As you may know, the Big sites were all offline today, first 404-ing, and redirecting back to the Breitbart.com homepage. I stepped away from my computer for about 20 minutes and came back just now and saw this:
Today, as Andrew dreamed and planned, we launch what he called “Breitbart 2.0.”
Many of you wondered what he was working on so hard during the last year of his life. Here it is.
This was Andrew’s design. And it is Big, like everything else about him. It took him – and all of us – sleepless nights and countless hours to make it a reality.
We go forward infused with Andrew’s fire, his fight, his humor and his warrior spirit.
His voice lives on now through us and through you – the army of friends and citizen journalist contributors he so deeply inspired and whom he, in turn, admired.
Andrew’s battle – our battle – has only just begun.
And if you’re looking for more on Andrew, Ricochet.com has set up an archive of all of their Breitbart-related posts, which is accessible here.
Update: I’ve been meaning to link to PJTV’s report from the day of Breitbart’s death, in which Bill Whittle first confirmed that he had been aware of Andrew’s health problems:
And yes, that’s me at the beginning of the video, sitting next to Andrew and Glenn Reynolds for one of the first segments recorded during the launch of PJTV at the 2008 Republican convention:
In his post at the Tatler calling an Army of Breitbarts (to paraphrase the meme from the other new media pioneer I was seated next to in 2008), Zombie writes, “A good muckraking investigative journo-activist breaks shocking stories that change the political landscape. A great muckraking investigative journo-activist — like Andrew Breitbart — shows us that anybody can do what he does:”
Because that’s the secret of Andrew Breitbart’s career: He rose to the top despite not possessing any unique skills.
He wasn’t a great writer. Not bad; just serviceable. He didn’t have a PhD. He personally wasn’t very handy with a camera. (Though he certainly knew what to do with newsworthy photos or footage once he got his hands on them.) He wasn’t an economic theorist. He wasn’t a beacon of moral purity. He wasn’t a deep philosopher. He wasn’t even a professional journalist.
But whatever he did, he did with gusto. And not just run-of-the-mill gusto: extreme gusto.
When he got the ball, he never fumbled. He sent would-be tacklers flying. And even if his team wasn’t on offense, he’d snatch the ball anyway and score a backfield touchdown before the other guys even knew what happened.
One thing we must learn from Andrew’s life: If Breitbart could do it, anyone could do it. We no longer have any excuse. America’s bloggers and citizen-journalists and new-media mavens need to get off our collective asses and make news happen.
Every day, you need to ask yourself: What Would Breitbart Do?
Great advice — but…
There are certainly elements of what Andrew did that anybody can do. Anybody can quickly launch a blog. (is it just me, or does the new Breitbart logo look a lot like the old Blogger.com logo? Does that imply a connection between a former and current bastion of citizen journalism?) Anybody can learn to record their own podcasts and videos. But few people understood how both new media and old media worked and how intertwined they were; as another Andrew in new media — Andrew Klavan — told me today in a podcast interview that will be online early this week:
When [Breitbart] talked about how information flowed and how the left corrupted the flow of information, he made it visual. He actually seemed to see what he was talking about. And he had this unique genius for affecting that flow. The way he timed stories. The way he released them. The ways he held information back until the mainstream media made their attempt to corrupt the narrative, and then slammed them with a second punch that brought the narrative back where he believed the truth lay.
To lose that skill, to lose that talent. I mean, I was extraordinarily fond of the man personally. I was very, very fond of him. To lose him is a personal blow. But just speaking politically and culturally, to lose that particular skill, he was just irreplaceable.
I witnessed Breitbart’s ability to discuss how media worked and information flowed in an almost “visual” fashion in person. As I said in 2005, “Breitbart knows the X’s and O’s of Internet news much the same way that Bill Walsh knows the West Coast Offense. You can almost see the sparks flying as he talks.” You can see it in Peter Robinson’s April of 2009 Uncommon Knowledge interview with Breitbart, back when Andrew had just launched Big Hollywood, his first “Big” site:
This was shortly before Breitbart becoming a master showman in the last years of his life. Any blogger can do some of what Andrew did, but would you want to jump up to the podium and make yourself the star of Anthony Weiner’s press conference? Would you even think of doing it?
He says Twitter killed Breitbart, with an assist from his ever-beeping Blackberry.
Unlike lots of folks praising Breitbart’s bulldog warrior habits-of-being — engaging in hours long RT skirmishes online — Whittle says that’s precisely what led to Breitbart’s extremely premature death.
The very things many grieving people say they will miss most about their friend — his bottomless, Viking-warrior-king-like appetite for food, drink and combat — are the very things that pushed him through the exit.
His lust for life killed him.
If you’re safely alive and looking at all this from a distance, as 99.99999% of us are, that’s what you call “ironic.”
If you’re Breitbart’s widow and four children? I don’t have the words.
I know that if I were his wife, I — being me, after all — would likely be muttering over and over again:
Happy now? Happy now? Happy now?
Addressing myself to my late husband.
And to his cheerleaders as well as his enemies.
Yes, we should all be Breitbart (as long as we occasionally find the time to get away from blogging and Twitter for sanity and health’s sake). But we’re going to find that the man himself very, very difficult to replace. Particularly since the left are doing their damndest at this moment to destroy his predecessor in big media.
Update: From Jim Treacher: “Want to know why the left hated Andrew Breitbart so much? Because he took their cognitive dissonance and did magic tricks with it.” Don’t miss the video.