Archive - 2010

January 14th

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Memo to Andrew Breitbart: REPETITION IS NOT THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY.

So, about a year ago, our old pal Andy Breitbart started "Big Hollywood", and for a while, we had fun with a bunch of Hollywood has-beens and never-weres bitching about how their failed careers were the result of leftists blackballing them for their conservative political views. But within a matter of months, the site had devolved into the same bunch of wingnut writers saying the same things wingnut writers have been saying all over the Internet since November. Obama bad, bombs good. Gays bad, Jesus good. Animals bad, coal good. ACORN the worst thing ever, Palin the best thing ever.

If it weren't for the off-her-meds ravings of Victoria Jackson, the site would have bored me to death. And then Breitbart started Big Government, which hit all the same rhetorical points as Big Hollywood, only without the, you know. Star power. Instead of the standard cadre of Liberty U. grads, bolstered by the occasional Vickie J. or Mad Dog Murdoch, this was just the tards.

If you heard about Big Government at all, it was for the Great Pimping of '09 - the alleged videotapes of a fake "pimp" and "ho" whose not-actually-a-sting-of-ACORN was big news for a couple of weeks. Nothing else posted to the site was even comedy-interesting.

But now, since Breitbart can't go for more than a few months without some new Big in his life, we have Big Journalism. Which, in its week of existence, has set a new land speed record for devolving into a bunch of talking-point bullshit posted by no-name ass-hats. And it's a shame, because it started so promisingly, with a Breitbart inaugural post that, in a failed attempt at irony, was titled "You Are A Bad, Bad, Bad Journalist".

You see, Breitbart either continues to obsess over ACORN, or continues to think obsessing over ACORN is marketable. So, a few weeks back, when the White House released a big list of White House visitors, Andy went hog wild on Big Government when he found the name "Bertha E Lewis" on the list. The CEO of ACORN? Bertha Lewis. SCANDAL!

One small detail. The CEO of ACORN? Bertha... M. Lewis. Whoops. Breitbart failed to corroborate the middle initial before leaping into the abyss. The title of his Big Journalism article is a quote from Bertha M. Lewis, in a post detailing their conversation, and his defense of his mistake, which he has since only corrected to say he can't prove it was her. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"But I don’t really believe it wasn’t her. And that’s why I called. I’m skeptical and biased – and I think it’s what makes me good at what I do. No journalism symposium can convince me otherwise."

See, that's the issue right there. Andrew Breitbart doesn't know the meaning of the word "skepticism". Skepticism is all about ignoring opinions, beliefs, and assumptions, and focusing instead on the facts and the evidence. What Breitbart is doing is ignoring the facts and evidence because they don't support his belief that Obama and ACORN are doing the dance of evil behind closed doors. That's paranoia, not skepticism.

Don't feel too bad, Andy. Lots of people confuse paranoia with healthy skepticism. If they didn't, we'd never have conspiracy theories. People who fervently believe that burning jet fuel can't soften steel aren't skeptical about government claims, they're paranoid about them. People who believe the Hawaii "certificate of live birth" isn't the same as a Hawaii birth certificate aren't skeptical of the state bureaucracy, they're paranoid about a cover-up of a Kenyan president.

And when you cling to the unsupported, implausible hope that the "E" in Bertha E. Lewis actually stands for Evans, the last name of Lewis' former, deceased husband? That's not skepticism over a woman's claim, backed by the evidence, that she did not in fact visit the White House. That's paranoia over the imagined shadowy dealings of a community group you don't like. And that's why you're a bad, bad, bad journalist, with a burgeoning empire of bad, bad, bad blogs.

Oh, and the second post on Big Journalism? A lengthy diatribe by Breitbart in the persona of Bo, the White House dog. I shit you not. I anxiously await the launch of Big Anthropomorphism.com, in which Breitbart will feature only the best work of writers pretending that animals, plants, and furniture in the White House are actually conservative entities rebelling against their socialist master. Expect it to debut within two weeks of Andy Breitbart learning the spelling, pronunciation, and meaning of "anthropomorphism".