How You Can Fight For Better Political Dialogue

My friend Andrew Breitbart sounded the trumpet for a thousand citizen journalists to rise up. Andrew was the subject of countless vile attacks daily, but even he could not have imagined the amount of energy that a handful of groups and individuals have put into attacking friends of Andrew and citizens journalistd who heeded his call.

These attacks are often done by anonymous accounts who seem to feel that they have no accountability for what they say online. They and a small group of people acting under their own name  show a reckless disregard for the truth, making baseless and false accusations with a degree of vulgarity and mean-spiritedness which puts their conduct well outside the bounds of both civility and more importantly, the law.

[pullquote align=”right”]This defamatory intimidation has succeeded in having a chilling effect on up-and-coming writers.[/pullquote]

I have seen these attacks leveled against people like Brandon Darby, Liberty Chick, Patrick Frey, Aaron Walker, and myself. As I have been covering the Republican National Convention for the past week, and am about to break a major story about Barack Obama, these attacks have intensified and worsened and have included despicable intimidation designed to put fear into my family. It’s caused me at some points to hate two things I love; political discussion and the internet.

This is about something much bigger than me, however.

In the past week, I have talked to at least three people who have told me that after seeing the attacks I have faced, they have no desire to write about or discuss politics in any way. This understandable reaction is sad, but it cuts to the heart of the deeply un-American attacks that have been enabled by an anonymous internet culture where people see no consequences whatsoever of their actions.

These stillborn political voices – voices we will never hear – demonstrate that all the amazing digital publishing and broadcasting technology in the world can actually hurt the cause of free speech when maliciously misused by people with a nihilistic political agenda and lacking the ability to create, acting on nothing but the desire to dt tear down, mock and destroy.

Luckily, our country already has laws in place about defamation and harassment that are designed to deal with these things.

Enough is enough.

Some of you wonderful folks have asked me how you can help to support my family in its defense against the attacks being organized against me, my children, my wife, my friends and my company. Here’s how:

I’m putting together a major defamation case against two groups of people:

  1. Brooks Bayne, his organization The Trenches, and everyone directly associated with it in these attacks, including screen names such as @cryingwolfeblog, @xcitizen10, @foolishreporter, @zapem, & @swiftreed and @BradleySRees.
  2. People or groups apparently connected to Brett Kimberlin and / or Neil Rauhauser, including screennames such as @liberalgrouch, @occupyrebellion, @anonyopx.

What you can do to help:

Just keeping up with and doucmentin these attacks has been a tiring job for me. But it has to happen in order to bring an effective case and show these people that they can’t lie, defame, harass and intimidate without legal consequence.

So I’m crowdsource the ‘neighborhood watch’.

What you can do to help is to screencap and save any attacks by  these people. We’ll ask for these screencaps later on in order to help build our case.

Look for anything that accuses me of criminal behavior, unprofessional conduct or which besmirches my journalistic reputation. Also please look for and save any messages in which any of these people have contacted my employer (Brietbart.com), my coworkers, and any potential clients or business associates.

Screencap and hold onto this material. If I need it, I will ask for it.

If you can do this, it would really help to keep me from being distracted by the reckless defamation and endless harassment by these people.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

New Interview With Shirley Sherrod Confirms USDA Knew

Shirley Sherrod has a book coming out next week and she’s doing a promotional tour for it. She spoke to the Associated Press and reiterated one of the least covered aspects of the Sherrod saga — the fact that she told the USDA about the supposedly ‘heavily edited videotape’ nearly a week before it came out.

When blogger Andrew Breitbart published in 2010 an edited clip from a speech Shirley Sherrod made before an NAACP gathering and accused her of anti-white racism, the resulting outcry reached all the way to the White House. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack initially asked Sherrod to resign, then rescinded his request after it became clear Breitbart had broadcast an edited clip whose content made it appear racist.

Sherrod refused to return to her position with USDA and eventually sued Breitbart.

