KRASSNER: Wouldn’t you apply that standard to Rush Limbaugh when he made fun of Michael J. Fox?
BREITBART: No, I wouldn’t. Rush was making a political point.
KRASSNER: Which was?
BREITBART: From what I recall, and I think it was proved to be true, he chose not to take the medicines that calm his symptoms of Parkinson’s so that when he did his ad, he was shaking more than he ordinarily would in order to rev up the volume of the issue, to pour oil on the fire over the issue of stem cells—to create the perception that if you are for stem cell research, you’re for stopping this shaking. That was my perception of it. Accusing Hollywood and liberals of using emotionalism to push an intellectual argument is incredibly fair game.
KRASSNER: I understand that the epiphany that caused you to make a political right turn occurred while you were watching the hearings about Clarence Thomas’s nomination to the Supreme Court. You were genuinely convinced that the treatment of him was racist. I thought he was lying when he testified under oath that he had never discussed the subject of abortion, because in response to a question by Senator Hank Brown, Anita Hill testified that she had disagreed with Thomas in a discussion about Roe v. Wade. But then-senator Joe Biden quickly interrupted her, saying, “That is not the subject of these hearings.”
BREITBART: I was upset because it was clear the left and the Democrat media complex—that’s my description for the natural alliance of the Democratic Party, liberal interest groups and the mainstream media—chose to put on a show trial by accusing Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and then had absolutely nothing to back it up. The pretense of this show trial was clearly abortion rights, but they were willing to embarrass him as much as possible, and the mainstream media allowed this to go on without challenge. He’s sitting there and they’re asking him whether or not he’s rented pornography starring Long Dong Silver, and the point is? The point is, I guess, to make this conservative look like he’s a hypocrite because he enjoys sex. But if the whole point of Roe v. Wade is a right to privacy, these people invaded his privacy and publicly embarrassed him by flaunting what they found out about his private life. I found it to be utterly hypocritical. To watch cads and manslaughter and human sexual harassment machinery like Ted Kennedy sitting in judgment of him was beyond the pale. And one year later, to watch the same crowd that had i believe anita bumper stickers, that had said the threshold for sexual harassment is so low that if you mention you see a pubic hair on a Coke can it’s sexual harassment—for those same people, the same Democratic Party, the same Democrat media complex to anoint Bill Clinton as their standard-bearer, I couldn’t take the hypocrisy. I was writhing in pain. It didn’t mean I immediately went to the supermarket and signed up to become a Republican. I just started to challenge the media narrative that was being handed to me, because I saw how disingenuous that complex was.
KRASSNER: As a Supreme Court Justice, Thomas has declared that the Constitution gives states a right to establish an official religion, that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by guards, that a school official is allowed to strip-search a 13-year-old girl to look for two extra-strength ibuprofen pills, that a key part of the Voting Rights Act giving blacks political power in the South should be struck down, that an American citizen could be held as an enemy combatant with no charges and no hearing. He announced a decision that threw out a verdict in favor of a black man who had been convicted of murder and nearly executed because prosecutors hid evidence that could have proved his innocence.
BREITBART: I don’t know the answers to these things. If you had given me this detailed information, I could have come back with my detailed response. This is like the Sarah Palin “gotcha” question on Paul Revere. I’m not able to answer this because you are coming to me armed with data, and I don’t have the ability to see whether there is a rational argument to defend it or not.
KRASSNER: Well, it’s all a matter of record. Recently a campaign-finance watchdog, Protect Our Elections, asked the FBI to investigate Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia, seeking his disbarment. It alleges that he falsified his financial disclosure forms, that he engaged in judicial corruption by receiving $100,000 from Citizens United during his nomination and then in 2010 ruled in favor of Citizens United without disclosing that fact or disqualifying himself, and that he engaged in judicial insider trading to enrich his wife by providing her with information about that decision prior to its issuance, which she then used to launch a new company to take advantage of that decision.
BREITBART: Do you believe in innocent until proven guilty?
KRASSNER: Do I believe in that? Yes. [chuckles] Okay, you know that Eliot Spitzer was nailed for spritzing around with a call girl in the same Washington, D.C. hotel room where he had just written an opinion piece for The Washington Post about the subprime loan disaster. He wrote, “Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which the federal government was turning a blind eye…. When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners, the Bush administration will not be judged favorably.” In fact, the reason Spitzer had flown to Washington was to launch a campaign to attack the Bush cabal and the arrogant corporations that empower them. There was speculation that this was the real motivation for Spitzer’s arrest. And then blogger Joy Reid wrote a few months ago that Clarence Thomas “has never been held to account by the Justice Department, Congress or the media for 20 years of false financial-disclosure forms related to his wife’s six-figure salary from a Tea Party organization dedicated to undoing health care reform, an issue Thomas will almost certainly be called upon to rule on…. But what’s interesting about the media’s latest obsession [Anthony Weiner] is Breitbart’s timing. This is a guy who understands news cycles and how to manipulate them, hence his veritable role as CNN’s assignment editor, replacing Matt Drudge. Did the timing of the [Anthony Weiner] ‘scandal pic’ release have something to do with Breitbart’s obsession with protecting Clarence Thomas?”
