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Too many books by conservative personalities have too little to say and no larger rationale than making money for the personality in question.
To be clear, I have no problem with the rationale as long as it is someone else’s money they are making. So I tend to avoid such books.
Given my biases, I picked up a copy of Andrew Breitbart’s new book, “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World,” only because I felt I owed him one.
By book’s end, I owed him another. “Righteous Indignation” is the single best account I have read of the media revolution and its political consequences, and it is all the better for being an insider’s tale.
The day before I bought the book Breitbart came to my defense when MSNBC’s Martin Bashir challenged my thesis that Bill Ayers helped write Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father.”
This was one of several lines of attack, all racially charged, in a memorably silly attempt by Bashir to anoint Breitbart the Grand Kleagle of an emerging cyber-Klan.
Breitbart has since challenged Bashir to a lie-detector showdown with a $10,000 payoff if it proves that Bashir had actually read Breitbart’s book as he claimed he had.
After reading “Righteous Indignation,” I am confident Bashir will not take the bet. The book in no small part deals with grotesque attempts by people like Bashir to paint utterly innocent conservatives as racists.
Had Bashir read the book he would have known what a fool’s errand his producers had set him on. He would have also known that Breitbart had dedicated less than one full sentence to my thesis and named me only in the footnotes.
What Bashir avoided was the heart of Breitbart’s tale: the battle for the cultural no-man’s-land now open thanks to the slow-motion implosion of what Breitbart calls “the Democrat-Media Complex.”
Breitbart would seem an unlikely culture warrior. In the book’s opening chapters, the self-effacing and often amusing author traces his own evolution from Hollywood nihilist to tea-party knight errant.
Lacking any orthodox career goals, this classic Generation-Xer stumbled into the nursery where the Internet counter-revolution was being hatched.
Breitbart’s association with Matt Drudge gave him an invaluable perspective on the moment when the major media realized that the battle had been joined – that is when Drudge broke the “Monica” story Newsweek had hoped to spike.
In the wake of that revelation, the Democrat-Media Complex – an alliance that included pornographers, private detectives, the professoriate and much of Hollywood – set out to protect the soon-to-be impeached president by any means necessary.
Breitbart reminds us in detail just how ugly it got. It was a useful reminder. I had almost forgotten.
As the folks at WND can attest, given their own role as pioneers in the world of Internet journalism, it has stayed ugly ever since.
Unknown to most Americans, benefactors like financier George Soros have helped create an army of ankle biters who do not report news but rather annoy the people who do.
I have come to think of these diminutive souls as our Lilliputian media. Like the 6-inch-tall residents of Jonathan Swift’s Lilliput, “They see with great exactness, but at no great distance.”
During the course of the Bashir interview, Breitbart accused Bashir of getting his talking points from among the foremost of the Lilliputians, Media Matters for America.
Founded by the man whose Troopergate articles led to Clinton’s impeachment, David Brock, and funded in part by Soros, Media Matters has transitioned its Lilliputian army from monitoring the news to what Brock openly calls “guerrilla warfare and sabotage.”
Although Brock’s principal target is Fox News, no one on the right is immune from the assaults of Brock’s 90 or so foot soldiers, arrayed, writes Politico, “in neat rows in a giant war room above Massachusetts Avenue.”
Since the publication of my book, “Deconstructing Obama,” I seem to have been assigned my own Media Matters case officer. Nothing I write or say goes unmonitored.
I do not think Brock understands how useful a service this is. For instance, within hours of my appearance on “Fox & Friends” a few weeks ago, Media Matters had posted the video on its website.
I promptly reposted it to my Facebook and Twitter lists, fully confident that my friends would not be swayed by the rubbish rhetoric surrounding it. When reposted, the Bashir interview with Breitbart proved even more useful.
With their eye for detail, the Lilliputians also force us on the right to fact check thoroughly. A month ago, I posted a video that proved unreliable. As soon as I realized this, I had it pulled.
Although the video was incidental to the article, it launched a crazed little Lilliputian end-zone dance that continues to this day. I will not make that mistake again.
What I have not been able to do, nor has Breitbart, is to get the media, large or Lilliputian, to engage on a subject worthy of the public’s time.
In my case: Did Barack Obama write his own books? Is the story they tell true? Was TWA Flight 800 shot out of the sky? Was Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown the victim of foul play?
Unfortunately, today’s anti-journalists do not aspire to be the next Woodward or Bernstein. They aspire to be the next Roy Cohn.
While the Internet players on the right have been successfully attacking large stories – ACORN, for instance, in Breitbart’s case – the Democrat-Media Complex and its Lilliputian troops have been blindly attacking the right.
It is a shame. In the age of the Internet the truth has become so accessible that nervy kids with a video camera like James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles can bring down a corrupt national empire like ACORN.
Brietbart’s book is a call to arms to the James and Hannah wannabes in your basement. “It’s a long war,” cautions Breitbart, but it is winnable, and today we can all join the fight.
If the nation is to survive, we all have to.