In a recent guest column for The Huffington Post, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart uses the latest NPR snafu to complain (again) about the left-wing bias of the mainstream media and its “unfair” treatment of the Tea Party. His goal is to “give a little perspective to Huffington Post readers who share my passion for free speech, honest debate, and fairness in the media.” All he ends up accomplishing is that he is (again) guilty of the very things of which he accuses his opponents.
He begins with his perennial whine about the alleged racial slurs that Tea Partiers yelled at African-American Congressmen during a Washington D.C. protest one year ago. But the funny thing is, for all the fiery back-and-forth about it, we don’t even require those allegations to know there are unstable elements within the Tea Party. We saw them on full display during the health care reform town-hall meetings of the summer of 2009. We saw the loaded handguns strapped to the knees, the signs that equated Obama with Hitler and included my personal favorite, the one that said, “Death to Michelle Obama and her 2 stupid kids.” We saw it during the Q&A forums when one woman stepped up to the podium to ask Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), “Why are you supporting a Nazi policy?” (Translation: Because I worship Glenn Beck and repeat every word he says).”
But no, according to Breitbart, it’s the ACORN supporters who are a “mindless herd.”
Obviously, we know that a few extremists and Fox News drones don’t represent the entire Tea Party, but it would be nice if Andrew “Honest Debate” Breitbart would apply the same standard to the Wisconsin protesters, whom he referred to in his column as a “violent, extreme mob” and as “window-breaking drum circle” thugs. This apparently refers to an incident near the end of the protests, when protesters broke a few doors and windows as they were removed from the Capitol. Never mind that this vandalism came at the end of three weeks of protests, in which only 18 arrests were made out of thousands of protesters. Never mind the numerous reports of protesters and counter-protesters taking breaks to sit down together and calmly share opinions. (Because whatever their differences, private and public-sector employees are essentially in the same boat. They’re all middle-class people waking up to the idea that the only “redistribution of wealth” going on in this country is more money being taken from them and handed to the corporate Republican elites).
But in the world of Andrew “Honesty and Fairness” Breitbart, there’s no inconsistency in complaining about the unfair stereotyping of one group, and then going right ahead to do the same to another, without a hint if irony or self-awareness. It’s hard to think that a presumably intelligent person could engage in such obvious and laughable hypocrisy, but remember, this is the same guy, of all the players who contributed to the Shirley Sherrod debacle, who refused to apologize or acknowledge any wrongdoing at all. Never apologizing no matter how obviously one is at fault has been a trademark of the conservative movement for years now.
One has to wonder if, deep down, Breitbart cares, or is even aware that, like the people he criticizes, his goal, too, is to “not report the truth but decide what it will be.”