“I think back on that time, and I was just doing my job to try and help rural communities, staying under the radar,” she said. “Then, out of the blue, I’m being vilified. I don’t know why they were targeting me. I tried to tell (officials at) USDA that the story I was telling was about helping white farmers, but no one would listen to me. I found out that the clip was going to be released five days before it went national and told them, but no one listened.

This is not widely known, but it should be. For one thing, I wrote about it back in May, 2011. Back when I was guest blogging at Patterico, I wrote a piece called Untangling Sherrod: When Was The USDA Told? and said:

Here’s what really happened. Shirley Sherrod knew about the video excerpt on Thursday, July 14th – five days before Breitbart published it on BigGovernment. She immediately let the USDA know about the video. And she also thought she knew where to get the entire video, five days before the clips went public.

Let this sink in for a moment. Shirley Sherrod told the USDA about the video FIVE DAYS before it was released and she was ‘suddenly’ fired. The USDA had plenty of time to think about Shirley Sherrod and whether they wanted her to become the subject of public scrutiny.
Why didn’t the USDA want the public to know much about Shirley Sherrod? Why did they fear a Breitbart style drip-drip-drip, the same sort of thing that took down ACORN?
Pigford, that’s what. The fraudulent black farmers settlement.
Here’s what I wrote in The Huffington Post back in February, 2011 in an article called

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this lawsuit comes just as things are starting to heat up in thePigford investigation. Mrs. Sherrod is connected to Pigford. She’s the largest recipient of a Pigfordclaim; she, her husband Charles Sherrod and the New Communities farm won over thirteen million dollars while most other farmers only got $50,000. Mrs. Sherrod was hired by the USDA after this award. Prior to being hired, she worked to help keep angry black farmers from pulling out of the lawsuit after they objected to the terms of the consent decree. And despite her hero status with many, the farmers I have personally interviewed about Mrs. Sherrod have decidedly mixed feelings about her.

So, why now? What I know for sure is that a couple of days ago Andrew Breitbart and I put on a press conference at CPAC that released a two-hour, unedited audio clip that showed how easy it was to commit fraud in Pigford and that people are coached on exactly how to do it. A week ago Friday, theNational Review released a 4,000+ word article detailing the Pigford scandal. Other major media outlets have pieces in the works and politicians are looking seriously at investigating Pigford. The USDA has been stonewalling me for weeks. And after Media Matters published a deceptive piececalling the Pigford investigation a ‘smear’ against Mrs. Sherrod, this lawsuit comes. I have a number of questions I’d like to ask Mrs. Sherrod about Pigford but now that seems highly unlikely as she’s sure to lawyer up on the issue.

And trust me; things about to heat up in the Pigford investigation again…

By the way, the USDA had no way of knowing this at the time but Andrew didn’t have a drip-drip-drip planned. His focus was on the NAACP crowd’s reaction, not Shirley Sherrod. The irony is that Breitbart didn’t know about Pigford until after the Sherrod story went nuts.

Magnet Releasing to Distribute Breitbart Doc OCCUPY UNMASKED

Note : I’m featured extensively in this film and I could not be more proud. Director Steve Bannon and his crew knocked it out of the park. And Mark Cuban picking it up? Right the flip on….

New York, August 6, 2012 – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnet Releasing announced today an all rights distribution deal for Citizens United Productions’ documentary OCCUPY UNMASKED, one of the last projects featuring the late conservative icon Andrew Breitbart. OCCUPY UNMASKED was written and directed by award-winning director Stephen K. Bannon and produced by David N. Bossie. Magnet is giving the film a limited theatrical release day and date with VOD in late September.

“This film is controversial, and that’s exactly the reason we want to ensure it can find its audience prior to the November elections,” said Mark Cuban, co-owner of Magnet. “I look forward to our partnership with Citizens United Productions and to getting this film out to the masses.”

OCCUPY UNMASKED takes viewers into the Occupy Wall Street camps around the country in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Portland, Denver and Oakland for an up-close look at what’s happened there and who’s at the heart of the movement, documenting criminal activity and raw brutality in the camps – much of which has not been reported by the mainstream media. In addition to Andrew Breitbart, the film features journalists Brandon Darby, David Horowitz, Pam Keys, Anita MonCrief, Mandy Nagy, and Lee Stranahan.

