Players: Big Hollywood Editor in Chief John Nolte and Big Hollywood writer Adam Baldwin; Politico Blogger Ben Smith.
Opening Serve: Politico's Ben Smith wrote an article yesterday about how Donald Trump's supposed birther-based presidential campaign "is stirring a growing backlash among prominent African-Americans, who are protective of the first black president and, in some cases, are concerned that Trump is making a coded racial appeal." Smith went on to point out that Trump's show, and personality in general, have a large black fan base, which he seems to be alienating by questioning Obama's birthplace. Smith also cited other observers who question whether Trump may be doing this on purpose to focus on getting the majority white vote if he runs.
Return Volley: Big Hollywood editor John Nolte, in response said Smith had "finally panicked and fired off the Race Card." Nolte also argued that the liberal media are engaged in a 2012 strategy to get Obama reelected by diverting attention away from him. "If 2012 is a referendum on the incumbent, he loses in a landslide," writes Nolte. "So the idea is to keep the focus on the GOP by any means necessary and the never ending hurling of the racism charge is one way to do that."
Nolte continued his rant against Smith on Twitter today, referring to a 2008 investigation Smith did into Joe the Plumber's tax history with comments such as "Hi @benpolitico What kind of lowlife 'news' outlet looks into the tax records of a PRIVATE CITIZEN who asks Obama a tuff question?" and "I keep waiting for @benpolitico to look into my tax records like they did JoeThePlumber."
The Big Hollywood editor was then backed up by Big Hollywood writer Adam Baldwin who finally elicited a response from Smith by asking, "Is there as yet any hard evidence that journalistic malpractitioner @benpolitico is not himself a racist?" Smith replied, "There was actually a pro-Obama blog devoted to proving it for a while. Cache may still be around. Good place to start."
What They Say the Fight's About: Team Breitbart is arguing that Smith, in an effort to de-legitimize Donald Trump, whom everyone already knows is "no fringe extremist," must resort to playing the race card. Smith, based on his dry, one-tweet response to the barrage of accusations against him, seems to think the argument is inaccurate and not worth legitimizing with participation.
What The Fight's Really About: No one wants to take responsibility for the birther movement. In his blog post, Nolte asserts that Smith is in cahoots with the rest of the liberal media to get Obama reelected and, in an effort to do so, is perpetuating this myth that anyone who questions Obama's nationality is a "crazy birther." Media Matters for America's Eric Boehlert suggests that Andrew Breitbart's bloggers have taken to blaming the mainstream media for the birthers rather than accept the fringe right as members of their party. "Shutting down birthers is not the job of the Beltway press," Boehlert argues. "Fact-checking them and making sure news consumers understand the facts? Absolutely. But it's not the media's job to dismantle the right-wing, birther Frankenstein creation that conservatives have cheered."
Who's Winning: Ben Smith, by limiting his participation in this spat to one, sarcastic tweet, wins this one rhetorically, at least. Nolte, on the other hand, continues his side of the fight by reacting to the Media Matters post. "Let me, guess @Eric Boehlert, you and @benpolitico partnered up on Trump race card? Is that why yer beholding so much tonight?" he asks.