Recorded this past Saturday at Western CPAC, when Andrew Breitbart of Big Government, Big Hollywood and other sites in the burgeoning Breitbart new media empire held an interview with the bloggers covering the event. Breitbart expands on the remarks he told the Washington Post:
“When I saw these videos [by O’Keefe and Giles], I couldn’t help thinking, this is the Abu Ghraib of the Great Society,” said Breitbart, who put the videos on BigGovernment.com. “Everybody that is a conservative news junkie thinks that ACORN is the most important institution for us to uncover to the American public.”
And speaking of the Post, as Dave Weigel wrote last month in a competing DC newspaper, the Washington Independent:
When one report from The Washington Post called him for a story about O’Keefe and Giles, Breitbart compared their tape to the photos of Abu Ghraib prison released in April 2004.
“She goes, ‘Wait a second! I worked on the Abu Ghraib stories,’” said Breitbart. “I go, ‘Yeah, that was one aberrant National Guard unit. And now I have five ACORN places that are all complicit in the exact same thing. And there are more!’” (The reporter, Carol Leonning told TWI that the conversation did not go this way, but that she enjoyed getting Breitbart’s take “very much.”)
Breitbart, angered by the Post’s eventual story–it seemed to intimate that O’Keefe and Giles had been motivated by ACORN’s registration of non-white voters, in a line that was corrected days later–moved right on. BigGovernment had claimed a victory that conservative journalists and activists had been seeking for years, occasionally embarrassing ACORN with a state lawsuit, but drawing no blood. It was a natural next step for Breitbart. Until a few years ago he was known mostly as the man behind the curtain of The Drudge Report and a ringleader for Hollywood’s quiet community of political conservatives. (Breitbart lives in Los Angeles and runs his web operations from an office in his basement.) With the launch of BigGovernment, he is gaining new recognition as the conservative movement’s most successful — in terms of damaging liberals — new media pioneer.
“I get accused of breaking some journalism school rules,” said Breitbart. “Well, why don’t we have the Howard Kurtz conversation on a low-rated CNN show after this? Or at a J-school of your choice? I’m willing to be accused of being a monster.”
Actually, in the interview with Western CPAC, Breitbart describes himself as a latter-day “merry prankster”, happily attempting to make the media play by their own self-professed rules; or as an earlier generation’s chief prankster once wrote:
Make opponents live up to their own book of rules. “You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.
Of course, these days, the legacy media are very much their own religion; not for nothing did Hugh Hewitt once dub Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism “the highest temple of a religion in decline.”
Click below to watch, or visit my YouTube page to watch the interview in a variety of other formats. The group interview with Andrew was somewhat hastily announced, which is why I used the cigarette pack-sized Sony Webbie HD I happened to have on me to record it; be on the lookout for more from the event, albeit hopefully in a slightly smoother form, and recorded on more sophisticated gear. But I think Andrew’s remarks compensate for the handheld videography:
Breitbart’s appearance at CPAC, and his speech after this interview to the assembled masses on new media, was one of the high points of Western CPAC. At Hot Air, fellow Western CPAC attendee Ed Morrissey has been doing an excellent job documenting some of the less-than-stellar moments there, including the gentleman on our new media panel who espoused the virtues of a truly bleeding edge social media technology — the fax machine(!) — and another nontraditional journalist’s attempt at a kamikaze interview with the one of the conference’s chief organizers.
(Click here to watch my earlier interview with Liz Stephans and Scott Baker of Breitbart.TV for their take on Internet video versus another territory of the ancien media regime — television.)
Update: The above clip was the conclusion of Breitbart’s chat with the bloggers at Western CPAC. The fellas at Verum Serum have video of the first few minutes his conversation.