“What Andrew really does better than anybody [is] he brings the excitement,” says University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds, perhaps better known as the blogger behind Instapundit.com. [Minor error here: note that the interviewer calls Glenn a conservative at this point in the audio, when he’s actually a libertarian, but still. — Ed] “He is a showman and he is an expert in understanding how media and political people think and turning that into a kind of jujitsu that works to his advantage in a real big way.”
Breitbart came by that knowledge through hard-won experience. He’s a native Angelino and hung around Hollywood, but was turned off by what he says is its smothering liberalism. [I’d love to know what NPR calls Hollywood’s ideology — Ed] He became a lead editor for Matt Drudge on the right-of-center Drudge Report. Through Drudge, he met and worked as a researcher for Arianna Huffington while she was a conservative columnist. That meant he also helped launch the liberal Huffington Post after her political transformation.
He returned to work with Drudge but built up Breitbart.com as a landing spot for people who clicked on many of the Drudge Report’s links. He bulked it up with copious copy from news services and a second site with video stories. Nielsen now estimates his monthly audience at more than 3 million unique visitors, roughly the same as for Drudge.
When Breitbart launched BigGovernment.com, he did it using O’Keefe’s now infamous undercover ACORN videos. They appeared to show workers for the community activist group aiding a couple who sought to create a ring of underage prostitutes.
“The mainstream media did everything that it could not to report that story, but we knew that going in,” Breitbart says. “The entire strategy of dripping out the videos — one after another — waiting for ACORN to lie about it, waiting for mainstream media to ignore it, created an unbelievable pressure in the ‘undermedia,’ which is AM talk radio and the blogosphere.”
A New Kind Of Journalism
He says, and O’Keefe says, they are performing a new kind of journalism. No less a figure than Clark Hoyt, the public editor of The New York Times, rebuked the paper for failing to inform readers promptly about the ACORN videos and the consequences that ensued. But reporters at other outlets have repeatedly questioned O’Keefe’s tactics: the deception; the editing choices in the ACORN videos.
When liberal critics at such outfits as Media Matters or Talking Points Memos raise questions about accuracy and fairness, Breitbart just goes on the offensive.
It all leads Hoyt to some real reservations.
“It is primarily, I believe, aimed at trying to score ideological points,” Hoyt says. “It is not about the broader mission that I think organizations, like the Times, set for themselves — which is, I think, broadly informing the public.”
And that last sentence dovetails absolutely perfectly into this Newsbusters article: “Campaign Insider Tells How Media Refused to Cover John Edwards Affair.”
Just to remind you that old media wears its ideological blinders so tightly, that Hoyt probably believes what he just said is actually true.