Listening to National Public Radio's Morning Edition this morning (Thursday, July 22), I came away awed and amazed at the power of internet activists and bloggers. According to NPR's Ari Shapiro, someone can post something on a blog attacking a federal employee, and, lo and behold, the Obama administration immediately caves in. How exactly Glenn Greenwald has not caused them immediately to bring criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales, Jay Bybee, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush is beyond me. The Great Blue Satan has said that that the officials responsible for administering the HAMP program should be fired. I expect their resignation tomorrow.
Since I recognize the awesome power inherent in being some blogger somewhere, I wanted to post my wish list for sacrificial lambs (or scapegoats). But with great power comes great responsibility, so I'll reserve my ire for the one being worthy of my unhinged hatred: Bo the Dog.
As we all know, Bo is a Portugese Water Dog. Since he is Portugese, he must be an illegal alien because I know he does not have a green card. And I am reliably informed by an anonymous source that he once barked at a Fila Brasileiro and did not bark at an English Setter. Clear evidence of elitism--Filas are working dogs--and racial bias!
What I really do not understand is how the magic happens. How did the blog post travel to the eyes and ears of the Obama administration and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack? I have to assume that they spend their days poring over the blog-work of activists, searching out the blogosphere for specious attacks from sites with a history of misleadingly edited videos. Or if Vilsack does not do this himself, perhaps his secretaries and aides spend their days on these sites, and take their allegations as gospel.
If the Obama administration does not constantly monitor these websites, then the only other possibility I can see is that Breitbart has some form of long-range brain wave manipulation device. I mean, it's clear from the Shapiro's report that no other intermediate "News" organization could have been responsible for promulgating the falsehoods and baseless allegations in Breitbart's selectively edited video. Indeed, if there were such a major media outlet that repeatedly played the video and reported the story as though it were accurate, without independent verification, then obviously Shapiro would have a responsibility to report on them as well. If Breitbart is guilty when he pushed a video without adequate verification, then any other "News" or activist organization that did the same would be equally responsible.
Here's a video from Rachel Maddow explaining the story along with the series of such stories on Fox "News" and placing it in the historical context of such attempts at stoking racial fears. Sadly, NPR does not seem to feel it has the responsibility to fully inform its listeners, and it continues to shield Fox "News" from criticism even when their irresponsible attacks go so far over the line that even the mainstream media reacts.
Update: This No More Mister Nice Blog post is obviously much better informed about Fox's role in all this than I am. Also this Media Matters post. The point remains that the Obama administration is not responding directly to Andrew Breitbart, and Fox clearly has been flogging these stories, and Fox on-line has been flogging this story in particular.