Bronze-level articleAndrew Breitbart

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I dunno how I died. Do you know how I died? You probably don't know how I died.

Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012) was a right-wing media critic, webmaster and "Internet entrepreneur."[1] He was the founder of the "Big X" sites, currently comprising Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Peace. Breitbart had a reputation for self-aggrandizement and making grandiose, incoherent proclamations. He was particularly fond of using misleading information to denigrate his political opponents. Very shortly after his death (mere hours after the news broke), bizarre conspiracy theories began circulating that Breitbart was murdered after finding "something" on Barack Obama rather than dying of natural causes.[2][3]

Contents

[edit] Background

Breitbart got his start working for Matt Drudge, performing tech support for the Drudge Report website. He ran his own site on the side, a site he bolstered by repeatedly linking to it through the Drudge Report. In fact, between 2002 and 2008, breitbart.com received more links through Drudge than any other site - a whopping 14.45% of all links.[4] He was also a periodic contributor to the Washington Times and did early work helping Arianna Huffington launch The Huffington Post.

In the early years, Breitbart fancied himself a media critic, focusing on Hollywood. He was deeply concerned with the plight of the conservative entertainer, likening them to persecuted minorities and claiming that the studios actively blacklist them.[5][6] He even wrote a book on the subject - Hollywood, Interrupted.

[edit] Big Hollywood

In January 2009, Breitbart stepped up to the Big Leagues with the launch of Big Hollywood, his new website. According to the master:

Big Hollywood is not a "celebrity" gabfest or a gossip outpost - it is a continuous politics and culture posting board for those who think something has gone drastically wrong and that Hollywood should return to its patriotic roots.[7]

The early days of Big Hollywood were unimpressive. At the very least, Breitbart was at least right about one thing - his site was not a gossip outpost. Unfortunately, that's because the content in general was rather thin. Much of the early content was reprints of old columns that were vaguely on topic. The regular writers were a mix of Hollywood D-listers and wannabees who felt that their lack of success was due to politics and bloggers hoping to gain greater visibility. Among the regulars:

[edit] Other websites

Breitbart, being a true visionary, was not content to create one horrible group blog. His ultimate goal was to create an entire line of horrible group blogs covering every conceivable subject. First out of the gate was Big Government, opened in September 2009. This was followed (with far less fanfare than the first two) by Big Journalism in January 2010. The fourth site, Big Peace, rolled out on July 4th, 2010. He had many more blogs planned, including Big Education, Big Tolerance and Big Jerusalem.[9]

[edit] Breitbart and ACORN

Breitbart's one big success was his promotion of James O'Keefe's gotcha videos of ACORN. First introduced on Big Government, this was a major boost to Breitbart's profile, and likely added to his inflated sense of importance.

From that point on, ACORN was a major target for Breitbart and Co. In a statement from December 2009, Breitbart said the following:

ACORN is a corrupt and criminal organization, and anyone with open eyes can see this. Yet SEIU’s Andy Stern and left wing puppetmaster John Podesta, of the Soros-funded radical leftist think-tank, the Center for American Progress, chose to architect a whitewashed ‘internal investigation’ by a Democrat Party hack from Massachusetts, and have put immense efforts into launching a two-pronged propaganda campaign and legal assault against the filmmakers of the ‘pimp and prostitute’ exposé and the story’s publisher. BigGovernment.com continues to expose ACORN’s illegal activity and has helped to illuminate how corrupt organizations like ACORN, SEIU and HCAN are coordinating the efforts to shove radical health care reform down an unwilling majority of Americans throats.[10]

Breitbart was on a mission, and with his wunderkind in tow, there was no stopping him.

[edit] Collapse

Of course, a lot can change when said wunderkind gets caught trying to tamper with the phone lines in a Senator's office. At first, Breitbart and his people tried to distance themselves from O'Keefe:

In the past, Breitbart has said O’Keefe—now a paid contributor to biggovernment.com—is an independent contractor not an employee.[11]

By February, Breitbart had moved beyond simple denial, claiming that "Watergate Jr. imploded."[12]

In late September 2010, following a failed attempt by O'Keefe to embarrass CNN,[13] Breitbart not only completely dissociated himself from O'Keefe, he claimed that he had never been connected to O'Keefe.[14] Ultimately realizing how transparent this was, he released the following statement on October 1st:

I proudly stood behind James O’Keefe on his groundbreaking ACORN investigation. I also defended him when the media, including CNN — during a previous regime, “the Rick Sanchez era” – falsely reported the Sen. Mary Landrieu story as a “wiretapping” plot gone wrong.

In all these cases the left-leaning media exposed its obvious bias against James because of his contrarian point of view and because the targets of his investigations are protected institutions of the Democrat Media.

