Following the recent federal felony arrest of his Rightwing dirty trickster employee, Rightwing propagandist and flim-flam artist Andrew Breitbart has had difficulty keeping his story straight. In two recent radio interviews, Breitbart offered two directly contradictory descriptions of his business relationship with the 25-year-old accused felon who remains on payroll while facing federal charges.
During a recent live appearance on the Internet radio show African-American Conservatives (AACONS), Breitbart was asked about his ongoing relationship with James O'Keefe. O'Keefe was recently arrested in Louisiana, along with three others (one the son of the acting U.S. Attorney), for allegedly heading up a scheme to "maliciously interfere" with the telephone system of Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
He's "technically not salaried," Breitbart told AACONS host Marie Stroughter during the interview last week, in reply to her question about O'Keefe.
Breitbart's answer, however, was in direct contradiction to an an admission he offered on-air on the nationally syndicated radio program of fellow Rightwing propagandist Hugh Hewitt just weeks ago, on January 26th, on the night of O'Keefe's arrest.
In response to Hewitt's query about whether O'Keefe was "in your employ in any way," Breitbart admitted that O'Keefe was "paid a fair salary" for content published on Breitbart's various websites.
So, according to Breitbart, his accused felon employee O'Keefe is both "technically not salaried" and "paid a fair salary" at the same time. A neat trick.
So, was he lying to Hewitt on January 26th? Or to Stroughter on February 9th?
Or, perhaps there's a third way for Breitbart to try and thread his impossible needle in his continuing successful series of hoaxes on both the American public and the mainstream corporate media. He could pull out a tortured, Clintonian reliance on what the meaning of the word "salary" is...
Breitbart Goes Clintonian
As The BRAD BLOG happened to be listening to Breitbart's interview live on AACONS as it aired, and noted his direct, impossible contradiction concerning the "fair salary" that he "technically" doesn't pay to O'Keefe, we Tweeted as much to him at the time: "@AndrewBreitbart tonight on radio: O'Keefe 'technically not on salary'; On radio 2 weeks ago: 'He's paid a fair salary.' Which is it? Liar."
His indecipherable answer came back during the show, as Stroughter was asking a question concerning MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.
"Can you ask that one more time?" an audibly shaken Breitbart replied after a short pause, just seconds after our tweet was sent, and seemingly pondering an answer. (He would refer a few minutes later to "my good friend The BRAD BLOG, who's watching the show right now.") Where the host's question had nothing to do with O'Keefe, Breitbart used his answer to both offer an impossibly Clintonian explanation for his contradiction concerning O'Keefe's salary, and then to take out some bitter anger, apparently, with a particularly ugly broadside attack on Olbermann.
"I stated, that day, I went on the Hugh Hewitt Show," Breitbart stammered nonsequitously in answer to her question, simultaneously responding to our tweet. "And the Left is so gleeful that when, when, when Hugh Hewitt asked me about my financial relationship with him, he asked me if I was getting paid --- and I, I, I, said, uh, 'well, he's getting paid a fair salary' and they, they glommed on to that term, as if it somehow, ya know, that holds me, ya know, uh, uh, accountable, that I'm paying him a salary."
"I guess technically it's not a salary," Breitbart said, before contradicting himself yet again. "But I don't even care if they call it a salary. It doesn't matter. I'm not paying him for his videos, nor am I, do I have anything to do with, uh, producing those videos."
He then launched into his not-ironic-at-all attack against Olbermann.
"And so, I, I, I have to get involved in so much misdirection, that is borne of not even an attempt to do good reporting by people, uh, Keith Olbermann who, who wanted James O'Keefe to sell me out, to put me into prison, because that's how Keith Olbermann thinks. He doesn't think in terms of 'let's tell the truth,' he thinks in --- how can I damage, uh, the people, uh, the infrastructure that's reporting all this stuff out there, and, and, and, making life miserable, uh, for us, because they're, we're putting a light on the corruption that they, uh, abide by."
For Breitbart, who has built a career avoiding the truth and damaging people, it's likely he didn't even realize the irony of attacking Olbermann for allegedly "damag[ing]...the infrastructure" of the rightwing propaganda machine, when, just minutes earlier in the show he'd described his "entire business model" as being to hold the mainstream media "in check. And if they're not going to be held in check, I don't care if it comes to it, I'm more than happy to be part of a movement that helps to destroy it as we know it."
