in Kulturkampf

Manufacturing Nontroversy

Everyone wants to know whether Andrew Breitbart was involved in “Whodatgate,” the attempted wiretapping of a Senator in a Federal building. I say this is not mysterious; of course Brietbart is involved. After all, he admits to paying O’Keefe a salary (or “life rights,” whatever those are); and James O’Keefe hasn’t produced any new content for Brietbart’s since November, when he posted the last of the ACORN videos.

Basically, O’Keefe needed a new scoop. For some reason, he got the bright idea to involve himself in a really stupid scheme to access the phone lines of a federal building — an act that has resulted in the 25-year old being ordered to live with his parents while awaiting trial. Perhaps that is the most fitting punishment he could have received, since he evidently hasn’t finished growing up.

And poor Andrew, who has basically spent his entire life riding on the work of others, was going broke without a big source of traffic. After all, Victoria Jackson will only get you so many page loads. He needed a big score — a Drudge link. Which brings us to the excuse the defendant’s lawyer gave the AP, which Breitbart then dutifully reported as “news:”

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Four conservative activists accused of trying to tamper with a senator’s phones were just trying to record embarrassing undercover video of her staff ignoring phone calls from constituents angry that she supported health care reform, one of their attorneys said Thurday.

The four, including activist James O’Keefe, known for posing as a pimp and using a hidden camera to target the community-organizing group ACORN, were arrested Monday after targeting Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in a New Orleans federal building.

Attorney J. Garrison Jordan denied they were trying to disable or wiretap the phones in Landrieu’s office.

“You’re dealing with kids,” he said. “I don’t think they thought it through that far.”

Instead, Jordan said, they hoped to get embarrassing video footage of Landrieu’s staff handling constituent calls. Her office received complaints last month that callers opposed to her health care stance couldn’t get through.

Really? Callers couldn’t get through to a busy office in December, when everyone’s on Christmas vacation? Really? Scandal! Stop the presses! These lovable kids are heroes!

Just one question: why would they need to access the phone closet to do that, when you can just as easily hook up $20 worth of Radio Shack gear and record the phone calls from home?

Ponder that a minute, because it’s absolutely true. It’s also perfectly legal. Brietbart only made speculation worse with his epic breakdown on MSNBC yesterday:

Breitbart later posted an angry admission that he’d done no homework on Shuster prior to the interview. Unintentional hilarity is his forte:

So when MSNBC led the charge on Tuesday against James O’Keefe when he and three others were arrested in New Orleans at Senator Landrieu’s office, it came as no surprise that the cable network seized upon a narrative that presumed O’Keefe’s guilt, falsely extrapolated that he was being charged with felony wiretapping and instantaneously coined and repeated endlessly the new buzz phase, “Watergate Jr.”

It’s not Watergate junior, it’s Whodatgate. And oddly enough, Breitbart once hosted an entire series of dishonestly-edited and dubbed videos calculated to attack the reputation of a community service organization, then went on national television to suggest they contained evidence of criminal activity — and never once opined that Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity ought not to presume as they pleased.

Breitbart and O’Keefe were up to something, but it wasn’t journalism. They were out to make the news — to manufacture nontroversy. It bit them in the ass, and that is all.

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  • Wolfe_Tone

    I wonder if Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underpants Bomber™ can use the same “You’re dealing with kids, I don’t think they thought it through that far.”defense.

    After all, he's only 23.