When Andrew Breitbart died at the absurdly young age of 43, rightbloggers were sad — and also mad at liberals, whom some of them blamed for the rageaholic activist’s death.
After a period of mourning, they decided that the best tribute to their fallen leader would be to follow his example, i.e., yell incoherently at people with whom they disagreed.
So they ran some old video of President Obama and yelled at the media for ignoring it. Then they yelled at a TV movie for making fun of Sarah Palin.
We never thought we’d say this, but Andrew will be sorely missed.
The many achievements of Andrew Breitbart we won’t repeat here, as they were well covered at the time of his death by all the mainstream media outlets he denounced as liars and scum.
But Breitbart’s death made his influence on rightbloggers more obvious than ever, and the more devoted of them — we might call them Breitbrats — swore to take up his fallen standard and march into the teeth of the Lame Stream Media.
Some showed their devotion with videos. This one shows Breitbart yelling things like, “the new media is taking over where the old media failed!” and “put your cell phones and your Blackberrys up in the air!” with a hip-hop soundtrack, which the auteurs perhaps hope will bring more African-Americans into the movement — at least, the ones who’ve never heard of Shirley Sherrod.
If that’s too edgy for you, here’s one in which acolytes stare into the camera and announce “I am Andrew Breitbart” as they once stared into the camera and announced “I am John Galt.” In others, they held up “Breitbart is Here” signs at rallies for that other new media martyr, Rush Limbaugh.
The libertarian bloggers at Reason magazine paid their tribute: “Breitbart didn’t simply risk the ire of indignant liberals. He insisted on it,” said Nick Gillespie. “He was genuinely, convincingly, overwhelmingly outraged at the workaday biases of liberal media, academia, and entertainment, and always positioned himself smack dab in the center of it,” said Matt Welch. (Libertarians, for those who didn’t know, are conservatives with social pretensions.)
Some acolytes started up a “djbreitbart project,” the purpose of which seems to be associating Breitbart’s name with cool tunes from decades gone by. (Example: “Andrew was a punk rock Republican who never slowed down. Ramones | ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ #djbreitbart.”)
Some distributed stickers and T-shirts saying “I am Breitbart” and such like. Some worked that newer form of propaganda, the Twitter hashtag — for instance, #war, which may have made them feel warlike and butch.
“We are at #War and need to fight back in the field of ideas,” said Fuzzy Logic. “Hey @gawker,” said @brandondarby, “The unkind words you spewed when my friend died will cost you. #War #Breitbart,” etc.
Sissy Willis attempted to promote an “#armyofandrews” hashtag, “a play on Glenn Reynolds’ Army of Davids,” she explained. “Like the conspiratorial ‘dog whistle’ of our statist adversaries’ nightmares,’ Willis elaborated, “Breitbart’s passing was a call-to-arms for the freedom fighters to ratchet up our defense of the Shining City…”
DaTechGuy complained that “the left is going nuts with joy on twitter [at Breitbart’s death],” but then showed a very gracious tweet from Democratic operative Donna Brazile, who called Breitbart a genius. Comity, right? No, #war! “It is Donna Brazile’s tweet that explains why the left hated him so better than any other,” roared DaTechGuy, “…they understood both his genius and fearlessness and believe they will no longer have to face it.” With some people, folks, there’s absolutely no point in being nice.
“Andrew Breitbart was one of the kindest, most generous men I’ve ever known,” said Ben Domenech. (Say, isn’t that a line from The Manchurian Candidate? Well, Domenech is best known as a plagiarist.) “…He was confident,” Domenech continued, “that if only the people knew the truth, if only they had something other than the New York Times to give it to them, they would choose the right path.” (And so he invented Fox News.)
Inevitably, some of the brethren declared that Breitbart was murdered by the communists/Obama. “Everybody feels the same way, that this guy was murdered,” said radio host “Mancow” Muller, as reported by Alex Jones. Why? “Andrew Breitbart had in fact planned to release information that would ‘destroy Barack Obama’ on March 1st, hours after his untimely death,” reported Jones.
