Interview with Andrew Breitbart
posted at 2:50 pm on October 8, 2009 by Michael van der Galien
Clarification added at the bottom.
Andrew Breitbart is arguably the most prominent conservative media personality in the States – and even in the world – today. He is a regular guest at major TV shows such as Fox News’ “Hannity,” with Sean Hannity.
Breitbart is also the man who broke the ACORN scandal, the SEIU scandal, who took on Hollywood a year ago by creating a groupblog Big Hollywood, and who created another successful group blog called Big Government earlier this year.
The first of the two group blogs, Big Hollywood, went into the top 100 on Technorati within a matter of weeks, even though it, Breitbart said in an interview conducted Wednesday, was “created from my basement.”
How did this happen? Simple: Breitbart knows the Internet, the blogosphere and the media. He, not Arianna Huffington, is the one who came up with the idea for the Huffington Post and the one who executed it.
After launching this, ironically, far-left website, Breitbart helped Matt Drudge run his Drudge Report. Drudge, the story goes, taught Breitbart everything he knows – without Drudge, there would not have been Andrew Breitbart, New Media entrepreneur.
Although he was a big player before this summer already, Breitbart truly became the right’s leading new media personality after his newly created Big Government website published videos of ACORN-employees advising undercover journalists Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe how to smuggle underaged hookers into the U.S. and how to set up an illegal brothel.
Breitbart’s exposé of ACORN turned him into a hero of the right, but it didn’t take long before left-wing journalists and news outlets went after him. One such attack angered Breitbart so much that he decided to answer his detractors publicly.
Of course, Breitbart wrote in his public response to a negative article published at The Daily Beast, he knew that the left would go after him and question his motives, but couldn’t they at least take the time to ask him why he did what he did and how he did it? “I’m VERY reachable,” Breitbart wrote.
In an interview conducted Wednesday, Breitbart told PoliGazette that while he may have been angry, he was also “goofing around a bit.”
Even when he fights dishonest critics, the right’s New Media leader is of good cheer.
Those who thought the attacks discouraged him, would better think again. He has a lot more up his sleeve, he said. “We’re creating more sites. We will be creating Big Education, Big Tolerance, Big Jerusalem, Big Climate, Big Journalism,” Big EU and more.
The mission is simple yet devastating for the Left: “I’m creating a series of group blogs, just like Big Government and Big Hollywood, each one is an attack on the left’s dominance in certain areas and saying ‘your behavior is no longer going to go unnoticed and we are going to start defending ourselves, and we’re going to start taking you on’.”
There are three important battlefields in the grand culture war, Breitbart passionately explains. “It was important to launch the Hollywood one [i.e. Big Hollywood] because the culture front is the most important front. It has been long ignored by the northeastern conservative elite, who think that politics is the most important front.
“No, our culture is the most important front. And the three most important pillars of that culture are Hollywood and pop culture, along with education and the media. Those three are absolutely controlled by the left.”
It reminds the careful observer of the great Friedrich A. Hayek’s call on conservatives to influence the “second-hand dealers in ideas.” “The reason why a center-right nation like the United States could veer, over the last forty years, to the left, is because of the left’s fundamental understanding of the importance of the cultural role in our society and how pop culture and culture are upstream from politics.”
And that’s where Breitbart and his websites come in. To him, there is little or no use in trying to reform existing news outlets from within. The MSM is heavily biased. It won’t cover anything that may hurt the left if it isn’t forced to. Despite its tremendous success, Big Hollywood is and remains ignored by the MSM.
So, there’s only thing conservatives can and should do: create their own news organizations and do their own reporting, opining and analyzing. Instead of complaining about how the ‘cultural elites’ aren’t treating them fairly, Breitbart’s message to conservatives seems to be, do something about it.
Perhaps it is this attitude – this pragmatism – that truly makes Breitbart different than other conservatives and that helped him become a national figure. He, unlike most, doesn’t merely understand what the problem is, but he actually tries to solve it.
All eyes are on him now; let’s see what he comes up with next. We may not know what his next major project will be exactly, but we do know this: it will force the left to play defense.
Also read this article published at the Financial Times yesterday.
This post was also published at PoliGazette.
Clarification: TDB’s Friedersdorf emailed me requesting a correction because I gave readers the impression he went after Breitbart while defending the NYT (of all newspapers) because Breitbart broke the ACORN scandal. That is not the case as such; he criticized the way Breitbart operates, how he runs his websites, how his websites approach the news, and Breitbart’s relentless criticism of the MSM. Of course, the ACORN scandal was a direct result of Breitbart’s vision on the media and politics, which is why I issue a clarification instead of a correction. Friedersdorf also requested I’d take out my description of him as left-wing, saying he wrote for right-of-center outlets and that he has been called a “reform conservative” and libertarian. That’s great, but I’m afraid we won’t play that game. Those who call him a “libertarian” should pick up a dictionary and read some Hayek, and a “reform conservative” is, of course, a contradictio in terminis.