Itâ€™s not that I think former New York Representative Anthony Weiner doesnâ€™t deserve the heaping of disgust that was doled out on him, itâ€™s just that Iâ€™m intrigued by the dolee, a Mr. Andrew Breitbart.Â Heâ€™s a blogger.
This blogging gig has power and influence.Â Stories like Weinerâ€™s used to be broken by major newspapers and networks, now we have blogger Andrew Breitbart, who also staged and promulgated a story to major news outlets on ACORN, becoming the headline. Along with the Weiner and ACORN stories, A. Breitbart is the guy who caused Shirley Sherrod to be fired from the Department of Agriculture after posting a highly edited clip of her making what sounded like racist remarks. There are x-rated pictures of Weiner that Breitbart has threatened to use if the former Representative makes any moves of reprisal.
That little ace-in-the-hole threat from Breitbart brought to mind the probably point of provenance for these tactics: Mr. Larry Flynt.Â There were no official bloggers in 1997/1998 when Larry Flynt single-handedly forced the resignation of incoming House Speaker, Rep. Bob Livingston during the whole Clinton impeachment scandal.Â I remember Flynt saying that the tactics used by politicians to impeach then President Clinton â€œinvitedâ€ the likes of him into the equation.Â His ace-in-the-hole was an ad he placed in the Washington Post offering $1 million to persons with sexual dirt on politicians.Â You could almost hear the sound of wingtips shuffling to exit the room and make calls to sexual partners and offer counter bids.
To this Flynt born ilk we now add the likes of Breitbart, Ariana Huffington, Mwangaguhunga of Mediatakeout, Â and Maureen Oâ€™Connor, all of whom have now been invited into the equation as a result of irresponsible behavior by public officials and celebrities.Â Bloggers have been invited to the arena but unlike journalists, librarians, and doctors, there is no Hippocratic oath and certainly no law bringing any of us, dare I say us, into accountability one to the other or to any board of regulation.Â Like wild children we run amok.Â
The ACORN story turned out to be heavily edited and the entirety of the video told a different story from what Breitbart and company were slanting for conservative political purposes.Â Mediatakeout frequently posts stories so dubious they border on hilarity.Â But more and more frequently, a blog site bests the mainstay media as in the case of Gawker.com and former Representative Chris Leeâ€™s topless shirt Craigslist debacle.
I read a quote in a 1998 Washington Post article from Tom Rosenstiel, founder of PEW Researchâ€™s Project for Excellence in Journalism, â€œâ€¦there are no gatekeepers anymore.Â These things are no longer vetted by the press. Theyâ€™re vetted by the public.â€Â
Â Wow.Â Not good.Â
Depending on this countryâ€™s emotional state of the moment, be it the economic anxiety, politically pious, patriotic, or in fear of the nationâ€™s browning, the public might be vigilant or lax as it pertains to the pesky truth often left out of blog stories in order to meet the siteâ€™s agenda.Â I was proud when the public lashed out against bloggers Satoshi Kanazawa’s, formerly of Psychology Today, and Jawn Murray, formerly of AOLâ€™s Black Voices, for making hateful comments about Black women, but Iâ€™m frequently disheartened with the public when stories on Sarah Palinâ€™s â€œtake America back from you Blacksâ€ bus tour, Lindsay (lost my mind) Â Lohan, and Charlie (cough-drug addict-cough) Sheen are in Yahooâ€™s top 10 of the day solely due to their train-wreck appeal. Â
Â Solution: We, the American public, have to hold bloggers accountable.Â No Iâ€™m not about to start any organizations or march or anything like that.Â What I am going to commit to doing is radical and has proven results.Â Iâ€™m simply going to do better.