“Was conservative activist Andrew Breitbart murdered?” asked RedState. “It is possible and the issue must be raised for one reason only: Because knowing the malicious temperament of the radical left in America that hated Breitbart, we should not rule out that they killed him.”
Twitter lit up with the accusation. But despite their suspicion that The Man was out to get them, these Breitbrats didn’t hide in basements, nor encase their crowns in tinfoil, and thus hope to evade the ObamaHitler death squads. No, they bravely stood on their hind legs and did the work of the Lord.
So, you may be wondering, other than by chest-pounding how did the Breitbrats follow the example of their fallen leader? Basically, by yelling at Hollyweird and by cooking up a Really Big Scoop on Obama Hitler — the Really Bigness of which was proven, in their view, by the Lieberal Lame Stream Media’s refusal to acknowledge its Really Bigness.
The Breitbrats at Breitbart’s Big Hollywood were, for example, all over the HBO production of Game Change, which made fun of Sarah Palin’s 2008 campaign and was therefore treasonous.
Many conservatives dismissed the movie as lefty propaganda — for example, Commentary editor John Podhoretz grumped that the filmmakers didn’t choose the best ’08 campaign stories: “You know how Obama had to choose a VP and couldn’t pick Hillary b/c of Bill and chose an idiot who embarrassed him?” he tweeted. “Wrong party, though.” (We don’t think Podhoretz would have liked watching that story all the way to the end, though.)
But few bothered to get worked up about it, nor to defend too strongly its subject, Sarah Palin; even partisan flagship RedState said, “I think most of us can now admit that [Palin] wasn’t qualified for national office.”
At Big Hollywood, though, it was #war.
“WHOM DO YOU BELIEVE: HBO OR SECRET SERVICE?” yelled Larry O’Connor.
O’Connor said the moviemakers “not only filled their attack film with misinformation, half-truths and outright lies, they also exposed themselves” — You hear that? Exposed! — “by leaving in an ugly slander that has already been investigated and debunked by the United States Secret Service over three years ago.”
O’Connor referred to a scene of someone yelling “Kill him!” at a Palin rally, which the Secret Service says didn’t happen. Scene debunked! Film debunked! My hair is a bird, your argument is invalid! O’Connor painstakingly noted every detail of the forensic evidence: “At the 97:00 mark, leftist actor Ed Harris…”
Well, no one said it was documentary. But the inclusion of a fictional scene in a TV movie “proves again,” said O’Connor, “that the left’s hatred of Palin, and the American’s who don’t hate her, throws them into such a blind rage that their lies, no matter how easily debunked, are justified as long as it meets the noble end of stopping that dangerous woman from Wasilla.” (We wonder why “the left” didn’t get a mention in the credits. Was it a Dalton Trumbo sort of thing?)
At the same site, Stacy Drake promised to disclose the “Top 10 Lies of HBO’s ‘Game Change.'” Here’s an example:
“Lie #9: Virtually every characteristic attributed to Palin in ‘Game Change’ is false. They portray her as egotistical, ungracious, demanding, stupid, forgetful and, cruelest of all, mentally unstable.”
Obviously a lie, said Drake — because “an egotistical person wouldn’t put her state’s well-being before her own political career.” So that’s what Palin was doing when she quit halfway through her term as Governor! Also, some liberals said nice things about her (“another Democrat didn’t get the memo”), proving that “From top to bottom, the ‘Palin’ character is absolute fiction.” Plus which: Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra? Totally a hit job.
At the same site (sigh, yeah, we know), Christian Toto attacked David Hinckley of the New York Daily News for saying that Palin didn’t come off too badly in the movie. “This Palin comes off as a devoted mother who scores big at several critical junctures in the campaign,” Hinckley had written. “…Smart? No, she’s not portrayed as smart. But she’s got something almost as good, which is sound political instincts.”