BREITBART: Who is alleging that I timed Congressman Weiner’s publicly tweeting his junk? He is the one who instigated it by his behavior on Friday night, May 27. It’s such an illogical question that it speaks to a fevered conspiratorial mind-set that I think dominates the left. Nobody, including Weiner, contests that he tweeted that thing on Friday night. How could I have preordained or have had preknowledge that that would occur? It goes beyond being illogical; it’s wishful thinking.
KRASSNER: But you have to admit it was great timing.
BREITBART: Did it time with Congressman Weiner attacking Clarence Thomas? Yes, it did. That would be called a coincidence, and there’s no logical or metaphysical way to make the argument that I was able to convince him to mis-tweet a picture of his erect penis to a woman in Seattle with whom he’d had online communications.
KRASSNER: Since you pressured Anthony Weiner into publicly apologizing to you for pretending you’d hacked his Twitter site, I would think that, conversely, you owe an apology to Shirley Sherrod. You publicized, out of context, a two-and-a-half-minute clip of her talk before the NAACP in which she told about the time 24 years ago when she didn’t help a farmer as much as she could have because he was white, which resulted in a scared administration hurriedly forcing her to resign as the Georgia director of rural development. But you insist that she wasn’t your target, that the NAACP was, for applauding what she’d said. Well, I’ve watched the entire 43-minute speech, and they did not applaud.
BREITBART: They nodded and they murmured.
KRASSNER: They nodded and they murmured?
BREITBART: Yes. Look, if you heard somebody give that speech to a white audience, talking about how they’d stuck it to a black farmer, and the audience was going along with it and audibly applauding—and by applauding I mean affirming the narrative. When she was talking about how “I took him to one of his own” and “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do,” they were like, “Uh-huh,” just like it was church. They were nodding in agreement. The whole point of this was, the week before, Ben Jealous of the NAACP was going on ABC, CBS and NBC to defame and defile the Tea Party, claiming it was racist based on the false narrative that the N-word had been hurled at congressmen André Carson and John Lewis. And I had proof, not just through the $100,000 reward that went unmet. Nobody came to me with any evidence that it had been said once, in a group of 400 people. There was no audio or video that showed it had happened even once, let alone 15 times. I was also able to produce four videos from the exact moment the incident allegedly occurred, and they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the incident didn’t happen, that it was made up. Yet Ben Jealous of the NAACP resurrected that falsehood as a means to propagandize against the Tea Party, to politically destroy it, to try to make it appear to be racist when it is not racist. So the Thursday before the Monday when the two videos and the 1,400-word article came out, I said, “Ben Jealous, you can go to hell. You’re trying to split this country on the schism of race. How dare you?” I said, “I have evidence that shows your group acting in a racist manner.” And I stand by that. If the NAACP gets to go on ABC, CBS and NBC and falsely claim that the Tea Party is racist but doesn’t have any audio or video evidence and is able to propagate a provable falsehood, I said, “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” So when you have a video of an NAACP-sanctioned event at which Shirley Sherrod is getting nods and then murmurs of approval, it is far greater evidence of the NAACP acting racist than anything the left and the NAACP have been able to collect of the Tea Party behaving racist. And my point stands—those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
KRASSNER: But getting back to Sherrod’s speech, after making her point that it wasn’t about black and white, it was about haves and have-nots, that she had overcome her own racial prejudice stemming from the fact that when she was 17 her father had been killed by a white man, later in the video she says, “What we have to do is get that out of our heads. There is no difference between us. The only difference is that the folks with money want to stay in power, and…whatever it is, they’ll do what they need to do to keep that power.” And that’s when they did applaud.
BREITBART: But they had reacted in a positive fashion that caused the NAACP to acknowledge it and say it was going to investigate the audience’s behavior at the point in the actual speech that I had pointed out. On day one, Sherrod blamed the NAACP. She said it had gotten into a battle with the Tea Party, and the NAACP said it was going to investigate the audience for its behavior. I had hit the target perfectly and shut up the NAACP. It could no longer go on ABC, CBS or NBC, because it had been exposed. But when Sherrod said to the administration, “But I helped the white farmer,” they still stood by the firing. If that is such an important crux, that she was allegedly fired because she discriminated against a white farmer, why is it that they stood by the firing even after she said she’d helped the white farmer? The two-and-a-half-minute video includes the redemptive part of the narrative. Who is my number one defender on that, not once but twice? Chris Matthews on MSNBC, a guy who does not agree with me on anything, said to Joan Walsh and Howard Dean, “I’ve looked at the video. Breitbart included the part where she talks about ‘It’s not about black versus white, it’s about rich versus poor.’ ” In addition, my 1,400-word piece, which everybody ignored, mentions the NAACP 17 times and Sherrod four times. It says, “Eventually her basic humanity informs her to help the white farmer.” The redemptive part that you just talked about is included in the video. Chris Matthews defends me on that critical point.
