Should the GOP distance itself from Andrew Breitbart?

The RNC may ask the controversial conservative who posted the Shirley Sherrod video to speak at a fundraiser. Smart move?

Should the RNC distance itself from Breitbart?
(Image credit: Getty)

Conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart has been widely accused of race-baiting after posting a misleadingly edited video on his website suggesting that Shirley Sherrod, a former employee at the USDA, behaved in a racist fashion. With that controversy still raging, GOP party chairman Michael Steele is reportedly planning a fundraiser featuring Breitbart. It is it wise — or even responsible — for the party to associate itself with such a divisive figure? (Watch The Week's Sunday Talk Show Briefing about the Sherrod affair)

The GOP is nuts to embrace Breitbart now: The Republican Party can't be this "shameless," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly. There could be a reasonable explanation why Breitbart is scheduled to speak at this event — maybe he was invited before the scandalous "hatchet job" that got Sherrod fired. But to go ahead as planned, and hand the floor at a GOP fundraiser to a proven race-baiter, "would be crazy, even for the RNC."

"Still a Republican in good standing?"

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Breitbart isn't the ogre liberals say he is: Andrew Breitbart is a friend, says Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times, and he says he wasn't responsible for how the video was edited. Liberals insist Breitbart is a "barbarian" in the sacred temples of journalism, and they long for a return to the days of Walter Cronkite — but that's just because in the good old days journalists like Cronkite always gave the news a liberal spin. We're all better off with gadflies like Breitbart challenging the "old ideological media monopoly."

"The new journalism"

Republicans must decide whether they're with Breitbart or against him: It's certainly understandable that the GOP would stand by Andrew Breitbart, says Julie Millican at Media Matters, given how "the right-wing has turned this into the Summer of Race-Baiting." But wasn't GOP House leader John Boehner publicly criticizing Breitbart's "unfortunate behavior" just last week? It would be nice if the party would be straight with us, and decide whether it endorses Breitbart's techniques or opposes them.

"Breitbart, Steele fundraising together"

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