The late Rush Limbaugh, who passed away last month, famously honored Andrew Breitbart on the day of his passing, March 1, 2012.
A few words about Andrew Breitbart. I’ve known Andrew Breitbart since the 1990s when he was working with Matt Drudge to help produce that page, the Drudge Report, each and every day. He grew up in West Los Angeles, surrounded by liberals, father-in-law Orson Bean, the comedian. Sometime during the 1990s, the early 90s, Breitbart had an awakening. He was constantly questioning what was all around him, which was really extreme liberalism, and he became, as many of you in the audience know, a bulldog. He literally was an indefatigable bulldog for the conservative cause. He did things that nobody else has done on the Internet where there are a lot of players. He accomplished quite a lot, much more than a lot of people.
A lot of people get into the business for a number of reasons. His was to effect change. He really sought to affect change above everything else. A lot of people get into it to make a name for themselves. He was about that, too, of course, but he really was about affecting change, and he did on numerous occasions with ACORN, Anthony Weiner, Shirley Sherrod, just to name three of his most famous examples. But he was a bulldog. He was walking outside his home in his neighborhood in Brentwood just after midnight, keeled over. People had talked to him two hours prior, he sounded perfectly fine. They’re shocked. Family’s stunned. I mean there were some reports of health problems, but there was no indication of this.
So everybody’s in a state of shock today trying to make sense of it. And when something like this happens to somebody a lot of people know at a very young age, you could say he died too young by half, he’s 43, life expectancy in the early eighties. You’re reminded once again, it’s become a cliche but it’s worth mentioning: You only get one life, and most people don’t get as much out of it as they could. Human nature. And one of the reasons that most people don’t get the most out of their lives that they can is they can’t stop thinking about themselves. And the more you think about yourself the more depressed you’re gonna get. Human nature. The more you think about yourself, the less you are aware of things going on outside your sphere. It’s hard not to do that, and Breitbart did that.
Breitbart was outside himself in all of his quests. When I say indefatigable, I never heard of him sleeping. I know he did, but he was constantly on the go. He was also a grateful guy and very thoughtful. He was guest at our wedding in 2010, and about two months prior he sent Cookie a note, wanted to know if she knew who one of my most inspirational figures was. She told him. He presented us with a classic painting of Ronald Reagan, and every year since, every birthday, three birthdays, he has sent me a giant painting, a different rendering of the American flag.
It’s a very sad thing to see this happen. And I’ve been made aware that some of the leftists on Twitter and other blog sites are filled with an unspeakable callous and coarse mean-spiritedness today. When I heard about it I went to some of these sites and I read some of the tweets, some of them from well-known left-wing journalists, Slate.com, you would not believe it, I’m struck. What is there to compromise with these people? Where is the area for compromise with these people? I mean it is really vicious stuff, which, in the end he would have loved and was a testament to his effectiveness and effective he was.
Even today, the AP in their story, slash, obit of Andrew Breitbart misrepresents him, even in death. And maybe fittingly, given his quest in life, this AP article is a textbook example of the kind of outrageous mendacity in the news media today that he fought against. Even in death the AP cannot refrain from lying about him and misrepresenting him. They treat his posting of the Shirley Sherrod video clip as one of the highlights of his career only in order to use it against him. But Breitbart’s clip did not misrepresent her views.
The clip that he posted — he had the Big Government websites, Big Journalism websites — the clip that he posted of Shirley Sherrod contained enough of her comments that any fair-minded viewer would realize she was telling the audience about her previous prejudices. This was the case involving all of the mythical black farmers that were signed up for a giant government payout. She and her husband were in on that, and so many of them were not qualified to receive the payment. They all got the payment on the basis of past racism and bigotry and all of this. He exposed Shirley Sherrod, just as he supposed Anthony Weiner’s photos, or Anthony’s Weiner photos, he exposed ‘em. Where’s Weiner today? He’s walking the baby to the dry cleaners in Queens.
