Michael Gaynor
Andrew Breitbart's big journalism ridicules "conservative Catholics" in revised Hartsock hit piece
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By Michael Gaynor
March 2, 2010

Apparently Hartsock and/or Breitbart's Big Journalism at least partly realized that Hartsock's adoption of the Alinskyite ridicule strategy to respond to Ms. Eden and Doino was...ridiculous.

Catholics dispute the Alinsky premise that a good end justifies any or nearly any means. (They believed otherwise nearly two thousand years before Saul Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals).

Andrew Breitbart, a liberal turned conservative and self-described secularist who publishes Breitbart.com and Breitbart.tv and presents Big Hollywood, Big Government and Big Journalism, enthusiastically advocates the use by the Right of the tactics of the Far Left's Saul Alinsky.

In contrast, Dawn Eden and William Doino Jr. believe that people should be guided by Judeo-Christian principles [as distinct from Alinsky] and neither "progressives" nor conservatives are above the law.

Ms. Eden is the author of The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. Wikipedia: "Since the publication of The Thrill of the Chaste, Eden has spoken on chastity and related topics to college students and young adults in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Poland, and at World Youth Day 2008. She has also appeared on EWTN and on NBC's Today Show."

Doino is the author of the 183-page annotated bibliography of works on Pius XII, the Second World War and the Holocaust in the 282-page The Pius War: Responses to the critics of Pius XII. edited by Joseph Bottum and David G. Dalin, and a contributing editor for Inside the Vatican.

An Eden/Doino article titled "Tricks Are for Kids: O'Keefe arrest shows dangers of conservatives' love affair with Rules for Radicals" (February 9, 2010) "www.bustedhalo.com/features/tricks-are-for-kids" "upset Christian Hartsock by warning against Alinsky tactics and identifying his friend James O'Keefe as a conservative who looked like he was emulating Alinsky.

Eden/Doino:

"...a curious thing happened along the way of exposing the alleged Alinsky-like tactics of the modern Left: Some conservatives became Alinskyites themselves.

"Case in point: the recent arrest of James O'Keefe, who shot to fame last September after he and a female undergrad, Hannah Giles, dressed as a pimp and prostitute to secretly videotape ACORN employees who seemed eager to aid their purported illegal activities. As the 25-year-old self-described 'investigative journalist' began to make national news (in stories featuring photos and video of the barely legal Giles in her 'hooker' garb), he boasted to the New York Post that he was using Alinsky's tactics against the Left to beat them at their own game. When posting his ACORN videos on the Big Government blog, he often pointed out which of Alinsky's rules he used to make the clips."

"...upon reflection, [O'Keefe's] much-heralded exposé of ACORN should have set off warning bells for his conservative supporters. Was it really necessary to have an undergrad disguised as a scantily clad prostitute to expose the organization? Might this lurid sexual angle be a reason for the story's popularity? And did not his helping a young woman exploit herself on national television belie his supposed concern that ACORN might be enabling the exploitation of real-life prostitutes? Or was he simply following Alinsky's third rule of ethics — that 'in war the end justifies almost any means"?

The Eden/Doino article concluded: "'The human race,' Chesterton observed, 'has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.' Where that nuisance is concerned, to paraphase Alinsky's contemporary Eldridge Cleaver, one is either part of the problem or part of the solution. O'Keefe's arrest — and the misdirected activism that spawned it — is a timely reminder that, today, a full half century after the dawn of the Sixties, the most radical, countercultural work of activism is to become mature adults. Mighty oaks may yet from little ACORN pranksters grow."

On March 1, 2010, Breitbart's Big Journalism posted as a featured story a toned down revision of a polemic by Christian Hartsock on Dawn Eden and William Doino, described in the story as "conservative Catholics." It marked Hartsock's Breitbart's Big Government debut.

Here's the link to the revision, titled "Can Alinsky's Tactics Work on the Right? Should They?": http://bigjournalism.com/chartsock/2010/03/01/can-alinskys-tactics-work-on-the-right-should-they/.

Please compare it to Hartsock's original story, titled "The Garbage of Eden" (February 15, 2010) (www.renewamerica.com/columns/hartsock/100215).

