Friday, March 02, 2012

Taibbi on Breitbart

Matt Taibbi of the Rolling Stone has written an obituary of his ideological antithesis Andrew Breitbart, which he subtitles "Death of a Douche".   Aside from the gratuitous reference to a feminine hygiene product, I guess I don't really understand Taibbi's beef with his buddy Andy. Taibbi praises his style:

For instance, it would be dishonest not to tip a hat to him for that famous scene when [Breitbart] hijacked Anthony Weiner’s own self-immolating "apology" press conference.
....And Taibbi feels that Breitbart has done some decent investigative work:

But there’s no way to watch the raw footage and not grasp how totally nuts some of this ACORN "counseling" was. We have to give Breitbart that.
And Matt goes on to say that while they disagreed about Taibbi's place within the "media-complex", Breitbart's sense of humor was admirable. Really?

This article by Taibbi reinforces one of my previous impressions that he adores the game, being a player, and Taibbi cares less about what side he happens to be on. Like Breitbart had said, you have to pick a side and go to war, and all these guys have a mutual respect for whomever can wheedle themselves into the media spotlight. Taibbi loves the fact that Breitbart paid attention to him, no matter if that attention was negative, no matter that Breitbart appealed to racism and hatred for personal gain.

The legacy of Andrew Breitbart is not completed, and it will be mixed to be sure, but for Taibbi to give such a glowing appraisal of his tactics, his personal attributes and his "career" is disappointing. Even if I agreed ideologically with everything Breitbart presented, his style and demeanor lower the discourse into the gutter and was designed to create discord: obfuscation without clarity, heat without light. Breitbart's mastery of the dog whistle to appeal to the lizard brain is reminiscent of the great propagandists of the modern age-- Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Dick Morris-- and it is nothing that should be praised. It's akin to praising Jeffrey Dahmer for his dissection skills.

While I enjoyed reading Griftopia, I maintain that Taibbi is not serious about fixing anything or reporting important events as much as he's interested in demonstrating his rhetorical skills for his fans. At least Cesca has the conviction to lay it out truthfully and without pretending that Breitbart was nothing but a self-promoter who would destroy anyone and anything for superficial recognition, even if the fame were infamy.

Andrew Breitbart’s slash-and-burn pursuit of his own career destroyed countless lives and livelihoods. Innocent bystanders in the public debate — noncombatants as I sometimes call them — were crushed by Andrew’s mendacity, his obsessive careerism and his unethical business practices. Workers at ACORN and everyone who that organization sought to help have been crushed. The war against Planned Parenthood was started by Andrew Breitbart and that’s led to its defunding by both Congress and Komen. Who knows how many women will ultimately be hurt by Breitbart’s scams and prank videos. I have nothing positive to say about him.
I Agree.


antipundit said...

Yes, Cesca (and Balloon Juice bloggers and commenters) get it much more correctly than Taibbi. I just liked his final, simple line "Good riddance, cocksucker". See Taibbi's updates as he's reaping what he has apparently sown, even as he gave props to Breitbart.

Tony said...

We are all Andrew Breitbart now.