The death of Andrew Breitbart — if dead he is, because it occurs to me that faking one's own death would be the ultimate prank for a prankster — strains the civilized notion that we speak no ill of the dead.
I believe in that simple decency, although Brietbart clearly did not. So in being generally critical of his life, I will stop short of calling him outright names but at the same time I won't heap praise on him. Those who do the latter, however, strike me as also offending some decent norm.
As the AP reported, Newt Gingrich tweeted: "Andrew Breitbart was the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America. He had great courage and creativity."
In praising him in these terms, Newt implicitly condones what he did. And what he did was throw away any concept of fairness .
That courage and creatively took the form of dishonestly pretending to people that he was somebody else and then taking his victims statements completely out of context with the sole purpose of damaging them.
If this was done to Newt Gingrich by a mainstream media representative, he would cry bloody murder. But for Breitbart's admirers like the ethically challenged Newt, it was all just a matter of whose ox (or donkey or elephant) was being gored.
This is what communications will have come down to when the last major newspaper goes out of business. You can say that the old guard journalists are biased and get up to their own dirty tricks — and you would be right in some cases. But those are sins that involve departing from accepted ethical standards.
But Andrew Breitbart was not a journalist. He was a propagandist and that business does not have scruples that are sometimes ignored. It has absolutely no scruples.
Welcome to the future.
This is the week when all my eccentric sports meet. Last weekend, I had the paddle tennis tournament. Last night, I had a cricket meeting (the warmer weather has the cricketers raring to go). Tonight, I start participating in a duckpin bowling tournament. I bowl again at 9 a.m. Friday and then at other odd hours through the weekend.
In order to accommodate this schedule, I am taking the luxury of another Friday off. Have a great weekend. See you Monday.