Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has a sample of the comments by readers of Andrew Breitbart’s over-the-top reporting on President Obama’s speech to the Congressional Black Caucus.
These comments are just from a quick skim through the first few pages. And keep in mind that these dozens and dozens of vile, openly racist remarks are right next to complaints that they’re being unjustly accused of racism.
This goes to the larger point that the GOP/Tea Party is attracting a motley collection of followers. We’ve already had people applauding the death penalty and letting people without healthcare die, and booing a gay soldier at the Republican debates, so this kind of overt racism isn’t really a surprise. A casual glance at the comment stream of just about any right wing blog will offer hard proof that comments like what Mr. Breitbart got are neither out of the norm, nor are they chastised, banned, or deleted.
Mr. Breibart’s response is to take great umbrage at the charges of racism: of course he’s not a racist — how could you think such a thing? — and besides, he’s not responsible for the people who come into his blog and leave comments any more than the GOP is responsible for the audience that comes to their debates or the gun-toters who show up at Tea Party rallies with signs showing President Obama dressed up like a witch doctor.
Bullshit. If you bait the trap with a certain kind of red meat, you’re going to draw the flies you want. Neither the GOP or people like Mr. Breitbart would be getting this kind of viewer or reader if they were not trying to attract the attention of the low-wattage and racist elements of their party. They know that that’s both where the money is and where they’re going to get the most attention: shock sells.
America has always had a vile racist streak to it — look at how we treated the natives when we got here — and we always will. That, along with our infantile devotion to puritanical religious tenets regarding women and gays and our amazing ability to turn anything at all into a chance to make a buck, is part of who we are. To paraphrase Edward R. Murrow, the Republicans and Andrew Breitbart didn’t invent these people, they merely exploited them, and will continue to do so until they either can’t get any more use out of them or they decide that even they are too disgusting to be around. My guess is that it will be the former rather than the latter.