After Breitbart.com broke the story of Barack Obama’s embrace – physically and intellectually – of “Critical Race Theory” crackpot Professor Derrick Bell, editor-in-chief Joel Pollak appeared in a remarkable interview on CNN.
The whole thing is hilarious – you will never see a more clear-cut example of panicked liberals with no idea of what to say. One of them, Jay Thomas, couldn’t think of anything better than witlessly suggesting that Pollak must be “frightened that black people are gonna do something to you.”
Ah, racism. It’s pretty much the only kind of argument the Left has. Merely quoting what people of color actually said is now “racist.” As it happens, one of the most noteworthy things a black person has done to Joel Pollak is marry him.
The really amazing part comes early, when host Soledad O’Brien tries to jump down Pollak’s throat and dismiss his description of Critical Race Theory. When Pollak politely asks her what she thinks it means, the result can best be described as a short-circuit. By the end, she’s not even really “speaking” any more. She’s just babbling random phrases like “academic theory” and “intersection,” and she appears to be in physical pain.
The beginning of her brain lock is a line that should go down in the annals of journalistic malpractice: “I’m going to ask you to continue on. I’m just going to point out that that is inaccurate. Keep going.” That’s a perfect distillation of the arrogant ignorance that colors the media’s desperate protection of liberal sacraments, and Barack Obama in particular. At no point does she come within a thousand miles of successfully challenging anything Pollak has said.
Nothing that O’Brien later complained about “someone talking in my ear, so I couldn’t hear what you said” while Pollak was mopping her up, blogger Pinecone at Rebelpundit did a little detective work. He decided to Google “critical race theory,” and discovered the first response is its Wikipedia entry. The first line of the Wikipedia text appears in the Google search result, and reads as follows: “Critical Race Theory (CRT) is an academic discipline focused upon the intersection of race, law, and power.”
So, it seems likely that O’Brien’s bizarre performance was a clueless TV talking head growing confused, as terrified behind-the-scenes aides realized she just challenged an informed, determined guest on a topic she does not understand at all. They hastily Googled the term and started reading the Wikipedia entry into her earpiece. Since Joel Pollak does understand what Critical Race Theory means, it didn’t get her very far.
To add to the black comedy of the incident, when liberals realized O’Brien had been caught parroting lines from Wikipedia, they launched a desperate editing war to re-write the Wikipedia entry so it matched what O’Brien was trying to say. Pinecone provides an after-action report:
Throughout the day, there have been numerous edits to the wikipedia entry for “Critical Race Theory,” including the elimination of “white supremacy” as a key element (an element referenced by Joel Pollak during his interview with Soledad O’Brien and the existence of which O’Brien scoffed at throughout their conversation). At the time of this update, there had been 26 changes today alone; up until today, the last edit had been mid-February, and before that, just one in January.
But wait, it gets even funnier. Jim Treacher of the Daily Caller dug up some Twitter messages from O’Brien’s account, right after Professor Bell passed away in October 2011, and discovered she claimed to be a fan of his work. She even said she was going to re-read one of his books to honor his passing. It’s interesting that she didn’t make viewers aware of this during her encounter with Pollak, isn’t it?
And yet, it’s painfully clear from her disastrous encounter with Pollak that O’Brien doesn’t understand the first thing about what Bell wrote and believed in. If she understood his work, but was aggressively seeking to sanitize it, she wouldn’t have needed CNN aides screaming lines from Wikipedia into her ear, and she could have obfuscated more effectively. It still wouldn’t have worked, as Pollak came prepared to cite the man chapter and verse, but she wouldn’t have looked like a self-destructing robot that just lost an argument with Captain James T. Kirk.
This is what talking-head journalism is all about: uninformed actors and actresses reading lines fed to them by spin doctors. This is why public trust in the mainstream media is at an all-time low.
Update: I’m told that some other bloggers and Twitter users were instrumental in digging up Soledad O’Brien’s Tweets of affection for the work of Derrick Bell, with special credit due to the online spade work of @Mermaz on Twitter. For more details, take a look at this thread on Michelle Malkin’s excellent new Twitchy website: http://twitchy.com/2012/03/08/mermaz-digs-up-soledad-obriens-derrick-bell-love/
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter