Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mitch Albom: 'Let's Shoot All the Bloggers'

Telling folks like us there’s a double standard in the media is hardly worth the bits and bytes wasted in saying it. May as well say the sky is blue.

Well, it is blue.

There’s a headline over Mitch Albom’s wrathful column in the Free Press today that says, “In the Sherrod controversy, do shoot the messenger.”

Needless to say, many of us remember when Sarah Palin caused a national panic of duck-and-cover when she used target graphics on a map to denote vulnerable congressional districts. But "shoot the messenger" is much more direct than that was.

In fairness, headlines are almost always the work of copy editors, not columnists, so Albom probably didn’t write this one. But he and the editorial page editor certainly saw it before it went to press.

The messenger Albom wants shot is Andrew Breitbart, the man who took Shirley Sherrod’s Size 9 tootsie and forced it into her mouth, and then forced Barack Obama to tell Tom Vilsack to fire her before Glenn Beck had a chance to show the video Monday, which he never did do. And then Breitbart, the fiend, forced the NAACP to release a statement praising the firing.

Well, maybe Albom didn’t actually write that he wants Breitbart shot. But he does write that he wants him to have his “matches” taken away. He wants “punishment” doled out to him “if there were any you could dole out.” Last weeks’ ShirleyFest, writes Albom, isn’t “a referendum on racism,” as some think, but “a referendum on editing. A referendum on Internet blogging.”

But did the bloggers win or lose?

Even so, yowls Albom, fingers tearing at his thick, luscious hair:
[H]ow do you punish a blogger like Breitbart? He simply slithers back into the muck that some confuse with journalism. Who does he have to answer to?


Not a Free Press editor (like the guy who came up with “do shoot the messenger”), not the NAACP, not David Axelrod, not Eric Holder (yet).

Not no-goddam-body!

He can say whatever he wants!

Who does Breitbart think he is? A professional newspaper columnist? Answering to professional editors like we have at the Free Press? I mean, where is it written that a guy can say whatever he wants, without answering to anybody?

The problem, frets Albom, is that blogger Breitbart isn’t “held to any standard.” (Let alone the HIGH standards of truth and accuracy we have come to know and love at the Detroit Free Press).

It’s not that Albom is an opponent of free speech -- you know -- the kind you don’t have to answer for to “nobody.” It’s just that he is opposed to hate speech, because, (I have to infer), Albom is against Hate. And for Love.

Which doesn’t stop him from writing, in a column dedicated to taking Breitbart down, that “I doubt he counts that much,” and, “He simply slithers back into the muck.”

He even attacks Ann Coulter, whose skinny shadow Albom doesn’t deserve to sit in, and who had absolutely nothing to do with any of this.
Hate makes the political world spin, particularly the blog world. The shrieking Ann Coulter, who can't possibly be taken seriously, actually claimed Breitbart was a "victim" of whomever set him up with this video.
Liberals have a “tell” whenever they’re out in company and can’t say aloud that they hate someone’s guts. They accuses the enemy of hate.

Coulter can’t possibly be taken seriously? Compared to whom? Mitch Albom? She’s one of the few commentators out there I do take seriously, being at least 99 44/100% blunt about exactly where her fine mind takes her. But if he thinks she can’t be taken seriously, then why drag her into his few alloted column inches? And I’ve never heard her shriek.

He also libels Coulter by casting her in a false light as one of the commentators who was particularly critical of Sherrod. In fact, Coulter spoke so highly of Sherrod’s speech, in its totality, that I was, and am, puzzled by Ann’s point of view. But her hypothesis that Breitbart was provided the video excerpt from an unknown party that may, in turn, have been meant to make Breitbart look bad makes as much sense as anything Albom has had to say about this. And how is saying Breitbart may have been a victim here “hate?”

It goes without saying that nowhere does Albom ever once acknowledge that Sherrod was fired by Tom Vilsack and Barack Obama, with the NAACP cheering them on. It’s all Breitbart’s fault.

And if Albom’s standards are so high, then why does he quote Breitbart out of context, exactly the thing he accuse Brietbart of doing, when he writes:

Breitbart's Web site contains pieces like "If Anyone Needs to Apologize, It's Shirley Sherrod." Breitbart actually said the following of Sherrod: "This person has not gotten past black versus white."
Albom forgets to mention that Breitbart was reacting to Sherrod’s statements on liberal cable news shows like Anderson Cooper, where she said this about Breitbart, a man she has never met:

I know I've gotten past black versus white. He's probably the person who's never gotten past it and never attempted to get past it.

I think he would like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery. That's where I think he would like to see all black people end up again.

COOPER: You think -- you think he's racist?

SHERROD: ... I think he's so vicious. Yes, I do.

And I think that's why he's so vicious against a black president, you know. He would go after me. I don't think it was even the NAACP he was totally after. I think he was after a black president.
If it’s standards you’re crying out for, Mitch, you and the Free Press need to find yourselves some, first.

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