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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 02:49 PM ET, 03/05/2012

Breitbart’s last scoop: Obama participated in a panel discussion!

AlinskyPosterFullRez

Andrew Breitbart died too young — on that we can all agree. The 43-year-old Internet entrepreneur and mainstram media attacker should have been with us for thousands more TV appearances, columns and red-faced rants.

Today on Breitbart.com comes a clue as to what sort of enterprise the provocateur was planning. It explains:

Andrew did not want to re-litigate the 2008 election. Nor did he want to let Republicans off the hook. Instead, he wanted to show that the media had failed in its most basic duty: to uncover the truth, and hold those in power accountable, regardless of party.
From today through Election Day, November 6, 2012, we will vet this president--and his rivals.
We begin with a column Andrew wrote last week in preparation for today’s Big relaunch--a story that should swing the first hammer against the glass wall the mainstream media has built around Barack Obama.

Hammer? Naw, more like a feather.

The gist of this Andrew Breitbart column is that Barack Obama in 1998 participated in a panel discussion. Yup, that’s about it. He was invited, attended and spoke in a public event.

So how could such an episode qualify as an element of Breitbartian vetting? Because the panel discussion followed a production of the play The Love Song of Saul Alinsky by Terrapin Theatre. Alinsky is the famous community organizer who wrote Rules for Radicals and whose body of work the president’s opponents are always attempting to attribute to him. Newt Gingrich, for instance, recently called Obama “more Saul Alinsky and radicalism than...traditional American models.”

And so Breitbart finds retro-scandal dating back to 1998:

Obama was not only in the audience [for The Love Song of Saul Alinsky], but also took the stage after one performance, participating in a panel discussion that was advertised in the poster for the play.

And that’s about as far as the tale goes. Sure, Breitbart gives some biographical information on Obama’s fellow panel members. Though the poster for the event listed thirteen panelists (plus “many others”), Breitbart’s rundown profiles only five of them. The word “communist” appears 11 times in the biographical briefs.

After coloring the panel red, Breitbart sticks in the dagger:

Are we expected to believe that “Baraka Obama” was a countervailing voice of reason on a panel of radicals?

Who really cares what we’re expected to believe? What matters is what Barack Obama actually said in that panel session. Figuring out that part requires legwork, and at least one reporter has made some inroads on that front (with nothing scandalous emerging). But Breitbart & Co. don’t take out their shovels and excavate to another stratum. Instead, the formula here consists of more speculation, more talking points:

The reason that Obama’s Alinskyite past, and his many appearances in political photography and video from the 1990s, are conspicuously missing from the national dialogue is that State Senator Barack Obama’s reinvention as a reasonable and moderate Democratic politician could not withstand scrutiny of his political life.
Because the mainstream media did not explore his roots, the American public remains largely ignorant of the degree to which Obama’s work with ACORN and his love of Alinsky were symbolic of his true political will.
If any of the candidates can resist the media, and parlay Newt’s strategy into a nomination, we’ll have the choice between an imperfect but well-known Republican and the real “Baraka” Obama, not the manufactured one the media prefers.

If that’s the extent of the Obama vetting that this series is presenting, let’s hope that Breitbart planned to start with his weakest stuff. Because this posthumous piece isn’t burnishing his prehumous legacy.

By  |  02:49 PM ET, 03/05/2012

Tags:  andrew breitbart, barack obama, president obama, saul alinsky, terrapin theatre

 
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