These days, it’s a rare occurrence when I write anything that’s purely my opinion. It’s “Everybody Blog About #Pigford Day”, so I figure it’s a special occasion. Besides, I was lucky enough to end up recording an interview with Lee Stranahan about Pigford, so it’s a little difficult to report on that without using the personal touch (especially since the interview didn’t broadcast yet, as of when I’m writing this.) Stranahan pointed out during that interview that I could have taken advantage of this particular little scheme. But, misuse of government benefits isn’t anything new under the sun. It’s just particularly disgusting in this case, because it literally takes livelihoods away from people that truly were discriminated against in the past, and honestly did deserve government assistance to start a farm.
Now, I have to admit that I’ve heard Stranahan several times on this topic. I admire that he’s stuck with the story after all this time, and enjoy hearing him talk about it every time. He’s a storyteller, so it’s not like listening to Obama and his teleprompter-driven campaign speeches, that must be canned by some sort of twisted flying monkeys that are kept in the bowels of the White House somewhere. No, Stranahan’s like my grandfather, who could tell the same story a thousand times, but keep folks captivated even if they’d heard it a couple hundred times. And this story is still like an onion, with new layers being revealed all the time. But, I guess you could say that’s the case with any story about government spending, since the mainstream media decided it’s not going to play watch-dog anymore.
Yes, Andrew Breitbart was a visionary. I didn’t know the man, and it’s a rare occasion when I even mention him. Sure, I’ve seen many people who seem to have placed him on a pedestal, and still others that get highly annoyed (or even hateful) with anyone that does that. I learned a long time ago that human beings in general are far too flawed to run around worshiping them (myself included), and I’m not into that sort of thing anyway. I don’t worship any deities, so why in the world would I worship people? Anyway, that doesn’t mean I don’t give credit where credit is due. And Breitbart was spot on when he encouraged people to get out there and do what the media wouldn’t do – investigate, expose, and when necessary, demand action from the powers that be. Pigford arguably should become the folktale for that, since the irony is that the government assumed Breitbart was onto this scheme before he actually was. I know Arianna Huffington likes to call herself the mother of citizen journalism, or something like that. Personally, I prefer to consider her the original power-broker that decided to take advantage of writers to get free content, but that’s a whole other story. Breitbart should be considered the Godfather of citizen journalism, because he inspired an entire generation of people to stop taking what was being fed to them by the mainstream media. He didn’t do it just to get content for his own website, either. History will truly tell this tale, but I wouldn’t be surprised if later generations end up learning about Breitbart as the man that put the investigations of hundreds of “Watergate-style” scandals in motion, just by encouraging people to dig.
After that discussion with Stranahan, I ended up talking with my co-host about how effective these “Blog about Blank” days really are. Sure, it gets a lot of attention on a specific topic for a whole day, but then what? It’s a frenetic world out there, and the masses tend to have the attention span of gnats, when it comes to news. I’ve passed over stories as “breaking”, knocking them down to just “news” if the story’s been out for just a few hours. The links I pull each day in the morning are old news by the afternoon. What keeps people on stories like Pigford?
Years ago there were two journalists that chased down the story of corruption in the Nixon administration. If anyone asked their editors what they thought about that, no doubt they would have said those two were obsessed. And that’s what keeps stories like Pigford alive today. Breitbart has been described as obsessed about the story, and at least a few others – including Stranahan – picked up that torch when he died. The thorn in Eric Holder’s side over “Fast and Furious” is Katie Pavlich, and Mary Chastain, to name two. Brett Kimberlin will not be forgotten if Robert Stacy McCain or Aaron Worthing have anything to say about it. Of course, I’m not naming all the people who keep these stories alive, and that’s another reason why they won’t disappear any time soon. Even I have one of my own little obsessions, but that one hasn’t seen the light of day – yet. So, if you can figure out what drives the folks that end up being determined to uncover every fact and secret about a certain story, you will find that special element that keeps all these stories alive long after the days we devote to them. By the way, if you do figure it out, do let me know. Bottling it would make a fortune!