This section of Andrew Breitbart's interview with Newsweek last week caught my eye:
If Sherrod wanted to meet with you, what would you tell her?
I’d have a long discussion with her, and I’d tell her that I’m not one of these people in this country that thinks racism doesn’t exist. And that I’m not one of these people who says that she hasn’t suffered from racism. And that the scars of her racism aren’t warranted. But I’d also tell her that my passion in life and my political trajectory from left to right was born from watching the Clarence Thomas hearings. I didn’t understand how [the] NAACP sat on its hands while privileged white gentlemen hammered him mercilessly and humiliated him and the media and the NAACP allowed for it to happen.
All respect due to Mark Halperin's great column on how the media's "downward spiral" got started, but the Clarence Thomas hearings, rather than the OJ Simpson trial, are the more likely origin point. Thomas went onto become a Supreme Court justice, but there was in fact another black person involved in those hearings whose life was seriously altered by a brand of character assassination masquerading as muckraking journalism. That, of course, was Anita Hill, and the man who smeared her, David Brock, eventually had a similarly dramatic political change of heart and went on to form Media Matters, the organization that is now the biggest thorn in Breitbart's side. Breitbart, of course, is now a disciple of the same brand of "journalism" that Brock once specialized in and is now committed to eradicating.
I think it's actually fair to say that Media Matters and Breitbart, eternal foes, can both trace their origins to the same moment. There's some weird Darth Vader/Obi Wan Kenobi stuff going on here, no matter which side you're on.
By the way, studios, I'm pitching screenplay ideas if you want to hear them...