Mar 14 2016
Yes, I was going to do a post today about getting good news outlets to you. But just as I was ready to start showing you how to be an informed news consumer, over in the fact free world that is Wingnuttia, this happened:
Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro are resigning from the company over the site’s handling of Donald Trump’s campaign manager’s alleged assault on Fields, BuzzFeed News has learned.
Fields and Shapiro informed Breitbart News chair Steve Bannon of their decision Sunday night.
“Today I informed the management at Breitbart News of my immediate resignation,” Fields said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “I do not believe Breitbart News has adequately stood by me during the events of the past week and because of that I believe it is now best for us to part ways.”
In his own statement, Shapiro said the episode was emblematic of how he believes the site’s management had sold out the legacy of its founder and namesake, the late Andrew Breitbart.
For Ben Shapiro to have a sudden out break of scruples is, as the girls at Wonkette put it, "not such a surprise; Fields simply escaped before her literal-minded Brietbart bosses could obtain an actual bus to throw her under." This is the right wing blog equivalent of this:
And at that CAPT Renault had more ethics than Ben Shapiro does.
Now, long time readers here will recognize that even in life, Andrew Breitbart never found a warm welcome here at Skippy-san HQ. Early on we recognized him as the vile slug that he was. You can refresh yourself on his lack of decency, journalistic integrity and overall allegiance to stupidity here and here. The man was truly vile and his "news" outlets reflected his complete lack of class and integrity.Never forget:
The guy was a hack, at best. More importantly, a steadily increasing number of conservative voices were willing to publicly say so over the last couple of years…………..When you get down to it, Andrew Breitbart was a guy who defamed a lady and trafficked in congressional cock shots. Those are the things that he was most famous for, and likely the things that he was proudest of.
He was hardly a champion of conservatism, as evidenced by the fact that he almost never talked about its virtues. To be sure, he devoted the last years of his life to berating and humiliating liberals but that, in and of itself, is hardly championing anything, let alone a political philosophy. Having said that, Breitbart's well-documented fascination with Hebrew beef – and he did carry the only known picture of the fully exposed Weiner weiner on his phone to show off to disc jockeys – displayed an underlying support of Israel. So there is that, I guess.
Indeed, his taking the likes of James O'Keefe to his bosom, engaging in highly selective editing to make some kind of a point, and calling entire popular movements rapists probably hurt conservatism far more than it helped. As each of his stunts were ultimately discredited, he became harder and harder for serious people to defend. And because he identified himself so closely with the movement brand, the brand itself became identified with him when it refused to denounce those stunts.
Poor old Ben Shapiro, he leaves because he thinks Breitbart's legacy was being betrayed. Too bad he forgot what Breitbart's legacy really was.
Yep, that would be Andrew Breitbart, the guy who used deceptively-edited video to bring down that huge bully Shirley Sherrod from a minor position in the Department of Agriculture, thus defeating the racist NAACP forever. He also unleashed great investigative journalist and serial liar James O’Keefe upon the world, bringing an end to ACORN and its bullying of white America by registering black voters. Such a hero. Shapiro continues, explaining his disgust at the organization’s turn from good bullying to bad bullying.
That would also be the same ethically challenged Breitbart that did this:
But I guess no homage is complete without a celebration of the whole man, and the whole man in this case was not just a guy who once said, “It’s all about a good laugh,” but also someone who liked to publish peoples’ personal information on the internet, hack into private web sites, tell lies in an attempt to get his enemies fired, and incite readers to threats against his targets and their families, including death threats. I left all of that stuff out of my obit, but now, thanks to you readers, that’s all in there as well, leaving, for posterity, a much more complete picture of the man.
And as bad as Breitbart's "life's work" was, Shapiro actually made it worse. When Breitbart died I did not think that was possible. But I was wrong. Shapiro took that low bar and made it even lower after his mentor passed on to his reward. As senior editor-at-large he had a responsibility to set a journalistic tone, one at which he failed miserably. He is, if anything, even worse at providing fact based commentary then his mentor was.
There are many examples of Shapiro's shoddy brand of journalism. The most famous of which occurred here
Basically, what happened is that a Hill staffer repeated a reporter's question as fact to Shapiro and Shapiro published it as fact.
Not only did Ben Shapiro not bother to get multiple sources, he didn't even Google "Friends of Hamas," which would have pretty conclusively proved that they don't exist.
I get that there are honest disagreements about Hagel's views on foreign policy, and I'm not against an honest about them. But selective reporting – if Shapiro's "Friends of Hamas" story can even be called that – is something else altogether.
In a proper world, a guy like Shapiro would never find work on journalism's street again-even working to sweep it. But we both know that won't happen. He is already finding himself on Wingnut Welfare with the other hacks.
But the Breitbart "empire" is falling apart and that's a start. So to use one of his mentor's favorite words: "Good riddance, cocksucker.* Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.".
* From the Rolling Stone post: "See the following Breitbart quote: “I like to call someone a raving cunt every now and then, when it’s appropriate, for effect… ‘You cocksucker.’ I love that kind of language.”"