Last week, the Boston Phoenix published a fabulous long read on Nadia Naffe, James O'Keefe, and the slimy underbelly of conservative "journalism." I use that term guardedly and with a large grain of salt.
We've told pieces of Nadia's story here, here and here, but reporter Chris Faraone dug deep into the ugly that is conservative media and dredged a lot more sludge up to the surface. I highly recommend taking a few minutes and reading the whole thing.
Nadia's story is bad enough, but it isn't unique. Conservative media, particularly online, is nothing more than an organized and well-funded smear machine, and they don't care who they hit as long as they're viewed as an "enemy."
The best piece of journalism I've read in the last couple of weeks — and certainly the most perversely fascinating — came from Chris Faraone in the slickly rejiggered Boston Phoenix. It was the story of Nadia Naffe, a woman who signed up into James O'Keefe's ratfking empire only to find herself the eventual target of said ratfking. Faraone's piece is long, but you should read it all, as the kidz say, not just because Faraone is a terrific storyteller, which he is, but also because his story dropped just as the insular universe of rightwing faux-journalism seems to be imploding to all points of the compass.
(Faraone's story on Naffe appears to be a chunk of an upcoming book. His earlier effort, 99 Nights With The 99 Percent, a collection of his insider reporting on the Occupy movement, is also required reading. I know, I know. You were told there wouldn't be homework.)
First, there was the embarrassing revelation that a host of rightwing bloggers — and one from the port side, Jerome Armstrong — were on the fiddle with the Malaysian government to the tune of almost 400 large. (One of them, Ben Domenech, was a recidivist embarrassment, having previously lost a sweet gig with the endlessly credulous Washington Post because he was a proven thief of other people's work.) Then, last night, it was revealed that Tucker Carlson's vanity project, The Daily Caller, appears to have been caught trying to sucker its audience regarding the tale of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez's patronizing of prostitutes. (TDC is standing by its reporting for the moment, although its explanation is rather heavy with the squid ink.) This is hardly the way you want to celebrate Holy Week commemorating The Passion Of Andrew Breitbart. On the other hand, maybe it is.
Oh, it definitely is. This is Andrew Breitbart in all his glory, living and dead. Unafraid to pursue even the lowliest of the low if he considered you a "lib". Unafraid to send his bot army out after anyone who challenged him and one who recruited a cadre of associates near who would gladly engage private investigators not to actually investigate, but to discredit those who opposed him.
As I write, Breitbart's minions are engaging in an orchestrated lawfare campaign against a relatively unknown podcaster and blogger because well, they can. And because they're all vying for the dubious honor of becoming Breitbart's standard-bearer in the future.
Meanwhile, over at the Foster Freiss-funded Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson's minions are madly scurrying around trying to find some excuse for ratfking Senator Bob Menendez just before the November election. The new spin is that the Washington Post mixed up their hookers. Never mind that three hookers made nearly identical claims with nearly identical language, and the Daily Caller video certainly appears as though their hooker is reading a script. No, what's important here is that only one hooker has said she was paid to lie, not all three.
This is your self-immolating conservative media. Mitt Romney thinks Obamacare is what did him in, but what really did it was his staff's insistence that they had to hew to right-wing conservative bloggers' memes as the foundation for their platform. In the process, they alienated many, many people whose politics are not extreme, minorities, women, and just about everyone who isn't an old bigoted white dude with a gun. Had Romney and the Republicans been paying attention to anything other than the wingers online, they might have actually figured out that America just isn't all that into TeaBirchers.
Somewhere out in Spiritville, Lee Atwater's ghost is either laughing or cringing. Either that, or he's having a cold drink in the ninth circle of hell with Andrew Breitbart. With CPAC on the way, look for more good times and the crowning of their new ascendant ratfker to the throne.
Update: Wonkette is reporting that James O'Keefe settled with one of the ACORN workers he screwed out of a job for $100,000.
There are more juicy details in their article too, like how O'Keefe is using Richard Viguerie's direct mail operation to bilk little old ladies out of money to fund his schemes.