.

May. 11 2011 11:45 AM

Hey Brian, where's the hard hitting interview? T.Boone Pickens, Nan Haywood and now this ***hole. What's up?

May. 11 2011 11:45 AM
jk

The only thing missing from this segment is some violin music. Andrew Breitbart can cry me a river.

May. 11 2011 11:45 AM
J from New York

Look at how this board has lit up in response to Breitbart.

Liberals are far more willing to silence their opposition than conservatives. That's shameful and hypocritical.

May. 11 2011 11:44 AM
The Truth from Becky

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth....for shame Brian, for shame!

May. 11 2011 11:44 AM
The Truth from Becky

The media framed it?? are you kidding??

May. 11 2011 11:43 AM

I am so mad that I just cancelled my sustaining membership to this station.

May. 11 2011 11:42 AM
Ellen from Williamsburg

Please ask him about the 'selective editing' he did on Shirley Sherrod's speech, and what, if anything, he would do differently. Does he feel he owes her a public apology? Does he feel shame over the smear job?

May. 11 2011 11:42 AM
Bob from Huntington

Brian/Andrew:

As the stream in the main these FOX News days is decidedly more conservative, could we please declare a moritorium on the use of "mainstream media" as a pejorative for liberal media?

Thank you.

May. 11 2011 11:42 AM
Matt

"Provedly untrue." I'm actually kind of glad hearing this.

He's more worried about a prostitute hiding $50 from the government and hasn't once mentioned Wall St., corporations, tax loopholes, etc.

May. 11 2011 11:41 AM
Mira from Brooklyn

This guy is unbearable.

May. 11 2011 11:41 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

another fine shark jumping by the BLS.

"conservative media critic" is one thing, but proven lying, scheming, and career-destroying entrapment puts breitbart no where near the "critic" or "pundit" status you use to somehow justify puting trash like this on the air.

i can't even listen to the broadcast, because like his kid-glove treatment in a pre-recorded interview with t. boone pickens, lehrer will refrain from challenging this criminal's legitimacy. it would be one thing if one could anticipate a substantive conversation whose length could tell some sort of story on behalf of the guest, but with the dumbed down, people-magazine length "brief chat" format of BLS' show, i wonder why you even bother puting provocateur trash like this on the air.

this isn't a matter of "any publicity is good publicity". it makes me seriously question WNYC's judgment, and allows me to ignore the pleas for more money that much longer.

May. 11 2011 11:40 AM
Tony from Canarsie

You might want to shut off the coffee supply to Mr. Breitbart before he harms himself.

May. 11 2011 11:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

the attire is not what was in question about that whole incident...dilusional.

May. 11 2011 11:40 AM

Ask about Shirley Sherrod.

May. 11 2011 11:39 AM
BigGuy from Forest Hills

Breibart is a propagandist and liar. WNYC should not provide him a forum to hawk his book. Brian, you know how to deal with him and you are holding back, as just now when he argued that Sara Silverman and Sam Kiniston are similar -- a false equivalency of the Right.

Before I started listening to WNYC on line, I was solicited for a contribution. I would hope that Breibart or his publisher are giving you a substantial contribution -- over $10,000.

Why are right now allowing him to go on about the ACORN videos without pointing out they were edited to present LIES, not TRUTH? You are pointing out the editing now -- thank you.

He is a propagandist. He is lying now when he's saying the ACORN videos were not selectively edited.

May. 11 2011 11:38 AM
Karen from queens

YUCK. He sounds like a conspiracy theorist talking about acorn. Read Altermann's What Liberal Media? and come back on.

May. 11 2011 11:38 AM
Drew from Brooklyn

Doesn't he get that those ACORN videos were dishonestly edited and long-since discredited? That ACORN helped low income people?
I mean, are they more corrupt than Raj Rajnaratan (excuse my spelling) and AIG? Who does more damage to society?
He's got no credibility. He loves dishonesty.

May. 11 2011 11:38 AM
Steven

He says his motives are "pure and good"? Is that how he defines his doctoring videos to distort and rewrite history? What a hypocrite... what a liar. What a sad example of the worst of American politics.

May. 11 2011 11:38 AM
jk

Brian,

Have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency?

May. 11 2011 11:37 AM
Tom from New Jersey

Breibart has an established history of deception and promoting other's deceptions. It's disappointing to see that WNYC has given him a forum.

May. 11 2011 11:37 AM
RLewis from the bowery

Brian, are you going to ask him about the editing of the video?????

May. 11 2011 11:37 AM

Please, Brian, a little more hardball.

Breitbart has been shown to 'edit' for impression rather than for truth. At least ask why he thinks he is justified putting his thumb on the scale rather than showing reality and having people make up their own minds.

This guy is a disgusting liar.

May. 11 2011 11:36 AM
J from New York

Breitbart is speaking the truth re the intolerance of liberals and all of the vitriol on this board proves it.

I know more fascist liberals than I do fascist conservatives.

May. 11 2011 11:36 AM
Matt

He sounds like a very principled guy.

I think I heard two sandwich metaphors. Might've been "humble sandwich" twice, but not sure.

