Breitbart's breakdown: A video tour

CPAC should have been a party for the new king of anti-liberal journalism. Why'd he waste time braying at enemies?

Published February 21, 2010 2:21PM (EST)

We'll get Mike Madden some kind of hazard pay for spending the weekend at the Conservative Political Action Committee. He captured Dick Cheney's calling Barack Obama a one-term president (as Cheney was, after George W. Bush shook him off a bit in his second term) and 2012 wannabe Tim Pawlenty making a poor-taste Elin Woods joke on the same morning Tiger Woods made a relatively moving apology (within the tired genre) for his transgressions. He  caught Human Events editor Jed Babbin making a joke about the IRS bomber Joseph Stack.  Madden even had to stay for Glenn Beck's Saturday night hysterical meltdown.

Until Beck, though, Saturday was pretty much all Andrew Breitbart, all the time. Madden got the Drudge/HuffPo factotum turned Big Journalism impresario to lose his stuff twice on Saturday – but it didn't just happen to Madden. Various news outlets from Salon to Politico to, yes, Big Journalism caught Breitbart in different states of meltdown. Below you'll find a video guide to Breitbart's CPAC breakdown. But before we introduce those amusing videos:

First, we'd like to clear up some Breitbart misstatements. He opened his attack on Madden blasting Max Blumenthal's piece on ACORN pimp James O'Keefe's "race problems" for placing O'Keefe at a "white supremacist conf-fab." Salon corrected that piece after we learned our sources had no firsthand knowledge that O'Keefe helped organize the right-wing white-nationalist debate – but we never used the term "white supremacist con-fab." It's funny, Breitbart's flunkies have in the past demanded we "retract" that phrase, even though we never used it.

Additionally, Breitbart told Madden he wasn't a fan of Salon's Henry Hyde adultery exposé at the start of the Clinton impeachment follies. Shocking! Talking to Madden, he claimed former Salon editor David Talbot argued "the ends justified the means," but I'm pretty certain he's referencing a Gary Kamiya essay at the time that argued "ugly times call for ugly tactics." Breitbart was also upset Salon ran several articles about GOP adulterers in that era, and he seemed to acknowledge we'd gotten tips about (but didn't run articles on) many more.

He was maybe even more exercised by a satirical article by Dan Savage about covering 2000 Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, in which Savage claimed to have tried to infect the anti-gay Bauer and his staff with his flu. (Of course, Salon immediately said we didn't assign Savage, a freelancer, to do that, and Savage later confessed he'd taken a Jonathan Swift approach to the story.) The second time Madden spoke with Breitbart, the right-wing activist attacked Savage's story in even higher decibels. Suddenly it wasn't clear whether slamming James O'Keefe, exposing Republican adultery, or threatening to give anti-gay right-wingers the flu was tops on Breitbart's list of transgressions.

Still, I'm impressed that Breitbart is seething at Salon stories that are more than a decade old. I'm not quite sure why, though. He would seem to have the world on a string, with his patronship of young conservative muckrakers like pretend pimp O'Keefe and his pretend prostitute Hannah Giles, and his "Andrew Breitbart presents" Big Journalism site. It all seems to be going very well. I don't understand why he's so angry at Salon, and Madden, and the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel, and Max Blumenthal, and everyone else he attacked this weekend. My advice to Breitbart is to let his journalism speak for itself. That's what Salon does, and it's worked well for almost 15 years. Vein-swelling red-faced snarling at other journalists? That may feel good – actually, it doesn't look like it feels very good at all. But either way, it doesn't get the work done.

And here are the greatest hits of snarling Breitbart's Saturday meltdown:


By Joan Walsh

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