On Thursday, the popular conservative site Powerline was quite clear about Andrew Breitbart and his behavior in the Sherrod fiasco. Here's what Powerline blogger Scott Johnson wrote under the crystal clear headline, “The Shafting of Shirley Sherrod” [emphasis added]:
Andrew Breitbart shouldn't have posted the video excerpts of Shirley Sherrod's speech with the comment that “the NAACP awards racism.” It was a mistake to do so. He was had.
The shafting of Shirley Sherrod came to an end within something like 24 hours. As I see it, she was owed apologies by those from whom she has received them, in addition to one from my friend Andrew, from whom she has not. She has become a celebrity and an advertisement for racial redemption.
But today Johnson has had a change of heart. Here he is with a loving post, in which he compares Breitbart to the father of modern-day conservatism William F. Buckley (I'm not making this up):
Considering his esprit as well as well as the splash of his Web sites, it seems to me that Andrew Breitbart may be the Wililam Buckley of the Internet Age -- part journalist, part showman, part conservative visionary and ideological entrepreneur. He has an instinctive understanding of the media environment that is the base of the left's cultural monopoly and he means to do his best to overthrow it.
Oh, and what about all the points Johnson had made 24 hours earlier about Breitbart's reckless handling of the Sherrod smear campaign? About the shafting of Shirley Sherrod? Here, Johnson pulls an Emily Litella -- never mind:
Yesterday I asserted that Andrew had made a mistake and owed Shirley Sherrod an apology. Whether I am right or wrong about that, I also think he is right to withhold it under the circumstances.
In a way it's comforting to see right-wing blogs retreat from their brief bout of accountability. It was kind of freaking me out watching A-list, RW bloggers momentarily come to logical conclusions about Breitbart's shoddy behavior. Apparently order has now been restored to the RW blogosphere and nobody is being held accountable for anything.