My tribute to Andrew Breitbart:
I wrote this within several hours of hearing of Andrew's death on March 1, 2012.
Breitbart vs. The Old Media
I'm old enough to remember where all there was were 3 broadcast channels, one big UHF channel, some big newspapers, Time, Newsweek and a few other magazInes, and that was it. Those were the days of the Old Media.
Early on in my watching and reading of the Old Media, one of the first things that struck me was how UNIFORM they were in their presentation of current events, political issues, and cultural issues.
In my high school days, one of my teachers in my senior year (1983) had us spend an entire hour reading that week's news magazines on Fridays. I spent 4 hours a month for an entire school year poring over Newsweek, Time, US News & World Report, one right after another.
What struck me strongly from my reading was that no matter how diverse or controversial the topics being discussed in these newsweeklies, the authors of the articles would discuss them all from the SAME perspective. Many of them would actually make the same statements almost word for word in their commenting on the events.
TV News was no different from the weekly news mags. Watching ABC News with Peter Jennings, or CBS with Dan Rather, or NBC with Tom Brokaw, I also noticed it didn't really seem to matter which one you watched, they all pretty much covered the same events in the same way. They were practically interchangeable.
This uneasy feeling was fed around 1984 or so when I first stumbled upon William F. Buckley's Firing Line show on PBS. I wasn't even a Conservative at the time, but it was immediatly apparent this gentleman was talking about politics and the culture from a distinctly different perspective than one saw on CBS News, ABC News, NBC, Time Magazine, the New York Times and so on.
What attracted me to Firing Line was the novelty of watching the ominpresent Liberal point of view actually being vigorously debated by someone presenting a radically different point of view, something that was never seen elsewhere in the Old Media.
The second event in my crossing over from Liberal to Conservative was reading Alan Bloom's 'The Closing Of The American Mind'.
Third was reading 'Cultural Literacy by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
At the time of it's publishing the book created quite a stir by demonstrating just how cut off from their American heritage most of the young generation actually was. There was the usual pop quiz answers in which 60% of the high school students polled didn't know Japan wasn't on the side of the Allies in WWII, and so on. The amazing thing was time and time again over 50% of graduating high school students were demonstrated not to have even a basic grasp of American history or the country's cultural foundations. They could not list any of their inalienable rights found in the Constitution, for example. If you don't know what your rights and liberties are, you have no idea when they are being taken from you by the State.
Realizing there was much of America's early history that I was ignorant of, I set about studying the period from 1400-1860, since much of my American history in High School centered about 75% of it's time on the period between the Civil War and the 1960's.
Progressives have to attack the entire concept of American Exceptionalism because the very idea of a Constitutional Republic and it's uniqueness in preserving and protecting the rights and liberties of the individual citizen against the powers of the State is an anathema to Progressive Utopian aims.
The Old Media presented themselves as watchdogs who would protect ordinary Americans from those in power by uncovering corruption and revealing attacks on the rights and freedoms of all Americans by those in government.
Here was the problem, which Breitbart could see more clearly than most: the Old Media not only long ago abandoned it's role as a watchdog, it CO-OPTED THE PROGRESSIVE AGENDA.
No longer neutral and giving all voices a say in the public square, the Old Media deliberately set about ensuring culture, news and politics was covered only from the Left point of view.
The nature of the Old Media came to be that of affirming, establishing, defending the point of view they agreed with, while attacking, misrepresenting and omitting points of view they disagreed with.
What made this doubly infuriating is that the entire time they were doing it - well before the 1940's all the way to the present day - the Old Media insisted on the pretense of being neutral and objective in it's coverage.
And if you pointed out their obvious bias they merely patted you condescendingly on the head and chortled, "Why, my dear boy, you must be imagining that!"
They pissed down the back of the people of this country for decades and told them it was just raining. Triply infuriating? There wasn't much at all that could be done about it. They knew you really didn't have anywhere else to get information.
Had the Old Media been what it proclaimed itself to be, there would have been no need for a New Media.
Now, for a committed Utopian Leftist Progressive in the Old Media, slanting their coverage to fit a point of view they already agree with is as easy and natural as breathing. It only makes perfect sense, after all, to look at things the 'correct' way, and the Left way IS the only 'correct' way.
"I'm covering the news, current events, politics and the culture the way it 'should' be covered - from the Left. I mean, you seriously think I'm going to spend any time trying to objectively present the viewpoint of the racists, sexists, idiots, nuts and flakes on the Right? Why would I do that?"
They went from watchdogs to lap dogs. From guardians of the little guy to mouthpieces for their friends in Washington. They picked sides and they weren't even good at hiding it.
All pretense of being neutral went out the window in 2008. After the long involved love affair between Barack Obama and the Old Media, any claims to objectivity between cultural and political views are absurd. They picked sides and they made it evident.
Breitbart's message was: If the Old Media won't do it's professed job, and protect the individual citizen and his or her rights and liberties from the overweening power of the Utopians in the Progressive movement who are threatening those rights from Washington and elsewhere, then we need a New Media.
