Thursday, March 01, 2012

Hate from a writer at Slate

From Russ Roberts at Cafe Hayek:

Andrew Breitbart has passed away. I didn’t know him. I never met him. I know little about him. I know he had something to do with the hidden camera video that exposed ACORN as not being very particular about the kind of people that they helped. Google it if you don’t know about it. He was a conservative. A conservative activist with a bit of the prankster in him. That’s what I know. Anyway, Breitbart has died at 43.
Here is what Matt Yglesias just tweeted (misspelling Breitbart’s name):
Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead
Huh? I have no trouble with the idea that when bad people die it’s OK to say bad things about them. But that second sentence stuns me. For starters, Breitbart leaves behind a wife and four kids. I would never presume that one’s public acts dwarf the private ones. But put that aside. Somebody dies whose politics are different from yours and you conclude that the world is now a better place?
I am sympathetic to the idea that my views on how the world works are the right ones. But dear God, please spare me from hubris that says people who look at the world in a way that is different from my own make the world a worse place and their passing is a plus.
I can't put it any better. What's disturbing is that Matthew Yglesias is a fairly prominent pundit.


Anonymous said...

I certainly agree with you, Rick. Did you write the same thing when Breitbart went after Ted Kennedy on news of his death? No excuse, either way.

Rick Esenberg said...

No, I didn't. I don't know everything that everyone does. Assuming the accuracy of the report, I agree that it was improper to write those things in the wake of Kennedy's death.

Anonymous said...

Different anony here...

Interesting choice of words you use, Professor. You deplore (correctly) the statements made by a writer from Slate in regards to Breitbart's untimely demise. You then choose to characterize the author who wrote them as "hate".

Next, you use these words "Assuming the accuracy of the report"...well, here is what Breitbart said in the wake of Ted Kennedy's death. Please understand that while I am linking to a liberal site, the information posted is factual.

So, there you have it, Professor. "Improper" for Breitbart, "hate" for the Slate author? Double standard?

Anonymous said...

Yawn, this is about as canned and predictable as a loss by the Bucks.

Partisan Hack: The other side is being insensitive about the death of one of our hacks!

Opposite Side Partisan Hack: Uh, your side does the same thing, hack. Like all the time. Duh.

Partisan Hack: Well, jeez, I can't police what everyone says. It's just a shame your side is so rotten.

Rinse, repeat.

Rick, considering some of the rhetoric used by your clients and people you support, and as a partisan hack yourself, it's best you just steer clear of these complaints. Idiots and hacks say rotten things about polarizing people when they die. On both sides. About the same amount, and with the same zeal. You can either sink to their level and participate, or you can see it for what it is - total b.s.

Frankly I think Breitbart was a p.o.s. who helped poison our political debate significantly. He blatantly lied and manipulated things people did and said to drive people into a frenzy and make a lot of money doing it. There was little if any truth or honor or anything good that he produced, he just fleeced idiots who need a cause around which to rally and an other with which to fight. Doesn't matter which side he was on, that's all there was to it.

That being said, he was too young and leaves behind people who loved him. Tragedy he died before he could possibly realize the damage he had done, and I genuinely feel sorry for those who care about him.

Brew city brawler said...

Charlie Sykes' show was essentially a sanitized breitbart rant the day Kennedy died. And who could forget Patrick Mcilheran and john Mcadams dissing John Kenneth Galbraith the day he died? Great stuff. (written neither to justify the article Rick refers to nor to denounce Rick for not policing his ideological confreres)

ProgressiveConservative said...

Breitbart was an active participant in the continued coarsening of the political debate. He and his counterparts on the left have ruined politics and should be deplored. I'll refrain from making any distasteful remarks, but his type of agitor is partly why I am lapsed Republican. People like him and Reince Priebus have damaged the GOP and conservatism.

The Bemused Bystander said...


So if, Allah forbid, you should meet an untimely death, do you think you'll be remembered in the public arena as a decent father and husband, or as a paid shill for the Bradley Foundation and a willing stooge for Sykes?

George Mitchell said...

What is off limits when a public person dies?

Say, Teddy Kennedy?

If, as happened, his supporters lionize him for his public policy record was it off limits to differ with that record? I would say no.

Was it wrong to take pleasure in his death? Yes.

I think it's fair game for someone to weigh in with the view that Breitbart "coarsened" the public debate. Breitbart likely would not expect or be surprised at such a reaction.

But those who revel in his death are very small people, sort of like those who claim Rick is a "shill" or "stooge."

The Bemused Bystander said...


What will your epitaph be?

Marc Eisen said...

One can express condolences for his family and wince at the loss his young children have experienced and still believe Breitbart was a SOB. What his website did to Shirley Sherrod--purposely mischaracterizing her message and maligning her as a racist--was an act of zealotry. Breitbart's ends--making a bogus point about reverse discrimination-- justified his means even if those means included character assassination. He never apologized for posting the misleading editing of the Sherrod tape. You could trust Breitbart about as far as you could throw him.

