In a sadly ironic move, Breitbart.com satellite site Big Journalism, which recently (and tragically) lost founder Andrew Breitbart, has decided to exact revenge for a tough interview by attacking CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on the basis of tweets that she sent the day Professor Derrick Bell died. More poetically, in trying to impugn O’Brien’s journalistic integrity, they made the most basic of embarrassing mistakes, misspelling the name of Breitbart.com Editor-in-chief Joel Pollak, referencing a “Joel Pollack.”
On Thursday morning’s Starting Point, host Soledad O’Brien conducted a tough interview with Pollak about his site’s latest “bombshell,” in which O’Brien challenged his assertions about the late Professor Derrick Bell, the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School. After that interview, Breitbart TV posted a video of the interview with the headline “CNN IMPLODES OVER BREITBART’S OBAMA/BELL VIDEO,” and Big Journalism published a blog post, under the anonymous byline P.J. Salvatore, accusing O’Brien of failing to disclose that she’s a “Derrick Bell Fan.” From Big Journalism:
This morning during her panel discussion on the Obama tape and Derrick Bell, Soledad O’Brien lost control of her show and became very upset towards Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollack (sic). The reason why wasn’t disclosed: O’Brien was a huge fan of Derrick Bell.
The basis for this accusation? That O’Brien sent the following tweets the day after Professor Bell died:
Now, whether or not you think someone has to be a “huge fan” of someone to be sad they died, especially if that person broke a historic color line, and especially if that person died the same day as another civil rights pioneer, exploiting someone’s expressions of grief to win an argument is extraordinarily cheap, and doubly so in the Bigs‘ case. Perhaps the anonymous byline is in recognition of this.
What’s even more mystifying, though, is that another Big Journalism post (by Ben Shapiro) completely undercuts the “huge fan” theory, accusing O’Brien of getting her information about Prof. Bell’s academic theories from Wikipedia. So which is it?
Is Soledad O’Brien an embittered acolyte of the late professor, unable to maintain objectivity, or is her knowledge of Bell so casual that she had to consult Wikipedia? Or is it that her thumbnail description of Prof. Bell’s theories significantly overlapped with Wikipedia’s because it was accurate, and the Bigs editors are just incensed that some uppity journalist challenged them, so incensed that they’ll exploit her grief at the loss of an important figure in black history, so incensed that they can’t even spell their own editor’s name?
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