May. 11 2011 11:35 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Regarding Arianna Huffington, Brian, she's become a conservative again.

By the way, your guest sounds a mite celebrity-obsessed.

May. 11 2011 11:35 AM
Evan from New York, NY

I loathe Breitbart and his tactics, but he's not wrong about the Thomas-Clinton dichotomy. The reason for the dichotomy, though, isn't liberal vs conservative. It's the elitism of the feminist movement. Anita Hill, while Black, was one of them - a Yale educated attorney. Bill Clinton's victims were White Southern trash (e.g., Paula Jones). Virginia McCorvey, the "Roe" of Roe v. Wade, always said she was marginalized at any pro-choice meetings because she was poor, White and uneducated.

I am pro-choice, by the way.

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM

HA HA HA HA! You sure couldn't hold your own on Bill Mahr!

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM
Ryan B from Jersey City

This guy has repeatedly shown himself to be a liar. He has deliberately doctored video to misrepresent reality and then released it to an industry of "journalists" that could not be bothered to verify it (despite the dubious source) before reporting it as fact.

It is disgraceful that Brian Lehrer is giving him a venue to speak at all. You guys (Mr. Lehrer and WNYC) should have your heads examined for legitimizing this scoundrel by having him on the air. I expect more from your station.

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM

Bill Clinton didn't sexually harrass Monica - she came on to him and was a willing participant. Anita Hill was repulsed by Thomas and completely not interested and he couldn't accept that. That's what makes it different.

This interview is not a discussion - Brian is just asking a list of questions (agreed upon by both parties?). And stop mentioning Carlin - he'd slap you down if he were here.

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM
The Truth from Becky

yeah clearly you are against political correctness. so hopefully you won't mind if i call you the jew.

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

It amazes me who Brian will have on. It doesn't matter how dishonest, discredited or disgusting a person is, apparently there is no limit in trying to create a "fair and balanced" show.

As someone else pointed out, it's not a matter of "balance" when you have on people who lie and spout out garbage based on nothing but spin and manipulation. This isn't balance, it's just plain irresponsible to have a scumbag like this on.

To paraphrase a line in a Clash song "If Adolf Hitler, were here today, they'd send a limousine anyway"

Nice softball questions by the way.

Turning off your show today

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM

Evidence of liberal media bias:
Last week the Obama administration successfully staged a covert operation against Osama bin Laden. For the next week -- including the Sunday talk shows -- the mainstream media discourse was dominated by guests from the Bush administration -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Feith, Yoo, etc. The current administration was dominated by one spokesperson -- national security advisor Danilon. Exactly how is the msm biased in favor of liberals?

May. 11 2011 11:34 AM
Tony from bayside

Brian ask how he feels the tea party is mostly floated by the Koch brothers...Astro turf movement...

May. 11 2011 11:32 AM
jason Brougham from Inwood

American Conservatives are likely to believe that Obama was not born in the USA, and that global warming was all a hoax. If the media fact - check these issues and explain that they are factually false, does Breitbart consider this to be media bias against Conservative beliefs?

May. 11 2011 11:32 AM
The Tuth from Becky

A Black??? wtf?

May. 11 2011 11:31 AM
yourgo from astoria

Republicans are against the environment, for war and there fore against children... This is a fact.!

May. 11 2011 11:30 AM
jawbone

Lies are now "controversial"? Well, uh, I suppose that could be how to characterize Breitbart's doctored to slander videos....

May. 11 2011 11:29 AM
jawbone

Canada has a law against broadcasting lies -- maybe we need something like that in the United States.

Freedom of speech, yes, but we don't have that for people on the actual left. Freedom to broadcast lies? How's that working out for our nation?

And I don't include the Internet in "broadcast," but I would include cable news/shout shows.

(Anyone know why it's so difficult to post a comment at times? I've clicked post, nothing happens. This has happened before. Whassup with that?)

May. 11 2011 11:27 AM
Peg

liberal media bias??? Recent surveys found that over 70% of Americans listen to some form of conservative media - mostly Fox news. Conservatives own most of the media outlets. Why is brietbart so afraid of the little itty bitty progressive media?

May. 11 2011 11:26 AM
JR from Bronx

The function of professional journalism is to distinguish between evidence-based, reliably sourced news and the kind of lies, and lying liars that Andrew Breitbart represents. People are entitled to their opinions, but they shouldn't be legitimized as 'conservative media critics' when they practice the kind of race-baiting, reality-twisting polemics of a Brietbart. I can see doing a story about Brietbart, and his toxic form of rabble-rousing, but not having him on to self-represent as an alternative journalistic voice.
Your job Brian Lehrer is to not only practice good journalism, but clearly identify its enemies, regardless of political persuasion. False equivalence and 'fair and balanced' airing of totally unsubstantiated claims is not good journalism.

