Andrew Breitbart

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Andrew Breitbart
Andrew Breitbart by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Breitbart at CPAC in 2012
Born Andrew James Breitbart
(1969-02-01)February 1, 1969
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died March 1, 2012(2012-03-01) (aged 43)
Westwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart failure due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery
Nationality American
Alma mater Tulane University (B.A.)
Occupation Writer, columnist, journalist, publisher
Home town Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susannah Bean (m. 1997; his death 2012)
Children 4
Website www.breitbart.com

Andrew James Breitbart (/ˈbrtbɑːrt/; February 1, 1969 – March 1, 2012) was an American entrepreneur, conservative publisher,[1] commentator for The Washington Times, media critic, journalist, author,[2] and television and radio personality[3][4][5] on various news programs, who served as an editor for the Drudge Report website.[6] He was a researcher for and close friend of Arianna Huffington, and he helped create an early version of The Huffington Post.[7]

After helping in the early stages of The Huffington Post and Drudge Report, Breitbart created his own website Breitbart.com, a news and right-wing opinion website, along with multiple other "BIG" sites - BIGHollywood, BIGGovernment, BIGJournalism. He played central roles in the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, the firing of Shirley Sherrod, and the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy.[8] Commenters such as Nick Gillespie and Conor Friedersdorf have credited Breitbart with changing how people wrote about politics.[9][10][clarification needed]

Early life[edit]

Breitbart was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 1, 1969,[11] he was adopted son of Gerald and Arlene Breitbart, a restaurant owner and banker respectively, and grew up in the affluent neighborhood of Brentwood, Los Angeles. He was adopted at three weeks old and raised Jewish,[12] his biological parents had been Irish American.[13] He said that his birth certificate indicated his biological father was a folk singer, his adoptive mother had converted to Judaism when marrying his adoptive father.[14][15] Breitbart studied at Hebrew school and had a Bar Mitzvah.[16] Theologically he was an agnostic.[14]

Breitbart attended Brentwood School, one of the country's top private schools, but did not distinguish himself, saying: "My sense of humor saved me".[14] However, he discovered that he loved writing, publishing his first comedic piece in the school newspaper, the Brentwood Eagle, analyzing the inequality in his highschool's senior and junior parking lots: "One had Mercedes and BMWs, the other Sciroccos and GTIs.""[14] Breitbart remembers his upbringing as apolitical, except in one instance: when the family's rabbi tried to defend Jesse Jackson against charges of antisemitism after his "Hymietown" comment, his parents left the synagogue in protest.[14]

Breitbart would remain "proudly and playfully Jewish" throughout his life, although not always religiously observant, he would sing Hebrew songs at work while also teasing his Orthodox Jewish colleagues for keeping a kosher diet.[17] Joel Pollak wrote: “He carried his faith as he carried all his convictions: with a lighthearted touch but a deep commitment.”[17] Breitbart later said of his profession: "I'm glad I've become a journalist because I'd like to fight on behalf of the Israeli people... And the Israeli people, I adore and I love."[17][18]

While in high school, Breitbart worked as a pizza delivery driver; he sometimes delivered to celebrities such as Judge Reinhold.[19] He earned a BA in American studies from Tulane University in 1991, graduating with "no sense of [his] future whatsoever."[20] His early jobs included a stint at cable channel E! Entertainment Television, working for the company's online magazine, and some time in film production.[15]

Previously left-leaning in his politics, Breitbart changed his political views after experiencing "an epiphany" while watching the late 1991 confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas. Breitbart later described himself as "a Reagan conservative" with libertarian sympathies.[1]

Listening to radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh helped Breitbart refine his political and philosophical positions, igniting an interest in learning that he had suppressed as a result of his distaste for the "nihilistic musings of dead critical theorists"[21] that had dominated his studies at Tulane. In this era, Breitbart also read Camille Paglia's book Sexual Personae (1990), a massive survey of Western art, literature and culture from ancient Egypt to the 20th century, which, he wrote, "made me realize how little I really had learned in college."[21]

Ben Shapiro, who was a friend of Breitbart's for the last 14 years of his life, said Breitbart cared less about public policy than that people should not be lied about or bullied. Jeremy D. Boreing wrote:

He wasn't actually very political–that is, he had almost no interest at all in policy. ...