Anonymous said...

Did breitbart drown Shirley sherrod?

George Mitchell said...

Oh Marc, please.

Yes, you can believe he was an SOB. But, do you need to call attention to yourself as to that belief simultaneous with his death?

Or is it not a better course to simply shut up?

To use the death of someone with whom you disagree as an occasion for trumpeting that disagreement is

Marc Eisen said...

Self-absorbed, George? The man tried to destroy a woman's reputation to make a cheap political point. He was a SOB.

Anonymous said...

Anony 6:59 p.m. here.

George, may I remind you of your own words...

"I think it's fair game for someone to weigh in with the view that Breitbart "coarsened" the public debate. Breitbart likely would not expect or be surprised at such a reaction."

That is exactly what Marc did...then you criticize him for it!

George Mitchell said...

In the same sentence that Marc expresses condolences he calls Brietbart an SOB.

His condolences are phony.

Marc Eisen said...

George, a measure of hypocrisy is required to maintain civility in society. That gets to my objection to Breitbart. He posted a video that destroyed Sherrod’s reputation. It was quickly revealed to have been edited with mendacity. He never apologized. That puts him in the SOB category.

Geo mitchell said...

I m sure the funeral home handling the arrangements has an online link where classy "condolences" can be posted. Go for it, Marc.

Peggy noonan's WSJ column today has a somewhat different take on Breitbart. said...

George, thanks for bringing up Peggy Noonan. Her Wall Street Journal column of July 22, 2010, does a marvelous job of summing up the injustice visited upon Shirley Sherrod. First she was smeared by Andrew Breitbart's website, then she was forced from her job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by a panicked Obama administration that was snookered by Breitbart's contention that Sherrod was prejudiced against white people. Supposedly she had failed to help a white farm couple named Roger and Eloise Spooner. who were losing their farm in a foreclosure.

As Noonan explains in her column, Sherrod's speech to a NAACP chapter in Georgia recounted the prejudice and violence her own family faced in the pre-Civil Rights South, including the murder of her father. After praying for direction, Sherrod decided to stay in the South and help her people succeed. Whites could take care of their own.

Noonan continues
"She said that 45 years ago she couldn't say what she will say tonight: "I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know. As my mother has said to so many, 'If we had tried to live with hate in my heart, we probably be dead now.'" She said it was "sad" that the room was not "full of whites and blacks." She quoted Toni Morrison: We have to get to a point where "race exists but it doesn't matter."
'There is beauty in the speech, and bravery too. It was brave because her subject wasn't the nation's failures and your failures but her failures. The beauty is that it deals with the great subject of our lives: how to be better, how to make the world better. It's not a perfect speech—she's tendentious in her support for health care and takes cheap shots at Republicans. And it's not the poor versus the rich, it's the powerful helping the powerless. But it's good.
"You know what happened this week. Someone cut the 45-minute speech down to less than two minutes, to the part in which she talked about not wanting to help white people. Andrew Breitbart ran it on one of his websites and made Ms. Sherrod look like a race-game-playing government bully.
"It was trumpeted all over conservative media. The Obama administration panicked and forced her to resign. She wasn't even given a chance to explain.
And then the Spooners stepped in, and this time they saved her. Is Ms. Sherrod a racist, they were asked. 'No way in the world,' said Roger Spooner. "She stuck with us.' Eloise: 'She helped us, so we're helping her.'"

George, you should read the column. It's called: "The Power of Redemption: Shirley Sherrod's speech, and her story, has lessons for us all."

George Mitchell said...

I was aware of the column. I read her regularly. She references it in her column in the 3/3 WSJ piece. She chooses not to define Breitbart's life by the Sherrod matter.

As his conduct in that case is not defensible, I did not choose to defend it.

My observation re Marc Eisen dealt with the approach he and many others have taken re the death. They offer gratuitous and, I believe, insincere "condolences."

Anonymous said...

George Mitchell--His condolences are phony...They offer gratuitous and, I believe, insincere "condolences."

There is nothing that Marc wrote that one could reasonably infer he was being insincere. He said Breitbart was an SOB due to his actions. You cannot on one hand say that it is "fair game" for posters to criticize Breitbart's actions, then another hand take someone to task for explaining why he was offended by that behavior. Otherwise, you appear to be the phony for setting people up.

The much larger question that no one is addressing is why the professor chose to label the writing by the Slate author as "hate" and the actions by Breitbart as "improper".

Anonymous said...

Since no one has swung at the fastball down the middle yet,

"Well, what would you call someone who wants us to pay for her to have sex? What would you call that woman? You'd call 'em a slut, a prostitute or whatever."

