After posting this comment on two other blogs, I figured I should put it here as an entry instead of clogging up everybody’s blogs with identical points–
If you’re any of the MoveOn mailing lists, this link showed up in your mailbox today–
It leads to a video MoveOn produced in which they spliced together some lines from an Andrew Breitbart speech, presumably taken out of context, “proving” (like Breitbart claimed he’d proved Sherrod’s racism) that Breitbart “hearts terrorists.”
Well, point made, I guess. The purpose, as I understand it, is to use Breitbart’s techniques against him, demonstrating how easy it is to make anybody sound like they’ve said whatever you want it to sound like they’ve said.
The problem is that most of us knew that already–especially people who subscribe to MoveOn’s mailing lists. The news last week about the Sherrod scam demonstrated Breitbart’s dishonesty (duh); Rachel Maddow’s broadcast of the entire ACORN videos demonstrated that Breitbart’s protege, James O’Keefe, did the same hack job. In short, the video doesn’t add anything new to what we already know about Breitbart; he’s a lying scumbag who doesn’t care how much misery he causes anybody in service to his political agenda.
What the video does add, unfortunately, to what we already knew is that MoveOn is just as capable of the same spiteful, malicious bullshit as Breitbart and his buddies. For an organization that prides itself on not being like the villains, it’s unfortunate that their strategy this time is to out-villain the villain.
Chalk this one up as a misfire (as one of my Facebook friends put it). I’m not going to tell MoveOn to take me off their lists; I’m not furious at them, I haven’t lost faith in them. But this one wasn’t a good move.
UPDATE: On both my Facebook page and in the Comments section on another blog, people are arguing that I’ve missed the point of the video; it’s a joke. Maybe. I didn’t find it funny, and it would never have occurred to me that MoveOn even meant it that way if people I generally trust hadn’t said so.
So, as I just wrote elsewhere, it’s possible that my concern is misplaced, and I’d love for that to be true.
UPDATE 2: Mark Williams’ “Dear President Lincoln” letter was a “joke” too.
After a long conversation with my wife about this, last night while we both should have been sleeping, I realized that part of my response to the video is based on the way MoveOn framed it when they sent it out. Many people who have seen it haven’t seen what MoveOn said about it. While yes, the video is spoofing Breitbart on one level, on another it’s a direct challenge to Fox (and other) News outlets, castigating them for showing such an obviously edited piece of video without investigating it first. And yes, news outlets deserve all that castigation and more. I’m still not sure this was the way to do it.
But at the very least, other people have convinced me to back off from the suggestion that MoveOn was parroting the malicious glee of Breitbart and his ilk. If you listen to Breitbart talk about this, aside from his constantly shifting series of lies, what you hear is what seems like genuine glee coming from him; more than any impact this effort has had, he’s loving the attention.