What defined and motivated Andrew was his unique ability to perceive the gross double standard that the media, the political establishment, and the pop culture employ in their war on those with whom they disagree.

What he hated were bullies.[22]

Public life[edit]

Authorship, research, and reporting[edit]

Breitbart has been lauded for his role in the "evolution of pioneering websites" including The Huffington Post and The Drudge Report, and more recently his "Big" sites. Journalists such as Nick Gillespie and Conor Friedersdorf have credited Breitbart with bringing new voices to debates about politics and culture. Breitbart told Reason in 2004 that after feeling ignored by existing outlets, "We decided to go out and create our media." Described as "a series of do-it-yourself demonstration projects" and "conversation pits", the Breitbart.com websites have been both criticized and praised for their role in various political issues.[10][23] Breitbart has been recognized for adopting an inclusive stance with regard to LGBT participation in the conservative movement, he has also been credited with helping to derail conspiracy theories about Barack Obama's citizenship.[10]

In 1995, Breitbart saw The Drudge Report and was so impressed that he e-mailed Matt Drudge. Breitbart said, "I thought what he was doing was by far the coolest thing on the Internet. And I still do."[7] Breitbart described himself as "Matt Drudge's bitch"[24] and selected and posted links to other news wire sources. Later, Drudge introduced him to Arianna Huffington (when she was still a Republican)[15] and Breitbart subsequently assisted in the creation of The Huffington Post.[25]

Breitbart wrote a weekly column for The Washington Times, which also appeared at Real Clear Politics. Breitbart also co-wrote the book Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon with Mark Ebner, a book that is highly critical of U.S. celebrity culture.[26] On January 19, 2011, the conservative gay rights group GOProud announced Breitbart had joined its Advisory Council.[27]

In April 2011, Grand Central Publishing released Breitbart's book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, in which he discussed his own political evolution and the part he took in the rise of new media, most notably at the Drudge Report and The Huffington Post.[citation needed]

In June 2011, Breitbart's websites broke the story that congressman Anthony Weiner was sending women revealing photographs of himself.[28]

Breitbart.com[edit]

Breitbart launched his first website as a news site; it is often linked to by the Drudge Report and other websites. It has wire stories from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Fox News, PR Newswire, and U.S. Newswire, as well as direct links to a number of major international newspapers. Its political viewpoint as well as its audience runs to the right within the U.S. political spectrum.[29] In 2007, Breitbart launched a video blog, Breitbart.tv.[30]

During a stay in Israel, Breitbart and Larry Solov conceived of the idea of founding Breitbart News Network, with "the aim of starting a site that would be unapologetically pro-freedom and pro-Israel. We were sick of the anti-Israel bias of the mainstream media and J-Street."[31]

Solov has written:

One night in Jerusalem, when we were getting ready for dinner, Andrew turned to me and asked if I would de-partner from the 800-person law firm where I was practicing and become business partners with him, he said he needed my help to create a media company. He needed my help to "change the world." ... We were blown away by the spirit, tenacity, and resourcefulness of the Israeli people on that trip. Andrew could be quite convincing, not to mention inspiring, and I decided right there and then to "throw away" (my Mom's phrase) a perfectly good, successful and safe career in order to start a "new media" company with Andrew Breitbart.[32]

In 2011, Breitbart and one of his editors Larry O'Connor were sued for defamation by Shirley Sherrod, who had been fired after Breitbart posted a video of a speech given by Sherrod. The video had been selectively edited to suggest that she had purposely discriminated against a white farmer, while in reality the unedited video told the story of how she had helped that farmer;[33][34] in July 2015, it was reported that Sherrod and Breitbart's estate had reached a tentative settlement.[34] It was reported October 1, 2016, that the lawsuit was settled.[35]

Commentaries[edit]

In 2009, Breitbart appeared as a commentator on Real Time with Bill Maher and Dennis Miller;[36] in 2004, he was a guest commentator on Fox News Channel's morning show and frequently appeared as a guest panelist on Fox News's late night program, Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. Breitbart also appeared as a commentator in the 2004 documentary Michael Moore Hates America.[37]

On October 22, 2009, Breitbart appeared on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal, he gave his opinions on the mainstream media, Hollywood, the Obama Administration and his personal political views, having heated debates with several callers.[1]

