Appearing on the April 16 "Morning Edition" to discuss what NPR tagged as "the contributions of journalists to global culture," Newsweek/Daily Beast editor Tina Brown worked in a gratuitously crude and error-laden slam of the late "right-wing radical blogger" Andrew Breitbart, who, Brown reminds us "dropped dead in [his] early 40s."
Apart from her crass description of Breitbart's sudden death, Brown got the underlying facts of her complaint wrong, furthering the meme that Breitbart deliberately took Shirley Sherrod out of context and hence was responsible for destroying her career:
During Hitler’s Germany, there were 50 foreign correspondents in Berlin, which is an incredible index of the golden era of journalism. What we have, of course, in the era of today with Andrew Breitbart – the blogger, the right-wing radical blogger who just recently dropped dead in the early 40s – was, of course, the absolute opposite. It’s really the degradation, in a sense, of the journalistic ideals of a William Shirer. It was the absolute opposite. Breitbart didn’t report anything. What really what Breitbart did was he was a provocateur. He was a death by 1,000 tweets. He, you know, was quite happy to take the flying sound bite – any sound bite – and misapply it in its context and create an absolute mayhem for the person concerned like he did for poor Shirley Sherrod who was the obscure official in the Agriculture Department. He gave the impression by the cutting of her words in a tape that he released that she was giving racially motivated financing decisions when actually she was doing the very opposite. So this was really using a kind of bastardization of journalism through the format of Web and tweeting and, you know, just simply using the Internet as a tool for activism.
But as my colleague Matthew Sheffield noted last month, that meme is completely false. Breitbart did not selectively edit the Sherrod video:
That Breitbart has been blamed for people not reading his work is really one of the most absurd instances of liberal bias in recent memory, especially since no one has ever proven that Breitbart was the one who edited the clip in question to take out Sherrod's spoken account of realizing that discrimination was wrong. To my knowledge, no one ever asked Breitbart who edited the clip down, something which his critics ought to have done rather than spread baseless innuendo about him.