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MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan: Breitbart won’t be on again without disclaimer he’s a race-baiter and liar

Like probably many of you reading this, I absolutely loathe Andrew Breitbart. Seeing him on TV turns my stomach sour the same way seeing Pamela Geller or that Koran-burning idiot with the Yosemite Sam mustache being given airtime does. Foul, hateful people. WHY do the major news outlets (non-Fox News, I mean) offer these distasteful, tacky creeps a platform to spout the lousy nonsense they KNOW IN ADVANCE they’re going to come on to these programs and puke at their viewers?

Breitbart is a KNOWN fabulist. A KNOWN practitioner of “creative editing” and outright DECEPTION. What is a guy like him doing on any supposed news channel? He’s not a serious person who has opinions worthy of respect, so why pretend that he is? He’s just a punk, like his dweeby, pimple-faced side-kick James O’Keefe.

Another person who causes me to wince when I accidentally see him on TV is anti-gay rights activist Tony Perkins, he of the respectable sounding hate group, Family Research Council. Giving an asshat like Perkins a national stage is like providing the same service for one of the most rabid witch burners in Salem, Massachusetts if there were cable news channels back in 1692. This is how history will remember a man like Perkins—if history marks him at all, which is doubtful—as an ignorant, hateful, intolerant religious extremist.

So why allow a malignant goofball like Tony Perkins the airtime and the credibility it confers upon him?

Was Noam Chomsky already booked???

CNN seems to me to be the most pathetic of all the cable newsers—grasping at straws as their ratings slide. Watching CNN recently, it would seem that a misguided management decision was made to do like a “reverse Fox News” using a lot of the same guests. Does the upper management at CNN really think that their audience (or potential audience members) want to see the same exact idiots they see on Fox News, albeit in an environment less welcoming than the joint owned by Rupert Murdoch?

Poaching some guest bookers from Fox News was hardly the innovation CNN needed to reinvent itself. Why not just have some random haters from the Free Republic boards on with Wolf Blitzer if that’s the sort of “sizzle” they seek…

And again, I ask CNN’s upper management, is the reason we don’t see America’s greatest living intellectual on your channel—but we do see an un-credentialed, perhaps deranged, rightwing racist gasbag like Pamela Geller—because Noam Chomsky is not taking your phone calls???

MSNBC is a lot better when it comes to the way they contextualize their guests, but you still have the likes of Orly Taitz appearing on the network. WHY?

Even if Chomsky is BOOKED SOLID, there are still options to Orly fucking Taitz!

But Andrew Breitbart always gets a pass on MSNBC—as does Pat Buchanan—and that always pisses me off. Just imagine how much BETTER the news would be—how much BETTER OFF AMERICA WOULD BE—if each and every time these two appeared on TV the “lower third” under their names read “Lying Fuck” or “Increasingly Senile Racist & Author.”

Some basic “truth in advertising.” Is that too much to ask of our cable news outlets? I can dream, can’t I?

Recently James Rucker, the co-founder of Color of Change waged a bit of a campaign to make sure Dylan Ratigan understood how offended he and others (raises hand) feel about seeing Andrew Brietbart on TV sans context other than his name and his URL. Not everyone knows who he is or what his greatest (s)hits as a Republican media assassin are. If they were told about just a lil’ bit of that history upfront, they’d be greatly assisted in their understanding of what they were watching and be much better equipped to properly evaluate the bullshit coming out of Brietbart’s lying pie-hole.

It’s almost like those cigarette labels with the pics of cancerous lungs. Why can’t America’s responsible journalists ALWAYS perform the same sort of service regards Mr. Brietbart and his fellow travelers?

Via Daily Kos:

As you may know, ColorOfChange members led the charge to ensure that Breitbart’s credibility and image weren’t sanitized by ABC News or the Huffington Post. After we saw Breitbart on Ratigan’s show, with Ratigan seemingly praising Breitbart as “smart” and a “sharp shooter who gets results,” we were deeply concerned.

When I spoke with Ratigan, he explained what he was trying to do. He quickly agreed that Breitbart was a race-baiter, dishonest, and undeserving of credibility—without question. And he frankly hadn’t thought about the legitimizing effect that having Breitbart on his show—without clearly labeling him as the race-baiter and deceiver he is—would have.

Ratigan’s core issue is exposing the corruptive nature of corporate dollars in politics (which I, and many ColorOfChange members would agree is a critical and important endeavor). Ratigan’s goal in interviewing Breitbart was to ask him why he chose targets like Sherrod or the NAACP, while Breitbart and the Tea Party activists he defends seems to agree that banks and corporations with undue influence over government are actually the ones destroying our country. It’s an important criticism of Breitbart. Ratigan’s goal was to keep the conversation there, and he believed that if he focused on Breitbart’s penchant for race-baiting and deception, it would simply trigger Breitbart, and he’d end up in the same conversation others have where Breitbart goes on a rampage and the conversation goes nowhere.

Moving forward, Ratigan said that if he deals with Breitbart at all in the future, it will be with the explicit disclaimer that Breibart is someone who deceives and race-baits. Ratigan recognizes and respects the argument that there’s a problem with giving Breitbart a mainstream platform, and he’s committed to making sure that his show is not used to lend Breitbart the appearance of legitimacy and credibility.

Breitbart, not surprisingly, is completely unapologetic. Can’t expect a racist to give up that white robe so quickly. However, I give Ratigan and his producers credit for being receptive to this at all… too often, these kinds of issues are raised by liberals and dismissed out of hand. I’d rather that MSNBC acknowledge that people like Breitbart (and network regular Pat Buchanan, come to that) really have no right to expect a national platform for their racism and hate. I doubt very much that Ratigan or the suits at MSNBC have any idea the message it sends to people of color. But I’ll take this incremental step gladly and keep pushing for more.

Nice work James Rucker and Color of Change! The repercussions of this victory are still to be felt for some time.

Posted by Richard Metzger
02:18 pm