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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 04:15 PM ET, 02/17/2012

Pat Buchanan alleges shady campaign to oust him from MSNBC

Pat Buchanan is entitled to his outrage. And to his self-righteous erudition.

Both of those traits surfaced in a blog post written today by Buchanan in reaction to his “parting of ways” with MSNBC. The end of the conservative commentator’s MSNBC career came after a number of advocacy groups petitioned the network to can him based on his history of inflammatory remarks and, specifically, passages in his book “Suicide of a Superpower.” Here’s what Buchanan wrote about his detractors:

I know these blacklisters. They operate behind closed doors, with phone calls, mailed threats, and off-the-record meetings. They work in the dark because, as Al Smith said, nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.

Al Smith does appear to have said that nothing un-American can live in the sunlight.

And that’s just about the only part of Buchanan’s utterance that withstands a fact-check. As someone who lived through the campaign of these “blacklisters,” let me tell you this: I only wish that their campaign had spent more time in the shadows. As it was, my e-mail inbox and RSS feeds clogged up with the latest missives in the efforts of various advocacy groups to remove Buchanan from MSNBC’s airwaves.

The much-in-the-news left-wing nonprofit Media Matters for America was part of the Buchanan opposition. Did it ever request an off-the-record meeting with MSNBC? “No,” replies Media Matters Executive Vice President Ari Rabin-Havt. “We’re so secretive about Pat Buchanan that we posted more than 100 items on our website about him. We’re so secretive that we published a 30-page research document on him. That’s how secretive our campaign of skullduggery against Pat Buchanan was.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) also pitched in. Any off-the-record meetings with MSNBC? “Nope,” says ADL National Director Abraham Foxman. “We sent a letter and made the letter public,” says Foxman. “I would say that I think he outed himself in the book and that’s the straw that convinced a lot of people that what we were saying was true.”

Okay, one more. National online civil rights group Color of Change also mobilized people against Buchanan. How’d it go about it?

“We put out an alert to our members,” says executive director Rashad Robinson, adding that they put out press releases, organized media interviews and encouraged members to call MSNBC leaders over and over. “Everyone was getting phone calls,” though not the sort of whisper-riddled phone calls Buchanan appears to have in mind.

What about clandy meetings? “We never asked for any closed-door meetings, nor did we get them,” says Robinson.

MSNBC is not saying whether it held any meetings with Buchanan’s “blacklisters.” Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for the network, said that MSNBC will stick with the statement it has already made on the matter. It wishes Buchanan well.

The commentator’s fulminations about dark operations by advocacy groups do as much to out him as a dinosaur as his controversial quips. It’s precisely because these groups did not engage in private appeals that they succeeded in pressuring MSNBC. Buchanan, in fact, should have recognized this uprising — it was like one of his pitchfork brigades, deployed against him.

By  |  04:15 PM ET, 02/17/2012

 
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