The disappointment of never meeting Andrew Breitbart

andrew breitbart 1969-2012Andrew Breitbart was arguably one of the most influential characters in the conservative movement. As the founder of the some of the most widely read sites on the internet, such as Big JournalismBig Hollywood, and his flagship website Breitbart.com, this was a man who showed no restraint when it came to expressing his views.

While the liberal media decried his outspoken ways, he became a hero to many on the right who believed in smaller government, upholding the constitution, and a true free market economy. But the one thing that he stood for above all else was freedom of speech, and perhaps nobody in the media provided a better example of how the first amendment is something to fight for on a daily basis than Andrew Breitbart. Although Breitbart was a polarizing figure to many on both sides of the aisle, few will disagree that he had a profound impact in the arena of political news.

On March 1, 2012 we lost a great warrior for conservative beliefs. Andrew Breitbart was only 43 years old when he collapsed while taking a walk in his Brentwood neighborhood. Survived by his wife Susannah and 4 young children, few public figures accomplished so much, in such a short time. In his younger years he honed his craft while working for E! Entertainment Televisions’ online magazine.

Following his short time there, he moved on to form a friendship with Matt Drudge and ultimately became a contributor to the highly successful Drudge Report. It was during this phase of his professional career that Andrew was introduced to author and journalist Arianna Huffington. For those that may find this to be an odd pairing, keep in mind that Huffington was a Republican at the time. Along with Kenneth Lerer, Jonah Peretti, and Huffington, Breitbart was a founding member of The Huffington Post, which went on to become one of the most successful online websites in modern times. The Huffington Post was eventually purchased by AOL for a reported $315 million dollars just six years after it was launched in 2005.

In 2007 Breitbart launched his own conservative and opinion news outlet that was appropriately titled Brietbart.com. The site had an immediate impact on the political scene, ultimately breaking major stories like the Anthony Weiner texting scandal. It was this style of hard-nosed reporting that earned him labels like “warrior,” as well as many others a bit too vulgar to print here.

As he forged ahead with his breaking news stories, many on the right took notice at how the liberal commentators were furious over what they deemed “outright lies” being reported by Andrew Breitbart. One such outburst by talk show host Cenk Uygur has since become somewhat of a classic example of media bias. During a broadcast on MSNBC in the midst of the scandal, Uygur lamented that Anthony Weiner was innocent, and was simply being smeared by the “notorious liar” Breitbart. As usual, the creator of Breitbart.com had the last laugh a few days later when Weiner when in front of the media and confirmed that the story was indeed true. This was a monumental moment in an already distinguished career.

One aspect of his life that has been somewhat overshadowed by the magnitude of his work is that he was very active in the social media arena. Appearing on Fox News just minutes after the news of his death was reported, longtime friend and conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg said “when I say he was the most fearless guy I ever knew, it really is true. I mean he really loved the fight.”

Breitbart was known to stay up until wee hours of the morning engaging in political discussions with people from both sides of the aisle. In fact Goldberg went on to say “he considered it a badge of honor,” to retweet nasty things that other people said about him. In a society that places such emphasis on being politically correct, this was a man who simply wouldn’t allow for his true feelings to be restrained. Few who engaged him ever walked away wondering what Andrew really felt about any topic of discussion.

Andrew Breitbart flagDuring the time I’ve been hosting The Don Smith Show, it’s been my pleasure to interview several people who had the opportunity to know Andrew Breitbart on a personal level. Just recently Ben Shapiro talked about the influence he had on his life. Shapiro is the “editor at large” at Breitbart.com, as well as a bestselling author. You could sense the great passion and love he had for the man who he called “his friend and mentor.”

In my younger days I was more interested in music than politics, attending all the local rock and roll concerts of my favorite bands. On the day I heard the news that he had passed away, I was transformed back to the day that Led Zepplin announced they would no longer be touring after the death of founding member and drummer John Bonham. While it may seem silly to some of you, the disappointment of never meeting this great warrior parallels the emptiness that I experienced when I knew that I would never see one of my favorite groups in person.

Andrew Breitbart was just that kind of individual, a rockstar like persona that you really just wanted to shake his hand and thank him for everything he was doing. Certainly we have the memories to go along with the legacy he left behind, but the world just won’t be the same without his strong voice leading the charge. And let’s all send our thoughts and prayers to the family that he left behind.

On my program this Saturday at 12pm ET, we’ll be paying our respects to Andrew Breitbart. We’ll also have special guests Lloyd Marcus, Dr. Ben Carson, and Chuck Woolery on to discuss all the latest political news.

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Comments

  1. I did get the opportunity to meet him at an Americans for Prosperity event in Hudsonville, Michigan shortly before his death. After he spoke there was a book signing. When it was finally my turn to purchase the book, his people ran out of small bills… so if you didn’t have the exact amount or a credit card, you were out of luck. There were about 3 people ahead of me that were in this situation, they were standing off to the side while a flurry of problem solving going on among his staff. I announced that I had the exact amount for the book and handed a staffer the money. They handed me the book and I proceeded to the table where Mr. Breitbart waited. Apparently, I was supposed to hand him a receipt. proving I had purchased the book, but in the chaos of running low on small bills, the staff had forgotten to give me the receipt. He accused me of stealing his book. He did sign the book after I explained what just occurred. I don’t think he believed me and was quite crabby. So sometimes meeting someone you admire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    • Being someone who has crazies following me online, commenting, and especially going after my husband or me when we’re running for office, I do understand what it’s like to constantly be skeptical of people. Unfortunately, we end up in a bubble where we assume people have the wrong reasons for being there until they’re proven innocent. I know that’s not necessarily the right way to go about it, but it’s just what ends up happening. I’m not making an excuse for Andrew Breitbart — I wasn’t there. All I’m saying is that I someone relate to his likely being skeptical about whether you had actually purchased the book because of the different situation in which he lived.

  2. brettluc says:

    From the point of view of a casual observer, the thing about Breitbart was that he had his facts straight. When he offered $100k for anyone who could produce a recording of Tea Party members spitting and cursing at members of Congress (in 2010 I think) – and there were never any takers – it was great. He wasn’t just a hot-head with a conservative opinion, he did the legwork to support his factual reporting – something sadly lacking in many media outlets.

  3. I couldn’t agree more, he always had his facts straight.

  4. Reblogged this on BeeshaSIM.

  5. Thanks Beesha!

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