Andrew Breitbart isn’t really what I’d call a blogger and he’s certainly not anonymous. He does like to lie about things, including with deliberately misleading videos. One particularly misleading video targeted a woman named Shirley Sherrod, created a firestorm on cable news, and led to her wrongful termination from a job at the United States Department of Agriculture. Naturally, the stars at CNN think the moral here is that bloggers should be sent to jail:
“There are so many great things that the internet does and has to offer, but at the same time, Kyra, as you know, there is this dark side,” Roberts said. “Imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said.”
But Phillips replied that the mainstream media “can’t always do that.”
“There’s going to have be a point in time where these people have to be held accountable,” Phillips said. “How about all these bloggers that blog anonymously? They say rotten things about people and they’re actually given credibility, which is crazy. They’re a bunch of cowards, they’re just people seeking attention.”
The whole reason you might think anonymous bloggers would be a problem is that they could make stuff up and nobody would know who they were in order to sanction them. In this case, though, there’s nothing anonymous about Andrew Breitbart so this problem shouldn’t exist. Except instead of sanctioning Andrew Breitbart, a specific individual with a specific name, and the other specific institutions (who employ specific individuals with names) CNN’s team is lashing out vaguely at “the internet” and “anonymous bloggers.” The issue here, however, is primarily Andrew Breitbart. To a secondary extent, it’s Fox News and conservative talk radio. And to a broader extent it’s a conservative movement that continues to celebrate Breitbart and Fox News despite their legacy of inaccuracy and race-baiting. Anonymous bloggers have nothing to do with anything.