I learned on Saturday that Andrew Breitbart's Big Government site had directly responded to my blog post from last weekend: "Breitbart's breakdown: A video tour." Fairness requires that we share Breitbart's side of the story.
Big Government writer Andrew Marcus took on the question: "Did Andrew Breitbart breakdown at CPAC?" and his answer is kind of complicated. At first the video introduced by Marcus in Breitbart's defense seems to take issue with the term "breakdown," but it quickly shows Breitbart in such extreme states of distress, that the issue doesn't seem to be the word "breakdown." The larger point seems to be that anyone would have a breakdown, given the way liberal media has treated Breitbart.
The video produced by FoundingBloggers.org opens with three quick shots of Breitbart shrieking – at journalist Max Blumenthal, One Peoples Project Daryle Jenkins and The Washington Independent's Dave Weigel. If we'd edited it quite that way, Breitbart would have called it unfair. But this is how his Big Government site wants the story to go.
"You're the most despicable life form I've ever seen!" he screams at Blumenthal. "Get out of my face, get out of my face, get out of my face!" he yells at Jenkins. "Fuck. You. John. Podesta!" he shrieks into Weigel's….notebook? I think so. The sight of the large-ish Breitbart bending over to be at shouting level with Weigel's pupik doesn't seem to belong on a video trying to deny he's having a breakdown. As the opening to a pro-Breitbart video, it's a counter-intuitive approach, I gotta say.
The narrative gets a bit more Breitbart-friendly from there, for a minute, mainly because the video is shot from behind the rightwing media mogul's back, which makes him look less unhinged than when the viewer is staring into his snarl (as when watching Mike Madden's Breitbart's videos on Salon). But you can't accuse Marcus and the videographers of cutting out the crazy. They actually show Breitbart's ultimate breakdown: When Madden asks, reasonably, whether James O'Keefe and Breitbart ever exposed ACORN abetting actual prostitution (rather than the prank prostitution O'Keefe and Hannah Giles tried to represent), Breitbart, by anyone's measure, kind of goes off the deep end, shaking and shuddering and flapping his hands as he yells at Madden:
They posed as a pimp and a hooker! I don't understa-a-a-nd what you're taking about! Why do you think that's a point? Why don't you care about ACORN? Why don't you care about ACORN? Do you only care about the nuances? Did you see the tapes? Are you insane?
At the end of that segment the video shifts to show my Breitbart blog post on Salon, so you can actually see Breitbart's face, as filmed by Madden, full of rage. So they're not white-washing what went on, to their credit. I guess.
The crux of Marcus's argument is that Breitbart's hysteria is justified, because in Breitbart's words, "The worst thing you can do ...in politically correct America…is accuse somebody of being a (sic) racism." Certainly some journalists have examined the racial point of view that motivated Breitbart's young protege, O'Keefe. Blumenthal's Salon article detailed O'Keefe's involvement in a white nationalist debate featuring American Renaissance's Jared Taylor (we corrected the article to take out the charge that O'Keefe helped organize the event). Blumenthal and the New York Times and others have written about O'Keefe's racially tinged pranks at Rutgers, where he organized a spoof "affirmative action bake sale" (where minorities got discounts) and protested the cafeteria carrying "Lucky Charms" cereal because it belittled Irish Americans. Then there's that silly pimp stunt, with a fur coated costume borrowed straight from blaxploitation movies. It's fair to raise questions about O'Keefe (and Breitbart's) racial attitudes.
But even more to the point, it's ludicrous to say the worst thing you can accuse anyone of today is "being a racism," or even a racist, as Breitbart argues. It's clearly worse to be accused of supporting death panels for elderly people, of usurping the presidency you're not eligible for, of being the murderous "Joker" from the Batman series, of being a totalitarian Marxist when you're a mainstream corporate Democrat – all the charges the increasingly unhinged right routinely toss at Barack Obama.
So Breitbart's playing the victim is particularly funny, especially as he tries to build his self-promoting "Big Government," "Big Journalism" and "Big Hollywood" sites -- and also make Big Threats. The video ends with Breitbart once again menacing liberals. "Fuck. You. John. Podesta!" we see him yell again --again into Dave Weigel's pupik. Breitbart walks on, bent over, a little breathless: "What's in your closet, John Podesta? Big Podesta? Big Soros? Do you want us to play these games? Because we're playing to win!"
Then he walks away from Weigel, his bulky backpack slung over the shoulder of his rumpled suit, into another CPAC breakout room, a lonely warrior looking for his next battle with liberalism. A few days later he promised Fox News's Greg Gutfeld he'd bring down the "institutional left within the next three weeks." That doesn't leave much time. Stay tuned.
Here's the Founding Bloggers video posted on Big Government: