When Andrew Breitbart passed away, the editors and bloggers who made his “Big” sites what they are today swore a blood oath to carry on his legacy of devastating BOMBSHELL stings, and their inept fumbling attempts to do so have produced a classic week of wingnut comedy.
Feeding the Media
When he had a hit job ready to launch, one of Breitbart’s techniques was to release it in stages a day or so apart, instead of dumping everything out there at once. This technique is what made his (and James O’Keefe’s) ACORN sting videos so effective; you might have been able to say one was an isolated incident, and two a coincidence, but when they just kept coming, and each one seemed more incriminating than the last, it had an undeniable effect. Even Jon Stewart once did a sketch very critical of ACORN, giving total credence to the videos. (We now know that much of what we saw in those videos had been edited and manipulated to create exactly this effect, the first example of what became known as “Breitbarting.”)
Breitbart didn’t try to conceal this “cascading bombshells” tactic, he bragged about it openly, and compared it to “feeding the media” like dogs so they’d keep coming back for more.
And that’s what we saw the mini-Breits trying to emulate this week, with the BOMBSHELL revelation that 21 years ago, Barack Obama hugged a famous black professor.
Stage One: The Dreaded Alinsky Play
The first stage, to set the scene and prep the media dogs to expect more, was released on Sunday evening so it would get into the beginning of the weekly news cycle: the revelation that Barack Obama had once attended a play about community organizer Saul Alinsky. It was a nothing-burger, but people who knew how Breitbart worked knew there would soon be more.
Stage Two: The Angry Black Radical
The second stage was the video of Obama introducing Prof. Derrick Bell, accompanied by a campaign to paint Bell as a dangerous angry black radical. Unfortunately for the heirs of Andrew, they got scooped on this one by Buzzfeed, who released the video shortly before breitbart.com did.
Stage Three: The Sinister Conspiracy
The third stage of the BOMBSHELL was supposed to be the tiny snippet of video they posted, showing Prof. Charles Ogletree saying, “Of course we hid this throughout the 2008 campaign.” This was going to be their proof that not only was President Obama a dangerous angry black radical, he was also part of a conspiracy to hide his angry black radical connections.
But then, it all went horribly wrong.
The multi-stage BOMBSHELL blew up in their own faces, because although Prof. Derrick Bell’s “Critical Race Theory” is certainly controversial, picturing him as an angry radical was never going to fly. As the first tenured black law professor at Harvard, Bell dedicated his life to understanding and fighting against racism; some would argue with his theories and analysis, but he lived an honorable, thoughtful, exemplary life and left the world a better, more interesting place when he died.
The third stage of the BOMBSHELL, the short video clip that supposedly caught Prof. Ogletree admitting to a roomful of people that he’d participated in a conspiracy to usurp the office of the Presidency, turned out to be a laughable attempt at deceptive editing — literally laughable, because Ogletree was actually making a joke. The longer clip we posted at LGF shows that he was referring to the people in the video looking much older than they did in 1991, and joking that he “hid the video” to keep them from getting mad at him.
And that dreaded Alinsky play never made it into the mainstream news at all.
One of the Biggest Internet Screwups Ever
But the coup de grace, the cheese that completes this half-pound hamburger of right wing fail, was our exclusive scoop that when they redesigned breitbart.com, Andrew’s brain trust actually succeeded in breaking every single one of the millions of links to their websites that had been posted on the Internet before this week.
The links are all still broken as I write this. Every link to a “Big” site on every website and search engine in the world. All broken.