KRASSNER: Just to balance Chris Matthews, ironically Glenn Beck discredited you on Fox News and said you needed to apologize. You responded, and this is the quote: “Next thing I know, I’m under complete attack without the support of Glenn Beck, who I thought was somebody I could count on. He threw me under the bus.” And it wasn’t the Merry Pranksters’ bus. Maybe Beck should apologize to you.
BREITBART: I agree with that. I was able to find out why Beck threw me under the bus. He had used so much of my content to build up his name, and why was he throwing me under the bus? Well, it’s pretty interesting, because the president’s team fired Sherrod too quickly, without due process, because they were fearful it was going to be on the Glenn Beck show. So when Beck went on TV to talk about it for the first time, he took the stance “I didn’t touch this because I knew there was something wrong with the video. I saw the video in my office, and I knew something critical was missing, so I didn’t go with it.” Well, wondering why he would state that given what Chris Matthews had to say on the issue, we found out later that he didn’t do it on the TV show, but he did do it earlier in the morning on his radio show, before more information started to come out that granted greater context. He was the one who cut the two-and-a-half-minute video into 15-second clips that isolated and eviscerated Sherrod and removed the NAACP angle entirely. So he screwed the pooch on his radio show, then found out that she had been fired based on the administration’s fear that it would be on the Glenn Beck show, so he went on his TV show and pretended he had not touched it on his radio show. He was doing damage control for Glenn Beck’s brand, period.
KRASSNER: I’ve said that “truth is perceived through the filter of an agenda,” and you’ve said that “truth has no agenda.” I’d like to apply our slogans to the ACORN scandal that you produced, which, because it was believed, resulted in Congress defunding the agency. But a Congressional Research Service report commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee says that ACORN didn’t violate any federal regulations in the past five years, that there were no instances of individuals who had been improperly registered to vote by ACORN employees, that the undercover video makers who allegedly caught ACORN employees breaking the law may themselves have violated state law in their filming operation. The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles Hynes, announced that his office had found no criminal wrongdoing by ACORN. Another law enforcement source said that James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles had edited the tape to meet their agenda. Former Massachusetts attorney general Scott Harshbarger’s report states, “The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voice-over for significant portions of Mr. O’Keefe’s and Ms. Giles’s comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.” And California’s then attorney general, Jerry Brown, said, “The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting-room floor.” O’Keefe admitted he was out to make a point and to damage ACORN. In the sensational San Diego video that featured Giles discussing prostitution by underage girls 13 to 15, human trafficking from Mexico and cheating on taxes in the U.S., the ACORN worker acted as if he would help them. But when they left, he immediately called the police with the misinformation he had solicited from this couple of propagandists. And so the question is, did you ever share the fact that he called the police with your readers?
BREITBART: There’s so much propaganda in that collection of data that I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll start at the beginning. When Hannah and James came to me with their edited video—which is what all news services do; they take raw footage and create a narrative that allows the story to be told so one doesn’t have to watch hours and hours of footage—I said, “Even though ABC, CBS and NBC truncate time and selectively edit video and we just trust implicitly that they’re telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth and not manipulating the narrative, you’re going to be held to a higher standard, not just by the public but by the mainstream media, which is going to challenge you by virtue of your avowed conservative politics.” So when they came to me with those videos, I said, “If I’m going to help you get this story out, I’m going to ask that we simultaneously release the full transcripts and the full audio so nobody will be able to claim that words were put into these people’s mouths and that the context of your edited videos makes it perfectly clear that you did not manipulate the situation.” For you to cite Scott Harshbarger as a resource when John Podesta and Andy Stern of SEIU were the ones who hired Harshbarger to allegedly investigate ACORN’s behavior on the case.… I said immediately, “You’re going to tell me that John Podesta’s going to investigate ACORN? They’re going to investigate James, Hannah and me and come up with an ‘independent investigation’ to place us on the defensive.” And that’s precisely what they did by looking at the selectively edited videos. And to come up with sound bites such as “selectively edited” doesn’t mean anything, because we provided the full content for everyone to see from day one. Congress voted to defund ACORN because those who looked at the full tapes and the full transcripts saw there was no explanation other than absolute insanity that so many people in so many offices would offer service with a smile when a pimp and a prostitute walked through the door stating that they wanted to create an underage-sex-slave operation. Political hacks like Scott Harshbarger and Jerry Brown are apparatchiks whose careers are dependent on organizations like ACORN. I would think that your skepticism of government and government officials would cause you to go, “Wait a second. Let’s look at the full tapes.” I have said to Harshbarger, Brown, Podesta, Stern and Media Matters, “Let’s sit down once and for all and watch, in front of an auditorium of people, for all the world to see—we’ll film it—the full, unedited videos. And at the very end, you’re going to tell me that the selective editing changed anything?” It’s laughable garbage, and I am willing to put my name and my reputation on all of those ACORN videos.
KRASSNER: Okay, Andrew, thanks very much for this.
BREITBART: I thought it would be funnier.