May. 11 2011 11:26 AM
jk

How many acts of intellectual dishonesty does Andrew Breitbart have to commit before Brian Lehrer and his staff realize that he has no regard for facts, truth or honest inquiry? Breitbart is a brazen huckster and con artist who is pollutes the well of civil discourse by unleashing a cascade of lies, half-truths, and distortions. Shame on Brian Lehrer and WNYC for giving Breitbart a good housekeeping seal. This segment marks a new low for the Brian Lehrer show. Brian and his staff have their work cut out for them to find a segment that will sink their program any lower.

May. 11 2011 11:22 AM
Edward from NJ

A lot of people will post questions here -- or have already -- thinking that if Brian were to just ask those questions, they would "nail" Andrew Breitbart. The problem is Andrew Breitbart's view of the media is self-validating and, in his mind, cannot be challenged. Asking him hard questions will just result in him crying liberal media bias. It's infuriating to anyone who is interested in accuracy or the truth, and that's part of the fun for Breitbart. He doesn't believe half of his own b.s., but he would never admit it.

May. 11 2011 11:21 AM
jawbone

Why is this liar getting so much air time on the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media)? Even WNYC?

I mean, people on the actual left who tell the freakin' truth can't get air time, unless it's on Democracy Now! and then not all that far left.

What is it? The need to build up credits with the Far Right to try to save themselves from being assaulted with...the lies Breitbart and his ilk put out?

Or, does this please the Corporate Overlords? And, if not pleased, there's no money?

Is this part of the decline of empire?

May. 11 2011 11:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

BRAVO BREITBART !!!!
You should be given an honorary degree at CUNY...that's the only way the LEFT will ever agree to your right to free speech.

BRAVO BRIAN !!!!...for going against the wishes of your "tolerant" far left audience who would prefer not to be exposed to the arguments of the other side.

To the "progressive" annoyed lefties in the audience....bwwwaaaaaa haaaa haaaa.......turn your radios off.

May. 11 2011 11:20 AM
Gerri from NJ

Breitbart must be asked why he cannot make his case against the left without lying.

I'm not optimistic though, because Brian usually gives a platform to right wing guests without challenging them or even correcting misstatements.

May. 11 2011 10:58 AM
Myriam Miedzian from High Falls, NY

I am a longtime fan of the Brian Lehrer show and I am deeply disturbed that the show would allow a scoundrel like Breitbart on the show. Breitbart phonies up videos to destroy people like Shirley Sherrod, slanders people like former White House advisor Van Jones and environmental activist whom he called a "cockroach" and "human toxin."He played a role in trying to destroy Common Cause, an organization that has been working at improving government for the last forty years, with absurd accusations of racism. It is highly likely that he is on the payroll of the Koch brothers. And this is just a small part of the list of his ignominious behavior. Please Brian, never again!!

May. 11 2011 10:52 AM
David from Bangor, PA

I wonder what Mr. Breitbart thinks of the term spun from his name that has earned an entry in the Urban Dictionary. Breitbarting means: "To take what someone has said out of context for the purpose of slandering them." As for his pretext of making sure the "liberally biased" major news outlets in this country cover all aspects of a story fairly, wouldn't a stronger counterbalance to a liberal media bias be a truth they have neglected to tell rather than something he made up?

May. 11 2011 10:21 AM
Ryan B from Jersey City

This guy has repeatedly shown himself to be a liar. He has deliberately doctored video to misrepresent reality and then released it to an industry of "journalists" that could not be bothered to verify it (despite the dubious source) before reporting it as fact.

It is disgraceful that Brian Lehrer is giving him a venue to speak at all. You guys (Mr. Lehrer and WNYC) should have your heads examined for legitimizing this scoundrel by having him on the air. I expect more from your station.

May. 11 2011 10:14 AM
Lloyd from Manhattan

What Breitbart did to Shirley Sherrod will forever mark his disgrace. Breitbart is a fraud. He has no shame,

May. 05 2011 10:18 AM

“Andrew Breitbart has one main goal: to make sure the "liberally biased" major news outlets in this country cover all aspects of a story fairly.”
Is it really fair to report both sides equally if one side is based on scientific fact and the other side has only myth and industry spin? Ie should the media report both sides of climate change equally when clearly the oil industry has motives to keep oil pumping and when most scientist agree humans are changing the climate.
As for the media bias, educate people tend to vote democratic as they understand the need for progress. I think if the media was doing their job and reporting fairly, conservatives would have less power not more. Corporate media protects corporate profit

May. 05 2011 09:57 AM
Ken

I normally defend Brian when people go after him for having some outrageous conservative guests, but this is completely inexcusable. Breitbart is a disgraceful individual who doesn't even have the slightest shred of credibility left.

May. 05 2011 09:49 AM
a g from n j

what does breitbart have to say about anything........and btw,if wnyc has such a liberal bias,as so many of you think,how come you don't hear danny schecter,noam chomsky,or chris hedges on wnyc? let's ask mr. breitbart to answer that . and, how many middle of the road democrats are treated with dignity on fox news. i'm sure breitbart is going to be allowed to speak freely by brian. what utter right hypocrisy for gods sake !!

May. 05 2011 09:43 AM
George from Bay Ridge

Can Mr. Breitbart provide instances of conservative media bias?

May. 05 2011 05:57 AM

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