Thursday, July 28, 2011

Challenge to Andrew Breitbart: Debate Gladney and UMSL While You're In St. Louis

Andrew Breitbart likes to claim that he's willing to engage "anyone," even people who have no particular claim to fame. He also runs around the internet challenging people to "debates" who have better things to do. I probably have better things to do myself than debate a proven charlatan, but I've been especially offended by a couple of his smear campaigns targeting St. Louis institutions and I think he owes us an explanation.

I challenge Andrew Breitbart, while he's in St. Louis for the Smart Girl Summit, to have a debate on his smear campaigns against UMSL and against SEIU. I predict that he will be too gutless to accept, despite the fact that he has no good excuse.

I am as informed as anyone on the left (with the possible exception of some of the people who were smeared) on the details of these cases. I wrote a comprehensive summary as to why the right-wing story claiming that SEIU beat Kenneth Gladney was highly flawed. Naturally, the right-wing cowards were afraid to address these points, claiming that it was "obvious" that Gladney was beaten. Now, even after a jury found after 40 minutes of deliberation that there was no serious evidence that Gladney was beaten, Breitbart and his minions are hilariously running around claiming that Media Matters fixed the case. Yet they have still refused to debate the actual facts.

This is what Media Matters Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert, the man Breitbart is obsessed with, had to say about my coverage:
An additional media note about the sad Gladney chapter: The two-year tale ended up pitting St. Louis blogger Loesch against an upstart local, a liberal blogger named Adam Shriver who runs a site called St. Louis Activist Hub. By the time the not guilty verdict was read yesterday it had become clear to everyone who followed the story that Shriver had absolutely demolished Loesch and her weak Gladney conspiracies.

Right from the outset, Shriver was among the very first bloggers to dissect the Gladney video and raise all kinds of factualdoubts about the tall tale the Tea Party was telling about the “union thugs.” And it was Shriver who stayed on the case since 2009 and who, I think, was largely responsible for helping to reveal, yet again, the kind of serial fabricator that Dana Loesch is. Andrew Breitbart, too.

So in that sense, the Gladney story helped highlight the stark, well-established contrast between the liberal and conservative blogospheres, and how Loesch and Breitbart effortlessly trafficked in lies, while Shriver stuck to the facts and undertook meticulous reporting.
I also took the local lead on reporting on the attempted smear campaign against the University of Missouri St. Louis. I immediately challenged the initial reports and demanded that Breitbart's gang release the full video clips, which they refused to do. I was, I believe, the first person or one of the first people to publish UMKC professor Judy Ancel's statement debunking the lies from Breitbart's sites, and I thoroughly documented the completely dishonest nonsense from Dana Loesch during the ordeal and their meltdown when longer tapes came out. I interviewed two students from the class who rejected the Breitbart version of events. And I posted exclusive video showing members of the tea party (who later posted their story on Breitbart's site) trying to bait students into attacking them. Finally, I worked hard to make sure that our local media covered the story accurately, and they eventually did. I say all of this not to brag or demand credit, but merely to point out that I clearly would be a good person to debate Breibart on this topic. In fact, I'd wager that I know far, far more than him about both of these cases.

So if Breitbart wants to run around the internet chest-thumping and pretending that he's willing to debate anyone, he'd better step up to the plate here. His smear campaigns in St. Louis could easily have destroyed the lives of many innocent victims. If Breitbart has any courage at all, he should be willing to at least offer a justification for his despicable actions.

Finally, I should point out, if I'm wrong and Breitbart does have an ounce of courage, then the debate should be structured in a way where both sides are able to express their views. A mob scene with frequent interruptions would not be adequate.

Tell Breitbart on Twitter or facebook: have a debate when you're in St. Louis!

1 comment:

  1. Adam optimistically writes: Finally, I should point out, if I'm wrong and Breitbart does have an ounce of courage, then the debate should be structured in a way where both sides are able to express their views.

    Recent history tells us that this will result in Breitbart repeatedly ignoring any pertinent question, only to loudly instead insist that "that isn't what this is about! I NEVER SAID THAT THAT IS WHAT THIS IS ABOUT! IT WAS NEVER WHAT THIS WAS ABOUT!" and then going on to restate tangential factoids that are not pertinent but, inasmuch as he has so far managed to avoid fucking them up in the telling, they are therefore WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT!, and then a small hinged door in his forehead springs opens and a gaily painted little wooden bird emerges to call the hour [deep breath].

    [laughing] But you know that, don't you, Adam?