Of course, Progressivism is represented in the New Media as well as the Old. There are plenty of blogs and websites devoted to the Progressive point of view on popular culture, current events and politics. If CNN and MSNBC and ABC News and the NYT's, et. al. just aren't giving you enough leftward-slanted stuff to float your boat, you can always hop on the internet and peruse The Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, HuffPo, ThinkProgress, Media Matters, Talking Points Memo and dozens of others.
But here's the thing that drives Progressives NUTS: there's no way to screen out or silence Conservatives like they could with the Old Media.
Now they have to contend with talk radio, Fox News, and dozens upon dozens of influential and popular Conservative websites. Instead of one smothering viewpoint coming nonstop, people actually have alternative viewpoints to choose from.
Of course, the Old Media and it's New Media allies do their level best to engage in the same kind of ridicule, mocking, distorting and misrepresentation of the Conservative viewpoint that the Old Media used to do alone.
The difference now is that Conservatives can use the New Media to talk back. And Progressives don't like this one bit.
Breitbart was fearless about informing them that they'll just have to get used to it. The Old Media monopoly is over, and over for good.
Now that there is a Progressive Utopian in the White House, we need the New Media more than ever to sound the alarm. Even before he assumed the powerful office of the Presidency, Barack Obama openly complained about the 'severe' limitations placed on Federal power by the US Constitution. As if that wasn't the whole point of having the Constitution to start with.
Progressive Utopians believe that America was founded 'wrong' and they need to therefore 'transform' the national foundations from a Constitutional Republic into something like what is seen in Europe, with their top-down socialist and Marixst governmental systems.
Utopians on the Left have always understood amongst themselves that the only way to achieve their plans is to remove certain Constitutional protections that guard the individual American citizen's rights and liberties. They understand full well the entire Constitutional Republic was deliberately set up to thwart any attempt at the very Utopian central planning they want for the country. The group must ALWAYS come before the individual. Where some new mandate or policy runs up against a Constitutional protection of individual liberty, the Constitutional protection MUST lose. There is simply no other way for Progress to be made.
To get the country where they want it to go, to 'transform' it adequately to meet their aims, individual rights must be subsumed to the interests of the State. It's the only way. Once they clear that hurdle, the rest is easy.
But here comes the snag. Many Americans don't want to give up their Constitutional rights and liberties to satisfy some insane Progressive vision of Utopia.
And any responsible media would be siding with the citizens against a State that wants to take away their rights and liberties.
And as Breitbart ceaselessly pointed out: THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT THE OLD MEDIA REFUSED TO DO. The not only picked sides, they picked the wrong one.
Far from sounding the alarm and alerting and warning the citizenry of attempts to undermine their precious liberties and freedoms, instead what we had got was a Old Media that had jumped into bed with the Progressive Utopians. Far from doing their job, they instead became attack dogs for their friends in the State, going after anyone who did try to sound the alarm.
Breitbart and others were not going to stand for this. Not only were they going to speak out, they were going to create a New Media that would do the job the Old Media could and would no longer do.
That's why Breitbart was my hero. He was controversial, combative, and confrontational when facing the Old Media horde and the mobs that support it. Conversely in private conversation with individuals he was charming, friendly and always up for a friendly debate, if it was possible. The very night he died he spent several hours in a bar having a friendly debate with people who disagreed with him.
From his early days in setting up and helping to run The Drudge Report, to co-founding The Huffington Post with Arianna Huffington, to launching out on his own with his 'Big' websites he had one clear goal: American citizens need a watchdog against the State to protect what makes this country great and exceptional. And if the Old Media wouldn't do that job, he'd help build and inspire others to build a New one, brick by brick, line of code by line of code.
Because he cared. He was passionate about freedom and liberty. While those who want to tear America down to the foundations and start it over based on their Utopian fantasies always seemed to be yelling the loudest and most passionately, I remember a man who was just as passionate and yelled back just as loudly.
And he's gone now. Far too soon. But it's OK in the end because I think most of his work was done.
The New Media is up and running. It has found it's voice. No longer will a captive populace be spoon-fed the narratives and memes prepared for it by a Utopian Progressive intelligentsia using their media puppets.
Now they'll have to fight for it, debate for it, persuade for it. The very thing they are most ill-prepared to do because their leaders fully realize they cannot honestly and openly declare what they want and what their real agenda is, because it would force them tell the American people what rights and liberties they would have to surrender to achieve the proposed Utopia they are offering.
Knowing this, their anger at the New Media knows no bounds, and neither does their rage at those who built it, sustain it, and are causing it to grow.
Breitbart hurt them deeply and hugely, and they know it. He's put their entire decades-long enterprise in jeopardy. He might have caused enough Americans to wake up to the danger.
I myself have pledged to carry on Breitbart's work. Anyone who wants to shill for a Progressive Utopia in America that can be had if only certain inalienable rights and freedoms are meekly surrendered is just as much my enemy as they were Breitbart's.
And they're going to know it. This I swear.
I AM ANDREW BREITBART. The real revolution lives on.