Patterson: Affleck gets caught, blows the ‘explanation’

There is a small story out about PBS covering up the truth for Ben Affleck and then getting caught that says a lot about the arrogance of our self-appointed moral superiors on the left.
It began with Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates producing an episode of the show “Finding Your Roots,” which discovered that Ben Affleck’s ancestors had been slave owners. Mr. Affleck asked Mr. Gates to delete the information, who in turn sought advice from Sony Chairman Michael Lynton. Even though several other guests had also descended from slave owners, Mr. Affleck was deemed a “megastar,” so Mr. Lynton advised taking it out and the ethical paragon from Harvard did so.
But they got busted when the North Koreans successfully hacked Sony’s e-mails and published on WikiLeaks the Lynton-Gates exchange. It’s hard not to feel a little mean-spirited glee to see the pompous caught in the act. A hundred times more people must know of Mr. Affleck’s ancestors (so what?) now than when the show aired.
But their reactions to being exposed were telling. Mr. Affleck apologized for pressuring Mr. Gates, but claimed it was no different than lobbying movie directors on which takes to use. “This is the collaborating creative process,” he explained. What a crock.
PBS for its part actually tried to claim that the e-mail exchange showed “how seriously Prof. Gates takes editorial integrity.” He was simply making an “editorial judgment to choose the most compelling narrative.” No, he just chose to wimp out with a cover up when dealing with a “megastar.”
Mr. Gates and Mr. Affleck both nurture public images of moral superiority. This isn’t the biggest deal in the world, just an embarrassing little sideshow. They would have been better off just to admit poor judgment, apologize and move on. But they couldn’t do that.
Tom Patterson
Editor’s note: Mr. Patterson writes a blog on the Independent’s website at

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