However, in my dealings with Ms. Boudreau, she and her producer, Scott Zamost, conducted themselves professionally, and I believe James owes them a candid and public explanation.

From what I’ve read about this script, though not executed, it is patently gross and offensive. It’s not his detractors to whom he also owes this public airing. It’s to his legion of supporters[15]

[edit] Breitbart's second attack

In June 2010, Breitbart posted clips from the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner which allegedly proved that USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development Shirley Sherrod was a racist. Per the post, Brown supposedly admitted to "racially discriminat[ing] against a white farmer." The response from the crowd was "Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance."[16] Sherrod subsequently resigned, allegedly amidst pressure from the White House.[17]

The only thing that could derail Breitbart's narrative would be if the supposed targets of Sherrod's bigotry came out and defended her. Which they did.[18] That might be because she did, in fact, help the farmers, among other white families. The clips Breitbart posted were selectively edited to remove the portion of Sherrod's speech where she spoke of how her initial misapprehensions about helping whites led her to realize that race shouldn't be an issue in her job - the exact opposite of what Breitbart had claimed.[19][20]

As soon as the full tape went public, the media came down on Breitbart, who went into spin control mode. He argued that his post was never about Sherrod, a fact betrayed by his own writings.[21] Meanwhile, some of the other Big X bloggers came to Breitbart's defense, including one who seemed to be arguing that the White House and USDA were at fault for believing Breitbart.[22]

[edit] Anthony Weiner sexting scandal

In May and June 2011 Breitbart posted sexually explicit photos of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner on his website, starting Weiner's sexting scandal that eventually led to the representative's resignation. It was also found that Andrew Breitbart carries a picture of Anthony Weiner's penis on his cell phone. No homo.

[edit] What's his problem, anyway?

Andrew Breitbart had a reputation for erratic behavior, particularly when caught off guard. Among the incidents:

  • He was photographed flipping off a group of demonstrators from the anti-child-soldier group Invisible Children, whom he had mistaken for anti-war protesters.[23] (Looks a little better in retrospect, hey?)
  • He left a 90 second long, expletive-laden voice mail for the website Gawker regarding an article on James von Brunn.[24]
  • He melted down about five seconds into an interview with David Shuster and spent most of the time yelling about all the ways MSNBC had wronged him.[25]
  • In a behind-the-scenes interview after CPAC 2010, he said...um...just watch for yourself.

All of this has led to speculation that Breitbart may have had a drinking problem. The source for this belief seems to be this video, in which a disheveled, unsteady Breitbart slurs out his opinion on the media. Of course, even if he was drunk at that event (which was held in a bar, after all), it doesn't follow that he was drunk at any other times.[26] A far more likely culprit was oxygen deprivation caused by having his head up his ass for so long.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Read: blogger
  2. Buzzfeed:25 People Who Think President Obama Killed Andrew Breitbart
  3. Some radio host guy
  4. Matt Drudge By the Numbers, Gawker, July 13 2009
  5. A different kind of surge, The Washington Times
  6. "Mr. Spielberg, tear down this wall", The Washington Times
  7. A million stories to tell, The Washington Times, January 5 2009
  8. Only semi-regularly
  9. Exclusive Interview: Andrew Breitbart Announces Launch of New “Big” Sites, Mediaite, December 10 2009
  10. Andrew Breitbart FURIOUS at AP for Not Publishing His Full Rant on ACORN Report. Me Too! FireDogLake, December 7 2009
  11. 4 charged in phone scheme at La. senator's office, Associated Press
  12. Andrew Breitbart Takes on Mainstream Media
  13. Fake pimp from ACORN videos tries to 'punk' CNN correspondent, CNN, September 29 2010
  14. Twitter updates from Sept. 29: [1][2]
  15. O'Keefe Owes His Supporters an Apology, Big Journalism, October 1st 2010
  16. Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism–2010, Big Journalism, July 19 2010
  17. White House's Weak Back Hand, Hullabaloo, July 20 2010
  18. USDA Appointee Forced To Resign After Edited Speech Released By Breitbart, TPM Muckraker, July 20 2010
  19. Breitbart's Skilled Editing, The Daily Dish, July 20 2010
  20. The full, unedited tape
  21. Will media fall for Breitbart's attempt to spin his spectacular failure? Media Matters for America, July 20 2010
  22. Shirley Sherrod: ‘They Made Me Quit Because I was Going to Be On Glenn Beck’ Big Government, July 20 2010
  23. I, Jerk, The Washington Times
  24. Andrew Breitbart: Holocaust Museum Killer Was a 'Multiculturalist', Gawker
  25. Andrew Breitbart, David Shuster Yell at Each Other about ACORN and Teabugging, Gawker
  26. Well, except for the time he flipped off the demonstrators. He admitted that he'd been drinking then.
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