Does that sound generous to your nonpartisan ears? Never mind, said Toto, it’s all lib lies! Hinckley “insists the film isn’t out to ‘skewer’ Sarah Palin,” said Toto, but the movie shows Palin “as a dim, demanding shrew who curls up into the fetal position under stress.” Don’t tell Toto a character with flaws might be sympathetic — that shit might fly with Aristotle, but not with the children of Andrew Breitbart! “What would ‘Game Change’ have to do to convince you it was biased?” cried Toto, seemingly in despair. “Have Palin driving a bus full of orphaned children off a cliff?”
Normal people may look at this and think, Calm down, Mary, it’s only a movie. But that’s not how new media conservative reverse Alinsky warriors do things.
Under the headline “Breitbart.com Proves Factual Errors In HBO’s Sarah Palin Film,” Susan Duclos of Wake Up America told readers that instead of watching Game Change, they should “watch The Undefeated trailer below,” referring to the disastrous Palin self-documentary. “(Andrew Breitbart cameo included in trailer),” Duclos added.
“Things really seem to be heating up in the political world,” said Palin 4 America. “There is the pushback on Game Change, Breitbart BIGS vetting of Obama, Rush’s pushback on his advertisers, The Undefeated premiering on television…”
And anyway, that was just a culture war skirmish: The BIG news — the thing Breitbart was murdered by Obama goons for! — was some old footage of a young Barack Obama, then President of the Harvard Law Review, speaking warmly of Harvard Professor Derrick Bell.
What? You don’t know that’s a big deal? Did you know Derrick Bell was black? And that he said mean things about white people? And that Obama, speaking on Bell’s behalf at a 1991 rally, briefly hugged him? You did know? Then why aren’t you marching on Washington, dammit, and demanding the ni — uh, traitor resign?
The bombshell tape — over which, you may recall, some people thought Breitbart had been murdered — turned out to be a joke: First, BuzzFeed got an advance copy and ran it before Brietbart’s people did — leading to the hilarious Breitbart headline, “BUZZFEED’S SELECTIVELY EDITED OBAMA RACE VIDEO” (because it didn’t contain The Hug).
Nobody went for it. Even some reliable conservative operatives were underwhelmed, such as Power Line’s John “Hindrocket” Hinderaker, who said, “Frankly, from the buildup I expected more.”
Freaking out, rightbloggers tried to amp up the racial outrage. Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, for example, took a segment from an audiobook in which Obama quoted a Jeremiah Wright sermon on “white folks greed,” and tried to pass the words off as Obama’s own — though this con had been debunked years earlier.
PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston described Bell as “a virulent racist, who depicted President Ronald Reagan as a — not making this up — racist space alien who offered to buy all of America’s black citizens to erase the nation’s deficit” — then mentioned that Bell had written this, not in an op-ed or a scholarly paper, but in a short story. Generally, rightbloggers don’t acknowledge the persistence of racism in American life until a black guy writes a satire on white privilege; then it’s Birth of a Nation — literally.
The Breitbrats kept pounding away (“Yes, I imagine there will be so much more to learn about the good professor,” hyped-against-hope Michelle Horstman of PJ Tatler), but the groundswell they expected to unseat Obama didn’t even jiggle George Soros’ ass-fat, and the Bell tape receded into memory like Al Capone’s vault.
So what next? We expect the Breitbart bull-roars will start to die down after the first thousand blank stares. Breitbart himself will enter the pantheon of rightbloggers heroes such as Joe McCarthy, William “The Public Be Damned” Vanderbilt, Augusto Pinochet, and John Galt. The brethren will have to acknowledge that Breitbart is someone whom the public just doesn’t get, and they must endeavor to keep their feelings about him — like much else about their beliefs — under wraps during vote-gathering season. They’d better; it’s their only hope.