In the hours immediately following Senator Ted Kennedy's death, Breitbart called Kennedy a "villain", a "duplicitous bastard", a "prick"[38] and "a special pile of human excrement," adding, "Sorry, he destroyed lives. And he knew it," referring to Kennedy's actions during the Chappaquiddick incident, the Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination, and the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination.[39][40]

In February 2010, Breitbart received the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. During his acceptance speech, he responded directly to accusations by New York Times reporter Kate Zernike that Jason Mattera, a young conservative activist, had been using "racial tones" in his allusions to President Barack Obama, and had spoken in a "Chris Rock voice". From the podium, Breitbart called Zernike "a despicable human being" for having made such allegations about Mattera's New York accent,[41] at the same conference, Breitbart was also filmed saying to journalist Max Blumenthal that he found him to be "a jerk" and "a despicable human being" over a blog entry in which Blumenthal accused Breitbart of employing a racist.[42] Blumenthal was referring to James O'Keefe over his having attended a Georgetown Law Center discussion on race featuring Kevin Martin, John Derbyshire, and Jared Taylor, the last of whom founded American Renaissance, an online magazine widely considered white supremacist. Neither O'Keefe nor Breitbart endorsed Taylor's views.

In 2011, Breitbart said that "of course" Donald Trump was not a conservative, adding:

But this is a message to those candidates who are languishing at 2 percent and 3 percent within the Republican Party who are brand names in Washington, but the rest of the country don't know ... celebrity is everything in this country. And if these guys don't learn how to play the media the way that Barack Obama played the media last election cycle and the way that Donald Trump is playing the election cycle, we're going to probably get a celebrity candidate.[43]

These comments resurfaced after the controversy of Donald Trump hiring Breitbart News' executive chairman Steve Bannon to be his White House Chief Strategist.[43]

Activism[edit]

Breitbart often appeared as a speaker at Tea Party movement events across the U.S. For example, Breitbart was a speaker at the first National Tea Party Convention at Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville on February 6, 2010.[44] Breitbart later involved himself in a controversy over allegations of homophobic and racial slurs being used at a March 20, 2010, rally at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., by asserting that slurs were never used, and that "it was a set-up" by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party. Breitbart offered to donate $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund "for any audio/video footage of the N-word being hurled," claiming that the several Congressmen made it up. Breitbart insisted Congressman John Lewis and several other witnesses were forced to lie, concluding that "Nancy Pelosi did a great disservice to a great civil rights icon by thrusting him out there to perform this mischievous task, his reputation is now on the line as a result of her desperation to take down the Tea Party movement."[45][46]

In February 2012, a YouTube video showed Breitbart yelling at Occupy D.C. protesters outside a Washington, D.C. hotel hosting a Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The video showed security escorting Breitbart back to the hotel while he told the protesters to "behave yourself", and alluding to reported assaults of women at Occupy encampments, he repeatedly yelled, "Stop raping people", and called the protestors "filthy, filthy, raping, murdering freaks!" David Carr said with the incident Breitbart had caused his last "viral storm on the Web."[47][48]

Breitbart appeared posthumously in Occupy Unmasked, a documentary film that contends that the Occupy Wall Street movement of "largely naïve students and legitimately concerned citizens looking for answers" is actually orchestrated by sinister, violent, and organized leaders with the purpose of not just changing, but destroying the American government.[49]

Personal life[edit]

Breitbart was married to Susannah Bean, the daughter of actor Orson Bean and fashion designer Carolyn Maxwell, and had four children.[7][50]

Death[edit]

"He was the best kind of Jew and human being you could ever meet, one who created opportunities for people in whom he saw a spark – which Maimonides called the highest form of charity."
- Joel Pollak, March, 2012[17]

On the night of March 1, 2012, Breitbart collapsed suddenly while walking in Brentwood, he was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead just after midnight.[51][52] He was 43 years old. An autopsy by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office showed that he had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, with focal coronary atherosclerosis,[53] and died of heart failure.[54] He was buried in the Jewish plot at the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery. His grave is marked with the inscription "Herein lies a giant".[55]

