LOS ANGELES, March 1, 2012 – Conservative journalist and firebrand Andrew Breitbart died unexpectedly early this morning, reportedly from natural causes. He was 43. He’d visited Washington just last month to confront CPAC demonstrators who were attempting to disrupt that conservative organization’s meeting in the nation’s capital.
According to a report in this morning’s online LA Times, Breitbart “collapsed while walking near his Brentwood home.” The Times reports that Brietbart “Breitbart was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center about midnight, where he was pronounced dead of natural causes.”
An AP report stated that actor and longtime Hollywood fixture Orson Bean, Mr. Breitbart’s father-in-law, indicated that a neighbor saw his son-in-law collapse and called for emergency services. According to Mr. Bean, Mr. Breitbart was known to have heart issues.
Staffers at the Breitbart websites are currently refraining from comments. But Mr. Breitbart’s main website, BigGovernment.com, published the following statement today:
“We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.
“Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love.
“Andrew recently wrote a new conclusion to his book, Righteous Indignation:
“I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.
Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night.
“Andrew is at rest, yet the happy warrior lives on, in each of us.”
Muckraking online journalist Matt Drudge employed Mr. Breitbart early on at his own operation before the latter spun out on his own. Mr. Drudge has posted the following banner on his Drudge Report website:
“In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what’s happening. I don’t think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind’s eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20’s. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today… MDRUDGE”
Predictably, overjoyed left-wing Internet trolls were having a field day celebrating Mr. Breitbart’s death, filling the Twittersphere with ghoulish hallelujahs. According to news broke this morning of the tragic death of Conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart, liberals celebrated the news on Twitter. According to the online Examiner’s Charlie Spiering
“The most influential tweet came from Slate’s Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), who tweeted: “Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead.” Other typically ghoulish entries included the following:
“@AndrewBreitbart haha youre dead and in hell being a gay with hitler
“Andrew Breitbart now enjoying afternoon tea with Hitler #goodriddanceyouhack
“Andrew Breitbart died? Is it wrong that I’m happier about that than when they got bin Laden and Saddam?”
Ironically, Mr. Breitbart loved to joust with his online attackers. Conservative writer Jonah Goldberg told FoxNews that “one of Breitbart’s favorite pastimes was to retweet the nasty things other people said about him. ‘He considered it a badge of honor,’” according to Goldberg.
Andrew Breitbart was born in 1969. Although his ethnicity is Irish, he was adopted by a Brentwood couple, Gerald Breitbart, a Jewish restaurateur, and his wife Arlene, a Jewish convert and was raised in the Jewish faith. Details of Mr. Breitbart’s birth are unclear, although he once explained to Slate that his real biological father had been a folk singer.
Mr. Breitbart attended college at Tulane University where he was awarded a B.A. in American studies in 1991. Like many young Americans at the time, he ascribed to liberal beliefs, but changed his politics as a result of the embarrassing Clarence Thomas hearings in Congress, moving toward his own brand of conservatism tinged with libertarianism.
Shifting from job to job, Mr. Breitbart tried his hand in cable TV and journalism, but eventually signed on to edit for Matt Drudge whose old-style muckraking journalism—which owed as much to Walter Winchell as to the movie “The Front Page”—he’d come to greatly admire.
But eventually, Mr. Breitbart decided he’s like to strike out on his own, constructing a series of websites that were meant to serve as conservative gadflies exposing the left wing propaganda he felt had become the standard fare of journalism, government, Tinseltown, and “peace” organizations.
Mr. Breitbart meteoric rise to media fame got a boost when he started practicing his own “60 Minutes” style of “gotcha” journalism. He upped the ante by giving his journalistic sting operations an unmistakable, unaccustomed conservative hook. He was instrumental in unmasking the shady dealings of ACORN, a “community organization” favored by Barack Obama but notorious for its attempts to interfere with the electoral process in the 2008 presidential elections.
He also scooped the major media in the “WeinerGate” affair, exposing the former New York Congressman’s “sexting” peccadiloes before anyone else looked into them. The ensuing scandal eventually forced Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, to resign from Congress in disgrace.
Perhaps Mr. Breitbart’s most interesting journalistic coup revolved around some Congressional Democrats’ unproven allegations that Tea Partiers hurled racial epithets at black congressmen during a Capitol Hill protest revolving around the passage of ObamaCare. Regarding such charges as unfounded slanders, Mr. Breitbart challenged these Democrats to provide audio or video proof of their allegations, promising to write a check for $10,000 to anyone who could do so. As of today, no one has yet responded to Mr. Brietbart’s offer or asked for the monetary reward, essentially proving his point.
As recently as last month, Mr. Brietbart arrived in Washington to joust with “Occupy” protesters who were attempting to infiltrate CPAC’s latest meeting in the nation’s capital. Once inside the event, he addressed the CPAC conferees who gave him an enthusiastic welcome.
Mr. Brietbart is survived by his wife, Susannah, and their four children. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made public as of this writing.
This report will be updated as more details become available.
Follow Terry on Twitter @terryp17
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