On Thursday evening The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell did a piece on the death of Andrew Breitbart. O'Donnell chose to focus on the positive side of Breitbart and recall a personal story where they met on the street while O'Donnell was on the way to a "liberal" party. The two, who were at odds publicly but were cordial privately, decided to attend the party together. O'Donnell reports that Breitbart stayed at the party long after he left and was engaging in a joyful conversation with a reporter who was also at odds with him publicly.
I saw a conversation on Twitter with Meredith: @jerzegrl and O'Donnell: @Lawrence discussing this. I wanted to chime in but this won't fit in a Tweet!
Meredith: All we saw of him was the "public" side. We didn't have the "pleasure" of knowing him the way you did. #Breitbart. So you'll excuse some of us if we don't buy the "Trust us he was good people" argument.
O'Donnell: I understand that. You use the info you have in making judgments about people. I wasn't trying to change minds, just sharing memories.
While I admire anyone who will choose to stay on the positive side, I feel it's also important to recognize the truth of any situation. I do believe this is what O'Donnell does on a consistent basis. However, what O'Donnell didn't say last night was that Breitbart was part of a huge problem in America. Publicly he was very negative, which helped fuel the fire to the division this country is facing. This division is a cancer slowly eating away at the core of who and what our forefathers envisioned us to be.
I have seen some posts and commentary on social media that are ugly and not necessary, calling Breitbart names and expressing elation because this man has died. This does nothing to mend what's wrong with our country either. It actually increases the divide. But I think that only reporting on a fun night these two men had at a party is not serving the country. O'Donnell holds a high and important position and has influence. It's clear to me that his job is not only to report the truth but to somehow make a difference in a positive way. I would guess this is how he sees it too.
In my humble opinion, I believe Breitbart, as well as others who spew hatred needs to be addressed on a national level by an influential personality in a way that demonstrates how this negative rhetoric is tearing us apart as a nation. This doesn't mean that someone has to speak ill of the dead, rather the truth should be spoken with dignity and at the very least, suggestions tendered on how to move forward in a positive direction.
Reporting the truth of who someone was in life is not speaking ill of the dead. By only recounting a joyful experience O'Donnell had with Breitbart, I see an opportunity missed.