Unproven conspiracy theories have circulated about his death.[56][57][58] The toxicology report showed, "No prescription or illicit drugs were detected, the blood alcohol was .04%. No significant trauma was present and foul play is not suspected."[54] Bill Whittle, a friend of Breitbart, had said that Breitbart had a "serious heart attack" just months before his death.[59]

In remembrance, Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich praised Breitbart.[60] Santorum called Breitbart's death "a huge loss" that strongly affected him.[60][61] Romney praised Breitbart as a "fearless conservative," while Gingrich remembered him as "the most innovative pioneer in conservative activist social media in America".[60] A special episode of Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld aired the day after his death as the host and panelists paid their tributes and showed clips from his appearances on the show.[62]

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Andrew Breitbart, Breitbart.com Publisher Archived October 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. C-SPAN, October 22, 2009. Breitbart referred to the "Democrat-media complex" several times...
  2. ^ Chideya, Farai. "Semper Fi Media", National Public Radio, September 14, 2007. Accessed June 10, 2011. "The other person on the panel was Andrew Breitbart, who runs Breitbart.com, a news aggregator.
  3. ^ "Breitbart in Full: The GQA". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Andrew Breitbart Reveals Weiner Photo". The Colbert Report. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Michael Eric Dyson RIPS Andrew Breitbart On Bill Maher Show". Dime Wars. Retrieved August 15, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Ng, Christina. "Publisher and Author Andrew Breitbart Dead". ABC News. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Breitbart.com has Drudge to thank for its success". Cnet news. November 2005. Retrieved July 29, 2009. 
  8. ^ Roshan, Maer; Slayton, Hunter R. (2012-03-08). "What Really Killed Andrew Breitbart? The Likely Cause of Death The Mainstream Media Ignored". AlterNet. Retrieved 2017-08-22. 
  9. ^ Gillespie, Nick (March 2, 2012). "How Andrew Breitbart changed the news". CNN. 
  10. ^ a b c Friedersdorf, Connor (March 8, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart's Legacy: Credit and Blame Where It's Due". Politics. Atlantic Media. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (March 1, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Blogger, Dies at 43". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Andrew Breitbart". NNDB. p. 1. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  13. ^ Farhi, Paul (March 1, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart built Internet empire by combining new media, partisan slant". United States: The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  14. ^ a b c d e Christopher Beam. "Big Breitbart: Andrew Breitbart is messing with you". Slate Magazine. Archived from the original on March 22, 2010. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c Taranto, James (October 16, 2009). "The Weekend Interview With Andrew Breitbart: Taking On the 'Democrat-Media Complex'". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 20, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  16. ^ Lowenfeld, Jonah (March 1, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart, Republican Jewish media mogul, is dead at 43". Jewish Journal. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Comment: Andrew Breitbart, Israel and Judaism" By Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, April 3, 2012
  18. ^ "Andrew Breitbart, the unabashedly 'biased journalist'” by Jonah Lowenfeld, June 13, 2011, Jewish Journal
  19. ^ Righteous Indignation, page 17
  20. ^ McCain, Robert Stacy (May 29, 2007). "'News addict' gets his fix". The Washington Times. Retrieved July 27, 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Righteous Indignation, p. 36
  22. ^ Andrew's Politics: He Hated Bullies
  23. ^ Gillespie, Nick (March 2, 2012). "How Andrew Breitbart changed the news". CNN. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Lists: What's Your Source for That? Where Andrew Breitbart gets his information". ReasonOnline.com. Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008. 
  25. ^ "How Andrew Breitbart Helped Launch Huffington Post". Buzzfeed. Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Wiley: Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon – The Case Against Celebrity – Andrew Breitbart, Mark Ebner". wiley.com. Archived from the original on July 5, 2009. 
