Mediaite columnist Steve Krakauer writes today about Ann Coulter's appearance on CNN's Larry King Live last night, during which Coulter commented on the prevalence of name-calling in today's political climate -- a subject she's, shall we say, uniquely qualified to discuss. As Krakauer points out, Coulter turned the subject to civil rights veteran Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and the racist slurs that were allegedly yelled at him and his Congressional Black Caucus colleagues as they walked through a group of tea party protesters, referencing Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 “ransom” for video proof that such an incident occurred.
Krakauer then offers this observation:
According to the initial CNN report on the incident by Dana Bash, she says that although no one from CNN saw it happen, Lewis himself did say he had been called the n-word. But without video, it is “Big” -sites founder Andrew Breitbart who has started a $100,000 challenge for anyone who can produce video of the word being used (he continues publicizing the challenge on Twitter). He, and Coulter, aren't saying it didn't happen - but they want proof. Maybe with King's audience someone will cash in and we can move on.
Actually, Breitbart very clearly said it didn't happen -- in fact, right from the get-go he accused John Lewis and the rest of the CBC of lying about the entire incident. From Breitbart's March 25 BigJournalism.com entry announcing his cash-for-video challenge:
That's how much the Democrats need a racist Tea Party moment. To stop it in its tracks. That's why on Saturday they used the Congressional Black Caucus to try to manufacture the false appearance of one. And when they didn't get it, they did what they always do: they lied.
Breitbart said the same thing on TV too, just in case there's any confusion on the matter.
Let's all be clear about one thing -- Andrew Breitbart isn't interested in getting to the truth of the incident. All he's interested in is smearing civil rights heroes as lying racists in order to promote himself and his own agenda. And Krakauer, in disguising Breitbart's scheming merely as a quest for “proof,” is helping him do just that.
UPDATE: Breitbart responds via Twitter, writing: “Civil Rights Legends Jump the Shark, Too, @mmfa!” I have nothing to say to this, so I'll just let you all enjoy the spectacle of Andrew Breitbart saying someone else has jumped the shark.
LATER UPDATE: Krakauer has posted a correction to his piece:
Update: Media Matters points out something I got wrong about here: Breitbart has said it didn't happen - he actually called Rep. Lewis a liar.
We appreciate him correcting the record.