The number 2 article on diggtm yesterday in the politics category was written by Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone. It was titled Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche. I had three questions before I read the article: 1) Who would use the word “douche” in the title of an article about a fellow journalist who just died?; 2) what editor would pass on the use of that word in a title?; and 3) what media outlet would allow that word in the title of an article? I’ll answer those questions, but before I do, I want to share some of Taibbi’s insights with you and provide a little commentary:
“For instance, it would be dishonest not to tip a hat to him [Breitbart ] for that famous scene when he hijacked Anthony Weiner’s own self-immolating ‘apology’ press conference, and held up the entire event by standing at the lectern and congratulating himself at length, before Weiner could let the humiliating healing begin.”
Anthony Weiner is a disgraced former New York Congressman who once aspired to become mayor of New York. By all accounts, he had a good shot at it, too, but that was before Breitbart went public with his story about Weiner’s escapades over the internet with an underage girl in which he shared a lewd photo of himself. In the process, he misused government resources and committed ethics violations that probably motivated his retirement from the House in anticipation of ethics hearings.
When Breitbart released information about the incident, Weiner and the mainstream media launched a campaign against him that included accusing him of hacking Weiner’s Twitter account and inserting the photo in question. As it turns out, everything that Breitbart said was true; he didn’t hack into Weiner’s Twitter account; and Weiner ended up creating a huge problem for himself that eventually led to his downfall. Weiner was guilty of malfeasance, and Breitbart simply exposed the truth. That’s called good journalism.
“Watching Weiner apologize to Breitbart later in that same event was certainly chilling for a number of reasons (if I were Weiner, I wouldn’t have apologized to that fucker even under torture) but it was hard not [to] appreciate the deliciousness of the scene from Breitbart’s point of view. Watching Weiner pause, swallow hard, and make the extraordinary decision to plant his lips squarely on the loathsome Breitbart’s ass on national television, that was like the ultimate Mona Lisa masterpiece of right-wing media provocations. That the outrageous Breitbart was standing right there, looking gorgeously gassy in his unbuttoned shirt, bloated Joey Buttafuoco cheeks and splendiforous silver half-mullet, made the humiliation of the trim and neatly-groomed Weiner even more abject.”
Nancy Pelosi was spot on when she told Weiner that what he did was “dumb.” He committed a grievous error and compounded it by trying to cover it up. He humiliated himself, his family, his constituents, the House of Representatives, and possibly even the Democratic Party. Painting a word picture of Weiner as a victim and Breitbart as a buffoon is also dumb. You could even say that it is outrageous. It’s the exact opposite of good journalism because Weiner himself admitted that Breitbart was right and that he was wrong. I suppose Taibbi was too grieved to pick up on that nuance.
“Furthermore, the ACORN videos made by Breitbart and his two young acolytes, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe – it’s hard not to see the inspired humor behind their elaborate stunt. And anyone who’s heard their proposals before ACORN staffers to bring underage girls over the border as part of a white-(or nonwhite-) slaving startup firm, and doesn’t think the ACORN responses (or non-responses, as it were) were shocking, they’re deluding themselves. In the Baltimore office, they ran the whole underage hooker-den spiel past an ACORN staffer, and got the following response: ‘You are gonna use three of them – they are gonna be under 16, so you is eligible to get child tax credit and additional child tax credit.’
That is seriously messed up material. Did they edit the videos heavily? Hell yes. Did they make ACORN’s behavior out to be a lot worse than it was? Absolutely. But there’s no way to watch the raw footage and not grasp how totally nuts some of this ACORN “counseling” was. We have to give Breitbart that.”
Thankfully, Taibbi didn’t try to defend the indefensible where ACORN is concerned, but I thought he might. He deserves kudos for recognizing that soliciting the support of a “community organization”, and I should add one of President Obama’s favorite “community organizations”, in the nefarious and illegal sex trafficking trade is “shocking.” Maybe Taibbi does have some scruples after all, but his threshold for intolerable behavior is very high.
After reading Taibbi’s piece, I think I know the answers to the questions that I asked:
- Who would use the word “douche” in the title of an article about a fellow journalist who just died? A demented soul with a seared conscience and no class.
- What editor would pass on the use of that word in a title? A kindred spirit with no journalistic integrity.
- What media outlet would allow that word in the title of an article? A counterculture magazine that’s a holdover from the 1960s. Unfortunately, some people never grow up. I suspect that’s true of the people who run Rolling Stone today. Earth to Rolling Stone: the 1960s ended more than 40 years ago.
Taibbi and his comrades at Rolling Stone believe in and support Barack Obama. They see something in him that they really like. In their minds, he is one of them, a brother as it were. I hope this won’t surprise you, but I see our president as one of them, too. Candidly, I’m not worried about Taibbi and people of his ilk. I’m very concerned about people who don’t see Barack Obama for who he is because they can be deceived very easily.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.