Illinois Republican Clings To Breitbart, Invokes Apartheid Martyr

July 26, 2010 4:46 pm ET — Media Matters Action Network

In a post today on Andrew Breitbart's, Republican congressional candidate Joel Pollak responded to opponent Rep. Jan Schakowksy's (D-IL) call for him to stop writing for Breitbart's site by likening himself to South African anti-Apartheid martyr Stephen Biko.

Not content with invoking the infamous brutality of Apartheid, Pollak says that Schakowsky is coming after his free speech rights:

My family immigrated to America in the same year that South African police murdered Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko. The racist regime that destroyed him viewed him as a threat because of his simple credo: "I write what I like." Biko understood that freedom of thought and expression were the greatest weapons against tyranny.

Last week, my opponent, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), called on me to denounce Andrew Breitbart and to end any further association with his website,

Her attack was typical of a corrupt Washington elite that believes it is entitled to tell people what to say and where to say it...

The First Amendment is not a perk for members of Congress and their spouses.

It is clever politicking to paint Schakowsky's statement as 'Washington telling people what to say and where' — you can almost hear the sound of trudging jackboots — because it lets Pollak ignore the events at the core of Schakowsky's request.

Andrew Breitbart used a doctored video clip of Shirley Sherrod to smear an Obama appointee as a radical racist. Pollak blogs on Breitbart's site and thus receives public attention that supplements his campaigning. Pollak sees nothing wrong with that association, but when he is asked to renounce the man who hustled the country with a fake scandal he compares himself to a heroic freedom-fighter who was killed by actual tyrants.

Joel Pollak, a South African born, Harvard-educated Republican candidate for Congress, is so oppressed that he became famous for arguing with his government in public. Steve Biko ("probably the most influential young black leader in South Africa") was killed in police custody because he struggled mightily against the apartheid regime that had violently oppressed his people since before his birth.

Other than their birthplace, these two men are in no way alike.

Blogging is not Apartheid.  Illinois is not South Africa. And Pollak is not Biko.