Andrew Breitbart is a modern day media mogul. He has created a series of websites that draw hundreds of thousands of people a day, sometimes millions a day, to see what he’s up to now. And he makes no bones about his politics and the journey from being a “default cultural liberal” who grew up in Southern California, to his current status as a “conservative culture warrior.” He is also a blogger and very much a provocative force in modern journalism who considers himself to be a combatant in a battle of ideas and values against what he calls the Democrat Media Complex.
With the release of his second book, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World, Breitbart discusses his political journey, identifies what’s at stake and the other combatants in the current marketplace of ideas, and offers his ideas on how to overcome the built-in strengths of the Complex. He writes in the book that “The Democrats have the Big Three Networks and major news dailies as their offensive line, and a starting backfield of Hollywood celebrities and academia.”
But that doesn’t mean the right must stay out of the fight. He told AIM in this exclusive interview that “I am filling a vacuum. I’m filling in a void where the mainstream media, the Democrat Media Complex, will not report stories that hurt the Democrat Media Complex. So these are boom times for my site, and the people who are writing for me are passionate citizen-journalists who now realize if Katie Couric’s not going to tell the truth, then we as average citizens—lawyers, doctors and actors, housewives, retired people—can report. They can expose, they can videotape—and it’s the most exciting time in the history of media.”
Breitbart was working with Matt Drudge when he went public with the Monica Lewinsky story that ultimately led to the impeachment of President Clinton. He gave Arianna Huffington the idea for her hugely successful website, Huffington Post, which recently merged with AOL in a deal worth more than $300 million. And starting in 2009, Andrew Breitbart created a series of websites that are hugely popular today. They include Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism and Big Peace, with Big Education yet to come.
I should also mention that he is the recipient of the 2010 Reed Irvine Award for his work in helping to uncover the scandal at ACORN.
Below, in quotes, are excerpts from my interview with Breitbart. You can listen to the entire interview or read the transcript here.
“Tom Brokaw- and Katie Couric-type people told me that Clarence Thomas was bad and Anita Hill was good. I saw that the National Organization for Women said that Clarence Thomas was bad and Anita Hill was good, so I was rooting for it. And I sat down and I watched the hearings, waiting for evidence that would prove the thesis—because he was ultimately on trial. By the end of the week, I thought to myself, When are they going to provide the evidence?...I saw that something was wrong here. That was my first epiphany. I didn’t understand how the NAACP could sit back as these white, privileged men like Ted Kennedy—Ted Kennedy, the Ted Kennedy!—sat in judgment of another man as relates to his behavior around women. It just outraged me. But I didn’t know what I was seeing.
“I switched over to the AM dial, started listening to Rush Limbaugh, and, eventually, I started to come to grips with the fact that I may disagree with him politically, but he’s not a racist. I wasn’t hearing any of the type of stuff they had told me he was. But then I started to listen to him and Dennis Prager together, and I started to think to myself, Wait a second—these guys make so much more sense than all of my professors—excuse me—all of the celebrities in my life, all of my friends and family. These guys make more sense than anything I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And Orson [Bean] was there to kind of be my Yoda, because he’d gone from the Left to the Right. He’d gone from being blacklisted and having Ed Sullivan call him up and say “Can’t have you on the show because of your blacklisting,” to becoming a Right-winger. He’s been my Yoda ever since. He’s 83 years old, and I talk to him about five times a week. It’s strange how we basically have the exact same view on almost everything.
“I can go back to my history and say that the [Matt] Drudge thing was just pure luck. I met him at the very beginning. The first time I met him in person, he came over to Orson’s house, when he was folding shirts at the CBS gift shop. He talked to me for four hours, and he left in his Hyundai, which putt-putted down the Venice Canal alleyway. I looked at my wife and I said, “That man’s going to change the world. That guy is a media visionary.” I knew it from the very, very beginning. That’s definitely the smartest, most prescient moment of my life. I had the privilege of sitting in the front row of history during the Lewinsky thing, and I learned a lot during that period of time.