But the irony-free tirade against Olbermann continued:
"Keith Olbermann is dysfunctional, uh, he's a psychologically tortured human being. Ask people at MSNBC that talk about what a dysfunctional piece of trash that he is, and that, that, that, we have to answer to him. Um. He is really. Uh. He's, he's as low a human being that exists in the media forum," Breitbart fairly spit. "And the poor folks at NBC tell me all the time how they can't wait until he, he exits the door, because he's just ruined the NBC brand almost single-handedly so that he can have a 185,000 viewers every night, which is like the size of a town, in a state, that I've never even heard of before."
Breitbart's Psychologically Tortured, Dysfunctional Relationship with the Truth
It's hardly the first time Breitbart has had difficulty telling the truth. Both he and O'Keefe knowingly misrepresented their now-infamous, highly-doctored, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped hit videos of ACORN employees, as published on Breitbart's website last year.
Among the many misrepresentations of those videos, apparently taped illegally in at least two different states, is the sensational, media-friendly claim that O'Keefe dressed up as a stereotypical 70's-era pimp, replete with fur cape, fedora, and walking stick, during his interviews with unsuspecting low-level ACORN workers.
He never did. Rather, O'Keefe was conservatively dressed as a young college student, or sometimes an "up-and-coming local politician," representing himself as hoping to rescue his "prostitute" girlfriend from the clutches of an abusive pimp.
Nonetheless, both O'Keefe and Breitbart deceptively used their camera-friendly, marquee "pimp" lie to brilliantly promote their scam to a gullible media, rightwingers pre-conditioned to accept any claim about ACORN after years of a concerted campaign of GOP lies about the organization, and Congressional Democrats who, themselves, seem to have little more emotional fortitude than actual prostitutes after years held captive by an abusive pimp.
Of course, for Breitbart, a man who has already revealed a notorious penchant for convenient half-truths and implausable versions of reality, such direct contradictions are hardly anything new. He has long proven himself willing to say whatever is needed to grab attention, the media spotlight, money, and the confidence of otherwise decent Americans looking to justify a very specific world-view --- whether it actually exists or not.
It goes without saying that sympathetic outlets such as Hewitt's and Stroughter's are not going to hold Breitbart accountable for his various lies and deceptions. "I'm formally on Team Breitbart," AACONS host Stroughter proudly stated near the end of her friendly interview last week.
But, sadly, despite his easily tracked record of demonstrable hypocrisy and on-the-record lies, even the ever-gullible, so-called "Liberal Media" he rails against, such as the New York Times, have so-far failed to call him out for his disingenuous propaganda schemes and various contradicting versions of the very same story.
More "drip, drip, drip" (as he would say) of Breitbart lies to come --- and more, specifically, on the New York Times' failure to hold him accountable for them.
The text transcripts for the pertinent sections of Breitbart's contradicting comments to both Stroughter and Hewitt follow below...
From African American Conservatives' February 9, 2010 Internet radio interview with Andrew Breitbart:
BREITBART: He's an independent filmmaker. He's technically not salaried. But he does get money from me to write --- for his life rights. He does his own assignments. He is a creative person. And he has, he puts his stuff on YouTube when he decides to do it, so that every single website you know, every blog, can put his original work out there. I don't hold the rights to that video. I have nothing to do with the creative process. But let's just say James O'Keefe gets arrested and he wants to issue a statement. He's gonna write those statements, he gonna blog for my sites.
And so it helps to accompany --- you know video is one thing --- but I, there is another part of the narrative, of his life, that I want him to tell on my sites.
And so, that, that's the relationship. I knew nothing about him being in, in New Orleans. He, uh, he is his own person. I'm not like a producer. I'm not like Har, ya know, Harvey Weinstein with a Michael Moore. He is, he makes his own movies.
And, and, if, if he were to put out, if he were to make a move that I disagreed with, or a video I disagreed with, I wouldn't put it up on the site. You know, just like the Huffington Post puts stuff up, puts his video up. They don't agree with him, but they want, they put it up there.
I, ya know, he's an independent. That's it's. [laugh]
STROUGHTER: Now what if he had come to you before and said that he was planning on doing this? What would your reaction, do you think, have been? Or would you have advised him one way or the other?
BREITBART: [Pause.] Uh...I don't want to be in that position. It's not what I do. And I, I like what he does. And when he's able to expose corruption of the highest order like he did on the ACORN story, I think that our relationship of doing the life rights allows for him to write about it on the site, in which I'm able to help direct him on how to get stories that the mainstream media won't want you to see out there. So, it, the, the relationship is pretty --- it, it, it works pretty well for him and it works pretty well for me, cause I want there to be more James O'Keefes who will come to me and say, 'I've got the goods but ABC, CBS and NBC don't want people to see it.'
I, well, let's figure out a way to get the maximum amount of people to get their eyeballs on this, so that they can see the stench of corruption and a government that's completely out of control and a media that's completely out of control.