Here's my commentary on the original story: "CAL-YAF Vice Chair Claims Involvement in 'Pimp and Pro' ACORN Sting, Condemns Catholic Critics" (February 19, 2010) (http://www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php id=gaynorm&date=100219).

A Big Journalism reader who takes the time to access Hartsock's biography in the Contributor section will note that Hartsock "worked with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles on the ACORN investigation videos" and realize that some of the "epidermis buffet" provided by Hannah Giles in the ACORN videos and lamented by Eden/Doino was videotaped by Hartsock.

Here's Breitbart's Big Journalism's biography of Hartsock:

"Christian Hartsock is a filmmaker, author, columnist and activist. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video Production from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara and currently produces, directs and writes films, such as the recent conservative rap music video 'Victicrat' and the short film 'Sycophant,' which he wrote and directed, as well as the award-winning feature film 'The Lives of Better Men,' which he produced. Hartsock worked with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles on the ACORN investigation videos. He has also worked with O'Keefe on forthcoming projects, contributing as a B-Roll producer.

"Christian is also Vice Chairman of California Young Americans for Freedom (CAL-YAF) and is Editor-in-Chief of PoliticalVanguard.com, the website published by California Republican Party Vice Chair Tom Del Beccaro, having written for several news and commentary outlets since high school. He was born in Oakland, California and currently resides in Los Angeles."

The revision does not refer to the original and dropped the disclosure that Hartsock and O'Keefe are friends as well as of the worst of the vile ad hominem attacks on the Catholic commentators such as calling them "pompous Pharisees in the conservative movement...who have shown up to the public flogging of James O'Keefe with their own bull whips" "to throw their ideological friends and cousins under the bus to prove their piety" and "inefective cowards who can't distinguish their friends from their foes."

As for the Eden/Doino article itself, Hartsock's original article dismissed it as "a myopic haze of self-adulating piety and condescension into a wilderness of incoherently-applied theological references, spouting off phrases...heard once in a Steubenville theology course on double effect."

Apparently Hartsock and/or Breitbart's Big Journalism at least partly realized that Hartsock's adoption of the Alinskyite ridicule strategy to respond to Ms. Eden and Doino was...ridiculous.

But Hartsock owed Ms. Eden and Doino an apology.

Instead, Hartsock toned down his attack for his Big Journalism debut and came up with a respectable title for the revision and repeated the essence of his "defense" in his original article, "Well, it worked, didn't it?", that begs the question and opined that "Eden harbors the same instincts that compelled Peter to betray Christ upon his arrest." (Hartsock did not say why he did not make the same charge against Ms. Eden's male co-author.)

But Hartsock did not drop this: "Since Eden, as a pro-lifer, would rather invest her energy in scolding James O'Keefe and Lila Rose for their employment of 'lying and deception' against Planned Parenthood as an evil means to an end than Planned Parenthood's condonements of eugenics and statutory rape — we wonder if, as a Jew, she would feel the same about those who deceptively housed Jews in their attics, lying to German interrogators during World War II."

Apples and oranges. Surreptitiously videotaping, whether legally or illegally, at ACORN offices is not equivalent to risking death to protect Jews from the Holocaust. And please don't advocate bombing abortion clinics and assassinating those who perform abortions.

Hartsock concluded, again: "To those who would rather embrace the security of pompous legalism and pusillanimous do-nothing 'activism' smugly throwing our movement's true, brave warriors under the bus for their boldness and creativity while they are already being chastised for it; to those whose contribution to the conservative movement is sitting in a safe, comfortable position while condescending to the game-changing contributions of those like James, Hannah and Lila, who have literally risked their security, lives, reputations and freedom for the movement — on behalf of said movement — thanks, but we are no longer in need of your services."

But the pro-life movement is not controlled by Hartsock or Breitbart, and Eden/Doino did NOT object to "boldness and creativity," nor to legitimate investigative journalism per se; they simply argued that high moral standards be applied. High standards, after all, are what conservatives have always stood for.

© Michael Gaynor

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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