Andrew Breitbart, RIP

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Pioneer new media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart died today, age 43. He is survived by his wife and four young children.

Breitbart began his online career working for Matt Drudge at the Drudge Report, then launched his own network of news and commentary websites: breitbart.com, breitbart.tv, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Peace.

Active on Twitter, Breitbart was fond of retweeting unhinged leftist attacks against him.

His final tweet, at 11:25 pm Pacific time last night, says a lot about him -- willing to be bold in confrontation, willing to back off from a misstep.

I called you a putz cause I thought you werebeing intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize. @CenLamar @dust92

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BatesLine photo: Rev. C. L. Bryant interviews Andrew Breitbart for Bryant's film "A Runaway Slave," on the west lawn of the Capitol at the 2010 9/12 March on Washington.

I met him only once and briefly, although I had the pleasure of hearing him in person at a couple of conferences, most recently at RightOnline 2011. The Right Scoop has video of the full speech, in which he describes his journey from reflexive Los Angeles liberal to conservative warrior.

I say to my wife, "Do your remember when I was a waiter, I was light-hearted, and I went to movies. I don't do that anymore." My goal now is to take down the institutional Left.

Fellow bloggers talked about how approachable he was and how happy to help conservative new media activists expand their reach. Kerry Picket of the Washington Times remembers:

Andrew was willing to take shots that were considered strategically risky and dealt with any blowback that came his way as a result of some of those risks. Budding citizen journalists found it amazing that Andrew would not only give out his e-mail address to strangers he met at conferences but also his personal cell phone number.

At RightOnline, he walked with a small group of people over to Netroots Nation, the hard-left activist conference which was being held at the same time in Minneapolis. (Netroots Nation types had already crashed RightOnline and were causing a headache for hotel staff as they tried to provoke a confrontation.) In this video, as he's en route, he does a bit of satire of leftist attitudes, then explains to a questioner his role in the conservative movement.

At the time, Kerry Picket of the Washington Times posted a series of videos of Breitbart's reception by Netroots Nation, which featured a rabid Daily Kos blogger claiming that one of Breitbart's employees was responsible for an alleged racial incident.

Breitbart lived intensely, accomplished much, gave a platform to an army of conservative activists, confronted the Left relentlessly, and was under constant attack in return. Give thanks for his life and work, and pray for his bereft family.

MORE REACTION:

Josh Treviño has a tribute at the Grauniad, recalling the driving philosophy behind Breitbart's network of sites:

[The cultural left] trafficked in self-assured righteousness, a vibrant network of transmitters and supporters, and a belief in the moral inferiority of their opposites.

With these things, they crafted and pushed narratives that crushed conservatives every time. Andrew Breitbart was going to bring those methods, and more important, that aesthetic to the right - and see which side won when it was main force on main force.

On Fox News this morning, Breitbart's fellow conservative web pioneer, Jonah Goldberg, who was starting National Review Online when Breitbart was working for the Drudge Report, reacts to news of the death of his friend and compatriot.

AP aggregation of tributes to Breitbart.

MORE: A very thorough bio of Breitbart, which includes how he met his wife, the odd interest they had in common, and how his father-in-law got him listening to Rush Limbaugh:

Breitbart first met Susie Bean at a karaoke bar in 1988. He'd heard about her from their mutual friend, Mike, who phoned Breitbart at Tulane to tell him that he'd met Breitbart's future wife. When he and Susie landed back in Los Angeles four years later, they bonded over their shared appreciation of Chris Elliott's genius. Breitbart was nearly as smitten with Susie's father, the actor Orson Bean, as he was with Susie. And vice versa. "I was very taken with him," said Bean. A former liberal who had been blacklisted as a Communist in the 1950s, Bean was also the person who introduced Breitbart to Rush Limbaugh. Breitbart spotted a copy of The Way Things Ought To Be on the coffee table. "I said, 'Did you read this for giggles?' " Breitbart said. "He said, 'Have you listened to Rush?' I said, 'Yeah, he's a Nazi or something.' He goes, 'Are you sure you've listened to him?' " When Breitbart's favorite radio station started playing grunge--which he despised--he flipped to talk radio instead. "At first it was like a foreign language to me. But over time, it started to make sense."

STILL MORE:

Sarah Rumpf has a compendium of links to dozens of Breitbart tributes by conservative bloggers.

On Twitter, Jimmie Bise, Jr. (@jimmiebjr), reflected on his opportunity to spend time with Breitbart at CPAC just a couple of weeks ago, an opportunity he passed up because his "bitter and wicked inner critic" told him he wasn't worthy. (I used Storify to capture those tweets in sequence and in a more permanently accessible form.)

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2 Comments

Beau Author Profile Page said:

"I believe that there needs to be loud, vocal debate in this country."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=hL7zTymtQxs#t=157s

I really liked Breitbart. RIP.

Graychin said:

Classy guy. A man of high ethical standards. A true conservative.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 1, 2012 12:58 PM.

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