[Later in the show, after we'd sent our tweet, asking about his apparent contradiction.]
BREITBART: ...I stated, that day, I went on the Hugh Hewitt Show --- and the Left is so gleeful that when, when when Hugh Hewitt asked me about my financial relationship with him, he asked me if I was getting paid --- and I, I, I, said, uh, 'well, he's getting paid a fair salary' and they, they glommed on to that term, as if it somehow, ya know, that holds me, ya know, uh, uh, accountable, that I'm paying him a salary.
I guess technically it's not a salary. But I don't even care if they call it a salary. It doesn't matter. I'm not paying him for his videos, nor am I, do I have anything to do with, uh, producing those videos.
And so, I, I, I have to get involved in so much misdirection, that is born of not even an attempt to do good reporting by people, uh, Keith Oblermann who, who wanted James O'Keefe to sell me out, to put me into prison, because that's how Keith Olbermann thinks. He doesn't think in terms of 'let's tell the truth', he thinks in --- how can I damage, uh, the people, uh, the infrastruture that's reporting all this stuff out there, and, and, and, making life miserable, uh, for us, because they're, we're putting a light on the corruption that they, uh, abide by. So, I think, uh, ya know, uh, everybody knows this. I mean, even Lefties know this, that...
BREITBART: ...that, that, uh, that, uh, that Keith Olbermann is dysfunctional, uh, he's a psychologically tortured human being. Ask people at MSNBC that talk about what a dysfunctional piece of trash that he is, and that, that, that, we have to answer him. Um. He is really. Uh. He's, he's as low a human being that exists in the media forum. And the poor folks at NBC tell me all the time how they can't wait until he, he exits the door, because he's just ruined the NBC brand almost single-handedly so that he can have 185,000 viewers every night [Stroughter laughs], which is like the size of a town, in a state, that I've never even heard of before.
From Hugh Hewitt's January 26, 2010, radio interview with Andrew Breitbart:
ANDREW BREITBART: When the story came to us, what I wanted to do was to make sure that the ACORN story got as much widespread dissemination as humanly possible. The videos that he independently produced went on YouTube. And so Huffington Post, every single site put it out there, including my sites. What he does for the site exclusively is he tells his life rights, basically. So when he puts a story out there, it's on the Brietbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired. So…
HEWITT: Do you pay him for that?
HEWITT: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?
BREITBART: I'll…perhaps at another date, but he's paid a fair salary.
HEWITT: Is he…so he is an employee?
BREITBART: I'm not sure that's technically the thing, but yes, he's paid for his life rights. And he's, you know, he's still…we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.
HEWITT: Will it be a mischaracterization to say he was working for you when he went about this?
BREITBART: Well, I mean, no. He was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com.
HEWITT: And I think that's the key thing. Lots of people work for lots of corporations, and do dumb and sometimes illegal things that are not within the scope of their employment. And this was not within the scope of his employment.
BREITBART: Yes, absolutely. That is absolutely the case.
HEWITT: Andrew Breitbart, thanks for checking in with us. I appreciate that.
For additional information on how Breitbart completely destroyed his own phony argument against ACORN at the tail end of the Hewitt interview quoted above, please see our earlier coverage: "Andrew Breitbart is a Criminal, According to Andrew Breitbart's Own GOP Operative Logic."
UPDATE 2/16/10: Eric Boehlert at Media Matters picks up on our item here, and wonders...
Question: Are Breitbart's financial backers at all concerned by his lackadaisical management style?
UPDATE 2/17/10: "Breitbart Lied About ACORN 'Pimp' Videos When Selling Story in His Own Washington Times Column". Full details...
UPDATE 2/19/10: Giles Admits O'Keefe, Breitbart ACORN 'Pimp' Story was a Lie: 'It Was B-Roll, Purely B-Roll'. Woman who posed as prostitute confirms repeated misreporting by NYTimes, many others. Full details...
UPDATE 2/21/10: "In CPAC Meltdown, Breitbart Forced to 'Apologize' for 'Apparently' Lying About ACORN 'Pimp' Story". Full details...
UPDATE 2/23/10: "Exclusive: NYTimes Public Editor Declines to Recommend Retraction for Multiple Erroneous Reports on False ACORN 'Pimp' Story" Full story, Hoyt's emails...
UPDATE 2/24/10: Hoyt responds to our on his emails and accuses The BRAD BLOG of having a "political agenda" on par with O'Keefe and Breitbart. Also, blogosphere issues blistering response, petition, call for Hoyt to step down. Full details, Hoyt's email response, right here...