Then there was ACORN. Remember the James O’Keefe videos. That was Andrew Breitbart. They went walking in portraying a pimp and a prostitute looking for ways to scam the system, and there was ACORN telling ‘em how to do it. All caught on tape. It caused ACORN to theoretically shut down, and change their name and come back to life as a bunch of separate organizations. The AP article damns Andrew Breitbart with faint praise. It describes him as “an outspoken critic of the mainstream media but was lionized by his fans for his efforts at exposing government corruption and media bias.” Now, was he only lionized by his fans?
Wouldn’t you think that real life journalists would applaud Breitbart’s efforts to expose government corruption and media bias? I mean, what does the media claim to exist to do? To hold the powerful accountable! “Speak truth to power,” is that the phrase? Well, the mainstream media has become part of the power. When that power is held by the Democrat Party, the mainstream media covers up the corruption. He was exposing it. He did more and greater work than Woodward and Bernstein! He should have been one of their heroes. But he wasn’t. He should have been given the same kind of hero worship that Woodward and Bernstein have gotten. And unlike the work of Woodward and Bernstein, Breitbart’s investigations were actually truthful.
Now, at the bottom of the article, the AP notes that, quote, “Breitbart’s websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera sting video that brought embarrassment to the community group ACORN. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp,” close quote, which is another blatant misrepresentation. We all know that those ACORN staffers were doing more than “offering advice on taxes and other issues.” Why else would they have been fired? They were all fired in humiliating disgrace. Why didn’t ACORN lose its funding? Why was it disbanded, and then rebranded and put back together?
All in all, this AP article just goes to show that the country desperately needs another thousand more Andrew Breitbarts, if you ask me. He was something. Constantly on the go. Constantly revved up. He was at Tea Party event. He went to CPAC. He would even occasionally go to breakfast meetings of various Republican members of Congress, sit with them and discuss strategy, the way to effectively advance ideas and be victorious. You know, all of us are unique. It’s true to say that there will never be another Andrew Breitbart. There will never be another anybody because we’re all unique. I hope that the people who worked with him can maintain the tradition, the energy, and the effectiveness that his websites all were after his passing.
I know they’re going to try, and I know they’ll do it with a sense of honor, duty, and devotion to Breitbart as well as the fact they love it, too. It’s just really a sad thing. Everybody is totally taken by surprise, as I say. He was on the phone with people two hours before he died. Nobody knew that anything was wrong. Now, he’d had some health problems. People knew that. But there was no terminal diagnosis involved here. There was no ongoing illness that people were aware of. There were some health problems, but nothing that indicated anything like this. Except maybe to people very close to him. Who knows?
But at ten o’clock last night people were talking to him on the phone and two hours later he keels over on the sidewalk in his neighborhood in Brentwood. He’ll be missed by a lot of people. I will say one thing that happened to him. The Pigford thing. That was the Shirley Sherrod case. That was the USDA. The Pigford settlement. This is where all those black farmers scored big on the federal government for past discrimination way, way back. They just tried to find as many people as they could that had never been farmers; family had never been farmers. It was one of his highlights of his career. But I noted change in him over the years, and I think this is a life lesson.
Over the years, the whole thing he was involved seems to lose some of the fun factor as the intensity and the seriousness of it picked up. And this loops back to the notion that we all only have one life. I hope that that didn’t have anything to do with it. I mean, he was very intense. He was profoundly intense, and at times he’d get very mad, very angry — as we all do — and very frustrated. Everybody wants to matter. Everybody wants to be effective. He was far more effective than he probably ever dreamed, but probably wanted to be even more so. So let’s hope that the people who were around him, who were inspired by him, can keep his work going as though he were still there.
‘Cause that work is crucially important to a lot of people on the conservative side. As I say: Remember, now, he grew up in West LA. He grew up surround by liberals. He told me. We interviewed him here for his book. We interviewed him for the Limbaugh Letter. He described the process that he took, or that occurred to him as he began to question some of this stuff that just been inculcated, drilled into him from the time he was born. He began to question it. A lot of it didn’t make sense. And then one day, a big burst of reality hit, and his life changed forever.
Andrew Breitbart was 43 years old and he’s going to be missed by everybody who knew him.