The rehabilitation of Andrew Breitbart is proceeding at the speed of ‘net.
On a day where President Obama’s late mother is said to be copulating with a dog in an awful joke spread by a Montana federal judge, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona is holding press conferences on national TV to announce the President’s birth certificate is a “forgery” we have Andrew Breitbart’s death, as covered earlier by ABL.
Here’s my problem. Andrew Breitbart did truly awful things. But his rehabilitation into a great guy begins with crap like this from David Frum:
Because President Obama was black, and because Breitbart believed in using every and any weapon at hand, Breitbart’s politics did inevitably become racially coded. Breitbart’s memory will always be linked to his defamation of Shirley Sherrod and his attempt to make a national scandal out of back payments to black farmers: the story he always called “Pigford” with self-conscious resonance.
Yet it is wrong to see Breitbart as racially motivated. Had Breitbart decided he hated a politician whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, Breitbart would have been just as delighted to attack that politicians with a different set of codes. The attack was everything, the details nothing.
No. See, no. This is equivocating, self-serving, puerile bullshit of the highest magnitude right here, and it’s the major reason why the ruined wasteland of American journalism that Andrew Breitbart helped to create was allowed to happen because the people who clearly knew better gave him a pass anyway.
Frum is basically saying that Breitbart did racist things, used racist phrases, and played on racial fears and stereotypes, but he wasn’t a racist because he was either playing a character or that he hated everyone equally.
To which I again cry “bullshit”. That is such astonishing white privilege as to be shocking, and it’s all the more terrible because Frum clearly admits in his obituary piece that Andrew Breitbart did really unforgivable things, and still calls him a “loyal friend”. He wasn’t a bad person, he just was playing the game that he helped to create, and it’s really heart-rending that the discourse is in tatters right now, but hey, it’s okay, he wasn’t a racist, he hated women and Muslims and liberals and academics and environmentalists too, so it’s all good.
Sorry Frum. You don’t get to dispense this particular plenary indulgence. You don’t get to posthumously absolve him of his sins. You don’t get to play the “loveable bastard” card. He was a darkness on the American political media scene, and his death left behind a country where you think it’s okay to treat people like animals, objects, or worse just because you feel you can just explain away the behavior as acceptable due to “you can’t prove intent”.
And so you give him a pass, and CNN gives him a pass, and Dave Weigel gives him a pass, and Arianna Huffington gives him a pass, and the GOP clown car crew gives him a pass, and before the election we’re going to have at least one Republican running for office demand that the President be impeached for the “cover-up over Breitbart’s death” and the emails will go flying around and everyone will have a good laugh at the ni-CLANG President and Frum will continue to lament why his party has become full of racist assholes and he’ll shrug and say “The attack was everything, the details nothing” and racism and bigotry and hatred will become that much more acceptable in society because Oh Well What Can You Do, He Said As He Shook His Head.
Frum of course will never figure out that the only thing worse than a bigoted, racist jackass of a liar is the person who excuses that kind of behavior and enables it to happen. And in that very real way, David Frum is a much worse problem with our ass-over-teakettle media than Andrew Breitbart ever, ever will have been.
To be fair to David Frum, he isn’t the only one. Breitbart and his ilk were getting passes from a number of sources. Even more passes are being issued in the wake of Breitbart’s death. And so it goes as we spiral into hell with afterburners alight, we are reminded here that in the end, as it always is, the racist bigoted asshole is the true victim for having to be forced to live in an America with a black President he never wanted thrust upon him.
For tomorrow, the fresh hell of the news cycle begins anew, and Breitbart’s pervasive taint will be all over it and the many, many news cycles to come after. The dead racist guy gets the last laugh in this America. His replacement will invariably be worse.
That’s how the game is played. Hate the game, not the players? I choose to call out the people who make the game possible. That means you, David Frum. You’re a big, big reason why we’re in this hellhole with your fellow travelers finding all kids of ways to justify Breitbart and those like him. You have to in perpetuity, lest you see the abyss staring back at you with your own face.