Breitbart’s Bombshell Is A Dud

Mar 8 2012 @ 10:56am

Yesterday, Ben Smith unearthed the college tape Breitbart promised would damage the president:

Bell was the first black tenured professor at the school, and a pioneer of "critical race theory," which insisted, controversially, on reading issues of race and power into legal scholarship. His protest that spring was occasioned by Harvard's denial of tenure to a black woman professor, Regina Austin, at a time when only three of the law school's professors were black and only five women. He told Harvard he would take a leave of absence — a kind of academic strike — "until a woman of color is offered and accepted a tenured position on this faculty," and he launched a hunger strike to dramatize his point.

The full tape is here. Buzzfeed also helpfully compiled videos of Bell speeches. Breitbart.com claims that "this video is a smoking gun showing that Barack Obama not only associated with radicals, he was their advocate." Weigel examines the "controversy" from 10,000 feet:

Maybe you're underwhelmed by this. It's understandable! The video doesn't actually do much to prove that Obama is a dangerous radical. But it's supposed to prove that the media ignores any connection that might make Obama look radical. That's where the "VetThePrez" hashtag comes in. The Breitbartverse will shame the media — or at the very least, Fox — into publishing stories it might have deemed un-newsworthy.

He follows up here. How Joe Gandelman understands the video:

American politics now revolves around the small battles and mini issues — even battles that are synthetic battles, hyped up to be battles by partisans but of no interest to the average American. These battles can drive up website hits, they can drive up ratings on ideological political shows, they can boost the profile and/or speaking fees of those who push these synthetic battles and involve pushing partisans’ hot buttons.

But the average person will look at this and say: Who cares? So what? And why did you waste my time?