“I am proud to announce that Citizens United Productions is teaming up with Mark Cuban and Magnet to distribute OCCUPY UNMASKED, and elevate the film the Left does not want the American people to see,” said Producer David N. Bossie. “This distribution deal will keep the groundbreaking work of the late conservative icon Andrew Breitbart alive for years to come.”

“As a dear friend of Andrew’s, I could not be more thrilled that this deal got completed and all Americans will have an opportunity to see one of Andrew Breitbart’s final pieces of work,” said writer/director Stephen K. Bannon. “This film is important because it sheds new light on the myth of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I know audiences across the country will be startled by what we uncovered in this explosive documentary.”

Chris Rock On Social Media & Fans

From an interview with Chris Rock in today’s New York Times:

Q. On July 4 you tweeted: “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.” Were you surprised at the outrage that stirred up?

A. That’s the kind of joke I would have told on Letterman. We just live in a world where the audience gets a say now. My actual belief? Only fans should be allowed to criticize. Because it’s for the fans. When I hear somebody go, “Country music [stinks],” I’m like, well, country music’s not for you. You’re just being elitist. Only a fan of Travis Tritt can say the record [stinks], because he’s got every one. Same thing with jokes. You’re a fan of mine, that joke’s not even a single, it’s a B-side that never gets released. It’s no big whoop.

Q. Whether it’s your tweet, or Daniel Tosh joking about rape, or Tracy Morgan saying he’d kill his son if he came out to him, does it seem like the Internet is just adding more fuel to these fires?

A. Are they real fires? Or are people just reacting to something? Just because there’s an alarm going doesn’t mean it’s a fire. And I think that people are confusing the two. It’s only a fire when it offends the fans, and the fans turn on you. Tosh has fans, and they get the joke. If you’ve watched enough Tracy Morgan, you let the worst thing go by. When did Tracy Morgan become Walter Cronkite? You have to mean something to me to offend me. You can’t break up with me if we don’t date.

HuffPost Features Joke About Sikh Shooting By A Connected @Shoq

AOL’s Huffington Post featured a joke about this morning’s Wisconsin shootings by Twitter ‘personality’ @Shoq on their front page only hours after the tragedy. While most civilized human beings would consider the incident off-limits for a humor but since the joke attacked a well known conservative, it’s apparently not an issue. Shoq – whose real name is Matt Edelstein – posted to his Twitter account:

Shoq If we’re lucky (which we rarely are), the shooter’s tattoo will read: ” I <3@RushLimbaugh. " #templeshooting

Shoq / Edelstein was a co-founder and leader of the “Stop Rush” twitter campaign attempting to get Rush Limbaugh off the air after comments the popular conservative radio host made about liberal activist Sandra Fluke in March. Edelstein was recently caught on an audio recording bragging that he could reach the head of Obama For America or former “Green Jobs” Czar Van Jones with one phone call.

Huffington Post regularly features tweets by @Shoq on a ticker on their front page. Shoq / Edelstein is well known for his vicious, often vile attacks on conservatives.

UPDATE : Another ‘zinger’ from @Shoq:

Evening Jam: Frampton | Do You Feel Like We Do? | Midnight Special

I’m kicking off a week of clips from The Midnight Special , the late night music show that NBC ran after Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show on Fridays. I’m 46 and people my age or so without strict bedtimes were able to see some pretty amazing music, performed live by some of the top bands of 1970s. This was before VCRs so all you could do was talk about it with your friends at school on Monday; no rewatching.

This first one is ten minutes of gold as Peter Frampton comes alive. That skinny Brit with the girly hair can play that flippin’ guitar though, can’t he? He’s so exuberant and flirty, too. And kids? That “T-Pain” effect that is on every single song nowadays in these modern times? Frampton did it with a guitar. That he could PLAY. Because he was a MUSICIAN.

Go back to 1975. Almost 40 years ago. Does that make you feel like I do?