George mitchell said...

My condolences to the SOB's family. Sincerely.

Anonymous said...

George, that is NOT the essence of Marc's remarks. Now who is trying to be the phony?

Unknown said...

===That gets to my objection to Breitbart. He posted a video that destroyed Sherrod’s reputation. It was quickly revealed to have been edited with mendacity. He never apologized.===

This is the continued propagation of a lie.

When the unified lefty-party-media began its character assassination of the TEA party, the NAACP was the designated lead agency for that effort.

Because Breitbart was a making a media rebuttal to the NAACP charges of racism against the TEA Party, he was careful to frame his introduction to Sherrod who was SPEAKING TO THE NAACP. He emphasized, rightly, the REACTION of the members to that moment of her story where she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. This organization, which is leading the smearing of the TEA party is cheering in racist identification with her revenge. Sherrod's further story reveals that she repented of this impulse and did help the man.

Breitbart said "Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help.But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”

So this editing and reputation nonsense is just another lefty-media-complex diversion to the righteous documentation by Breitbart that the left was once again using race-baiting. That members of the very organization taking the lead in calling TEA party racist has now become very comfortable with racism against whites in its formal meetings.

"""A frame by frame analysis of Brietbart's posted video shows that """each of the elements of Sherrod’s story which legend has it was not on the “edited” tape in fact was on the tape.""""""

I am relying on a blog by another blogging law professor at

It would have been really ugly for the left to admit what a phony, corrupt organization the NCAAP has become. What a force for good it could have been.

Chairman Bond recently said that Republicans "draw their most rabid supporters from the Taliban wing of American politics" and want to "write bigotry back into the Constitution." He has also compared conservatives to the KKK and the Bush administration to the Confederacy.

Read more:

Anonymous said...

In this corner, we have "Unknown" who cites Legal Insurrection, among others, in defense of Breitbart

In this corner, we have "Media Matters" who takes Breitbart to task...

And who can forget how Brietbart then took to task Glenn Beck...

Isn't partisan rancor grand? Over Breitbart? Brietbart? Seriously, Brietbart? Breitbart? Really, Brietbart? (in the voice of former New Orleans Saints coach Jim Mora).

Unknown said...

And who can forget how Brietbart then took to task Glenn Beck...

-- Good point. The focus shifted from the NAACP's false accusations of racism against a political movement of millions of civic minded Americans to the speaker.

Kind of like Rush's slightly over the top discussion of Fluke shifted the focus from the Left's pursuit of 'free' birth control for one-percenters attending the nation's most prestigious law school personalized as a 30 year old sexual rights fixated agitator. So now we are not talking about how religious people's first amendment rights are being trampled. Nor that gas is skyrocketing past 4 dollars per gallon.

The left loves them this kind of misdirection.

George Mitchell said...

anon 6:26 says

"George, that is NOT the essence of Marc's remarks."

Well, here is how Marc began his remarks:

"One can express condolences for his family and wince at the loss his young children have experienced and still believe Breitbart was a SOB."

Anonymous said...

Unknown--The right AND the left engage in misdirection equally. Get your facts straight.

George--Just. Stop. Now. Please. It's embarrassing.

George Mitchell said...

anon 7:14

What I would find "embarrassing" is to post my opinions anonymously.

Anonymous said...

So, George, you would have the same disdain for anyone who posts "anonymously", say, Dad29, for example?

There have been a number of posters here who have been anonymous and have made cogent remarks. Who cares if they CHOOSE to submit their comments as "anonymous", it is substance of that content that counts.

Marc Eisen said...

I agree with George. People should be man or woman enough to put their names to their opinions. Seems kind of gutless not to. I wish that Rick made it a requirement.

George Mitchell said...

Anon 11:11

I have posted here, on several occasions, my dislike of the "anonymous" tag. I have explicitly cited Dad29 (who I know and respect and whose identity is hardly a secret) in arguing against anonymous postings. So, your "gotcha" on that one comes right back at you.

Going forward, barring an obvious factual error by anonymous posters, I am going to pass on responding to them.

George Mitchell said...

I'm George Mitchell

George Mitchell said...

No I'm George Mitchell

George Mitchell said...

Stop using my name. I'm the real George Mitchell

Anonymous said...

George Mitchell--I have posted here, on several occasions, my dislike of the "anonymous" tag. I have explicitly cited Dad29 (who I know and respect and whose identity is hardly a secret) in arguing against anonymous postings.

Maybe Dad29's identity is known by the "in-crowd" of conservatives. Regardless, who cares if he or I are anonymous? The CONTENT of the post is more important than anything else.

"Going forward, barring an obvious factual error by anonymous posters, I am going to pass on responding to them."

Your choice, but then you are missing out on the exchange of ideas, which is the ultimate purpose of a blog.

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