Breitbart.com hates getting scooped

Hey, journalism, didn’t you get the memo from Breitbart.com? They’re the ones doing the vetting of President Obama now. That’s because the rest of the media dropped the ball on this civic imperative four years ago. Breitbart.com even has a title for its vetting series: The Vetting.

Well, it looks as if there’s some competition for vetting rights. Today BuzzFeed, the emerging political reporting site that every media company on earth has profiled, posted some video of Barack Obama in his days at Harvard Law School. The footage, tweeted BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith, may be the “mysterious Harvard/Obama/race video that the Breitbart folks have been talking about.” It depicts Obama addressing a small crowd in the midst of a fight for faculty diversity — compelling stuff, for sure, but hardly revolutionary.

Just after Breitbart’s death last week, a friend of the conservative media figure appeared on Fox News’s “Hannity” to promise footage of Obama’s Harvard days within a week or so; before he died, Breitbart also said the same thing. In the aftermath of the BuzzFeed posting, Breitbart.com played defense for its scoop, saying that clip was “selectively edited.” The Breitbartians should recognize such a species.

Smith tells me via e-mail that BuzzFeed paid Boston TV station WGBH “a couple thousand dollars for Internet rights to the video, which was in their archive.”

Breitbart.com is promising that an unedited, “full tape” will premiere on tonight’s “Hannity.” Notes Smith: “I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I’d love to have more footage — it’s a really interesting moment.”

The “full tape,” says Breitbart.com, “has been hidden by Obama’s allies in the mainstream media and academia.” That characterization elevates the bar for the footage’s explosiveness, as well as the likely audience for “Hannity.” If doesn’t depict Obama promising to raise the masses in a socialist awakening that’ll sweep from Maine to Arizona in a barn-red storm, I’m boycotting “Hannity” for three days.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.

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