“Now that the barrier of entry to get into the media is a modem and a personal computer, I want in on this action!” I was granted the opportunity when Arianna [Huffington] moved to the Left. We had about a four- or five-year period of awkward air-kissing when we’d see each other—because it was weird that she turned on a dime and became a lefty. She said, “Do you have any ideas for a website for me?” So I came up with the idea of the Huffington Post. Here’s what I pitched to her. I said, “It will be great for you Arianna! You’ll be the queen of the Left-wing blogosphere! And it will be great for my side because it will be found content so that the American people can see how crazy your Hollywood friends are, how conspiratorial they are—that Gore Vidal and Margaret Cho and Bill Maher are nihilists, they’re cynics, they don’t believe in the American experiment as conservatives do.” I think that people really need to see these people for who they really are. And I think the Huffington Post has probably been my most successful creation.
“Well, the reason why there are so many default cultural liberals out there is because so few conservatives are willing to go into the liberal world to espouse their point of view. And if you go out there and you fight the fight, you tell the truth, oftentimes you can expose the interviewer—who’s never really been challenged—that he’s a fraud. I think that that’s what I did with Martin Bashir, and that’s one of the main points of my book, Righteous Indignation: Walk towards the fire. Martin Bashir did more to promote my book than anyone out there because he affirmed its thesis.
“Why would a civil rights legend like the [Congress of Racial Equality] ask Andrew Breitbart to be the keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King dinner? Because they’re paying attention to what I believe in. They’re paying attention that the reason why the Left lost Andrew Breitbart and the Right got Andrew Breitbart was because they told a black man, Clarence Thomas, that he didn’t have the right to think freely and openly in the United States of America . That’s the message that the Left tells black people: If you don’t vote Democrat, if you don’t think liberal, you’re off the plantation and we’re going to treat you as if you are subhuman. So my entire mission in what I’m doing is not just to obliterate the mainstream media, but to emancipate black people from the servitude of the Democratic Party, who has done them no favors over the last—I don’t know, forever.
“Hollywood is 100% controlled by the organized Left. And, it’s through intimidation. What the American people don’t know—and look: Ideology matters more than money to these people. They’re pretty good capitalists who mask their capitalism through an abrasive form of noblesse oblige liberalism. They’re very good capitalists, but ideology means a lot to them, and they have a totalitarian instinct to punish those and to silence those who dissent. What I’ve discovered in recent years is that there is a silent group of people—thousands strong, perhaps tens of thousands strong—who silently languish in the industry. Actors, directors, writers, below-the-line people, producers, agents, heads of studios who happen to be conservative or libertarian, but are secretive about it because the institutional Left will punish them—and there’s plausible-deniability-blacklisting that goes on in Hollywood.
“...if you’re a conservative in the United States , you have a burden with the media, there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re Israeli, your burden with the media, with the world media, is as great or worse than a conservative in the United States dealing with Hollywood and the mainstream media. And they just don’t have the mechanisms to fight the narratives that are laid out so disastrously by a biased media that has a reflexive pro-Palestinian bent...And they have such a hard time battling the mainstream media, the Democrat Media Complex—or the U.N. media complex, if you want to call it, as it relates to the world—that we wanted to create Big Peace as definitely a place where we’re not going to carry water for Israel, but we’ll certainly defend it, knowing that their burden is great when it comes to the trying to fight the narrative.
“I think that Big Education is probably going to be the [Breitbart website] that surprises people with the amount of content that comes in, because parents, and students who are being indoctrinated, and who are just sitting there as sitting ducks in the classroom—oftentimes math class, where a teacher goes off for twenty minutes on Sarah Palin, wasting everybody’s valuable time—I think that the teachers have lived in a protective bubble, a protective bubble that goes beyond tenure—it’s that they’ve learned that there is no check and balance for this type of misbehavior, that [in] the bubble in which they exist, there are no conservatives, there isn’t another alternative reality—and I think that when they’re held to the light of day, they’re going to be very upset. And that’s happening right now.
“This book is, basically, a how-to-manual. Once you see how I went from a default cultural liberal to being a culture warrior for the Right, I think your eyes will be opened as to how bad the problem is. I provide the tactics that you can use to fight the battle against the Democrat Media Complex. I don’t think that the next election cycle’s about beating Barack Obama—I think Barack Obama has already lost. The next election cycle is against the mainstream media, who’s going to try and carry his political corpse over the finish line. So the way to win in 2012 is to expose the truth about Barack Obama, not to be afraid of the Democrat Media Complex calling you names—and to just fight, fight, fight! And Righteous Indignation, which is available at Breitbartbook.com, will show you how you can wield new media and have, a great, great effect in electoral politics.”