  27. ^ "Conservative Media Mogul Andrew Breitbart to Join GOProud's Advisory Council". Goproud.org. January 21, 2011. Archived from the original on August 3, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2011. 
  28. ^ Daly, Corbett D. "Conservative website posts private pictures of Anthony Weiner." CBS News. June 6, 2011.
  29. ^ "Where Breitbart's Audience Fits on the Political Spectrum". Pew Research Center's Journalism Project. October 21, 2014. 
  30. ^ Owen, Rob. The next wave: Ex-WTAE anchor Scott Baker changes channel to run Web news site, Post-Gazette
  31. ^ Breitbart News Network: Born In The USA, Conceived In Israel Breitbart, November 17, 2015
  32. ^ "Born In The USA, Conceived In Israel". Breitbart News Network. November 17, 2015. 
  33. ^ Zeleny, Jeff; Wheaton, Sarah (February 13, 2011). "At Gathering, Ron Paul Is No. 1 for 2012". The New York Times. pp. A21. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  34. ^ a b Gerstein, Josh (July 1, 2015). "Breitbart, Sherrod near libel settlement". Politico. Retrieved August 18, 2015. 
  35. ^ Tierney Sneed (October 1, 2015). "Ex-USDA Official Settles Her Lawsuit Over Breitbart Video That Got Her Fired". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  36. ^ "BREITBART: 'My Real Time With Bill Maher'". Washington Times. March 16, 2009. Retrieved January 6, 2016. 
  37. ^ "National Review Online". nationalreview.com. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  38. ^ "Not all Kennedy critics hold fire". Archived from the original on August 27, 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Compromise: what Pennsylvania lawmakers could learn from Ted Kennedy" (editorial), The Patriot-News (Pennsylvania), August 28, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
  40. ^ "Opinion: Ted Kennedy, the liberal adversary to the conservative movement". digitaljournal.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2009. 
  41. ^ Benson, Guy. The New York Times Owes Jason Mattera an Apology, Big Journalism, February 19, 2010.
  42. ^ "Max Blumenthal confronted by Andrew Breitbart and Larry O'Connor/Stage right at CPAC 10". YouTube. February 20, 2010. Retrieved March 1, 2012. 
  43. ^ a b Weigel, David (August 17, 2016). "Five things to know about Breitbart, the new force in the Trump campaign". Washington Post. Retrieved March 18, 2017. 
  44. ^ Breitbart Keynote Part 1 of 4, Nashville, February 2010[dead link] Part 2[dead link] Part 3[dead link] Part 4[dead link]
  45. ^ Breitbart, Andrew (April 2, 2010). "Barack Obama's Helter-Skelter, Insane Clown Posse, Alinsky Plans to 'Deconstruct' America". Big Journalism. 
  46. ^ Alexander, Andrew (April 11, 2010). "Allegations of spitting and slurs at Capitol protest merit more reporting". Washington Post. Retrieved April 14, 2010. 
  47. ^ Carr, David (April 13, 2012). "The Life and Death of Andrew Breitbart". The New York Times. 
  48. ^ Sources that describe the confrontation with Occupy protesters at CPAC 2012:
  49. ^ "Occupyunmasked.com". 
  50. ^ Orson Bean (November 2005). "Sgt. Curtis Massey Was 41". Cnet news. Retrieved July 29, 2009. 
  51. ^ "Andrew Breitbart autopsy report" (PDF). Autopsyfile.org. 
  52. ^ Ng, Christina (March 1, 2012). "Publisher and Author Andrew Breitbart Dead". 
  53. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (May 16, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure, narrowing of artery, coroner finds". L.A. Times. L.A. Times. 
  54. ^ a b Breitbart.com (April 20, 2012). "Coroner: Breitbart Died of Heart Failure". 
  55. ^ Andrew James Breitbart at Find a Grave
  56. ^ Stableford, Dylan (March 2, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart death sparks conspiracy theories". Yahoo! News. 
  57. ^ Epstein, Emily Anne (May 2, 2012). "Conspiracy theorists cry foul after right-wing journalist Andrew Breitbart's 'coroner' dies of arsenic poisoning". Daily Mail. 
  58. ^ Lenz, Lyz (March 1, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart's Death Inspires Obama Conspiracy Theories". Huffington Post/TruTV. 
  59. ^ IN MEMORIAM, ANDREW BREITBART: PJTV Remembers a True Patriot and Friend. PJ Media. Event occurs at 1:48. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  60. ^ a b c Beth Fouhey; Philip Elliott (March 6, 2012). "Limbaugh and the GOP: The media stars and politics". Associated Press. Retrieved March 6, 2012. 
  61. ^ CBS News. March 1, 2012. 
  62. ^ Red Eye Remembers Andrew Breitbart. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 

External links[edit]