The video did not seem as earthshattering as Breitbart initially claimed it to be, just weeks before the 43-year-old unexpectedly passed away at his home last Thursday
By Aliyah Shahid / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, March 8, 2012, 9:34 AM
President Obama is seen here in a video hugging Harvard professor Derrick Bell.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
So much for Andrew Breitbart's last scoop, say critics.
The video the late, conservative provocateur boasted could take down President Obama has been released — and many are saying it isn't all it was cracked up to be.
The 1991 video shows a younger Obama, then president of the Harvard Law Review, speaking at a peaceful, racial equality rally led by professor Derrick Bell.
The event was in support of Bell, who was angry over Harvard's failure to offer tenure to black professors.
Obama is seen embracing Bell, described by Pollak as the "Jeremiah Wright of academia."
Wright, the president's controversial ex-pastor, threw Obama's campaign into turmoil in 2008 when a video surfaced of Wright ripping American policies.
In the 1991 rally video, Obama is heard saying,
"Open your hearts and open your minds to the words of professor Derrick Bell."
Fox News also played footage, taped last year, in which Harvard professor and Obama ally Charles Ogletree, admits he hid the video during the 2008 election, but declares, "I don't care if they find it now."
The video did not seem as earthshattering as Breitbart initially claimed it to be, just weeks before the 43-year-old unexpectedly passed away at his home last Thursday.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, the rabble-rouser declared, "We are going to vet [Obama\] from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008."
But PBS, which aired the footage as part of a 2008 election special, noted "there's nothing new about the clip or Obama's role in the controversy at Harvard Law School."
Fox News contributor Juan Williams said on the show that he was disappointed by Breitbart's promised bombshell.
"I must say, I thought this was going to be so much more," said Williams. "I thought this was going to be a smoking gun... But it really didn't come to much."
Ben Smith of BuzzFeed — who initially posted segments of the video earlier in the day — argued on MSNBC that the video showed Obama took a side, but did "it in a way that feels very conciliatory."
But Pollak and Shapiro — who ripped Smith for posting an edited version of the video — said the fact Ogletree tried to hide the video was telling.
"This [rally\] was not about diversity, which is a noble and good cause. This is about radical ideology, racial ideology,” Pollak argued. "When Barack Obama says open your hearts and open your minds to the words of professor Derrick Bell... he's talking about some very radical things."
Pollak pointed to a controversial speech Bell made, in which he said America was still a racist country and the civil rights moment was a sham because “white supremacy remains the system.” He also cited a fictional piece Bell wrote called, “Space Traders,” where “white Americans would sell black Americans to space aliens to pay off the national debt.”
Bell, the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School, passed away from cancer at the age of 81 last year. He is credited for laying the groundwork for the controversial “critical race theory,” which argues race and power should be considered in legal scholarship.
In David Remnick’s Obama biography “The Bridge,” the author says Bell, over the course of 20 years, repeatedly threatened to quit in order to get Harvard to hire more minorities.