Missing Breitbart

Just before Christmas, after only being able to watch it in bits and pieces during October and November, I finally had the chance to take in the documentary film Hating Breitbart in one sitting.

What prompted me to do so was some unfortunate news, namely a lawsuit filed by the immensely talented Dana Loesch signifying that the late Andrew Breitbart's nascent publishing empire may be imploding. I hope I'm wrong about that, but based on my limited conversations with him when he was alive and my observations from afar, I completely agree with those who say that Andrew never would have let things get to this point. That whoever is currently running things at Breitbart has allowed such a deterioration to occur seems not to bode well for the operation's long-term success, or even its survival.

While viewing the film, I could not help but wonder whether November's presidential election might have turned out differently if Andrew had not died on March 1.

Despite all the establishment press hype about Barack Obama's "convincing" victory, the fact remains that he won with a smaller percentage of the popular vote (50.6%) than every successful incumbent in the past century except three, all Democrats who failed to achieve popular vote majorities: Bill Clinton in 1996, the second time he won with only a minority of the popular vote; Harry Truman in 1948 in a four-way race; and Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Fewer than 200,000 switched votes in four battleground states would have changed November's outcome to a Romney win.

Breitbart is one of the main reasons why a Republican candidate, and especially one who we have since learned really didn't want to run for the office, even had a ghost of a chance against Obama. That's because in September 2009, as Hating Breitbart demonstrates, he ensured that filmmaker James O'Keefe's undercover videos at ACORN locations throughout the country would receive the visibility they deserved.

But he did much more than that. His slow-drip approach to releasing the videos baited ACORN head Bertha Lewis into repeatedly claiming that O'Keefe had exhausted his supply of damning material. Every time Lewis said that, another outrageous, offensive, scandalous, and embarrassing episode would appear.

After desperately trying to ignore the story in its first few days, the press went into gullibly relaying Lewis's spin, along with her bogus charges that O'Keefe's work was "heavily edited" (even though he, unlike his critics, posted his raw footage), that he was somehow racist, and that what he was doing was somehow not legitimate "journalism." This last point particularly reeked of hypocrisy. ABC's Food Lion debacle in the 1990s involved undercover reporters acting as participants and egging on reluctant fellow employees to do things they wouldn't have otherwise wanted to do. By contrast, O'Keefe and partner Hannah Giles merely posed as clients (a pimp and his prostitute) needing help, and watched ACORN employees freely reveal the degrees of treachery, criminality, and exploitation they would shamelessly support.