By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media
Wednesday, March 1 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of conservative icon Andrew Breitbart. We think it is important to remember his legacy, as his name is heard often these days, and his influence looms large. For those not familiar with him, Andrew was a larger than life character who figured in the establishment of several prominent media institutions that play significant roles in today’s journalistic landscape. He was first associated with the Drudge Report, famous for scooping Newsweek on its Monica Lewinsky story; The Huffington Post, the very popular leftwing blog; and Breitbart News, from which came the left’s chief bogeyman, and Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.
Five years after his untimely death, we at Accuracy in Media want to remind people who Breitbart was, and why he is so influential in an age of so much fake news by the mainstream media. AIM presented Andrew with the Reed Irvine Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2010, and he gave an historic speech before a packed room that called out the media for its dishonesty.
“I want to convert these people, not to conservatism,” Breitbart said of the media during his acceptance speech. “[Reporters will] eventually get there if they get to see the facts. I want to hold these people accountable to the standards that they offer at the J school, that is objective journalism.”
Breitbart was greatly concerned about bias in the media. During a 2011 interview on Accuracy in Media’s Take AIM, he spoke extensively about the “Democrat Media Complex.” The extent of cooperation between the media and Democrats was more recently revealed through leaked emails during the 2016 presidential election.
“I’m filling in a void where the mainstream media, the Democrat Media Complex, will not report stories that hurt the Democrat Media Complex,” said Breitbart on Take AIM. “So these are boom times for my site, and the people who are writing for me are passionate citizen-journalists who now realize if Katie Couric’s not going to tell the truth, then we as average citizens—lawyers, doctors and actors, housewives, retired people—can report. They can expose, they can videotape—and it’s the most exciting time in the history of media.”
Matt Gertz of Media Matters, a fringe, left-wing “watchdog” that is really just an attack dog for the Clintons, recently penned a hit job reprinted by Salon about what he sees as the dangers of Breitbart’s legacy.
“Breitbart.com spent years shilling for Trump’s candidacy,” writes Gertz. In particular, in the two years since 2015, “the Republican establishment has been routed by the Breitbart-led forces who pushed Trump to the front of the Republican presidential primary field and supported him at every step of the way,” writes Gertz. “Bannon moved seamlessly from head of Breitbart, to head of Trump’s campaign, to Trump’s top White House aide.”
It is to Breitbart’s credit that left-wing columnists still write reactionary pieces about his movement five years after his death. Media Matters and its founder, David Brock, have come to be viewed as quite an albatross for the Democrats, many of whom would like to see him go away. According to an article last month in The Daily Beast, “Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man [David Brock] not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.”
Breitbart’s enduring legacy is not only the influence that his successors have had on President Trump, but also the influence he has had on the conservative movement as a whole. Breitbart News follows in its founder’s footsteps by offering an incisive alternative to the biased media. Breitbart’s views of the so-called mainstream media certainly belong in today’s discussion about fake news, journalistic bias, and the integrity of reporters. Contrary to Gertz’s negative insinuations, the media’s attempts to delegitimize Trump and his presidency through the use of trivial fact checks, or fake news, must be combatted by new media reporters from organizations such as Breitbart. These conservative writers have the power to push back against the media’s lies and fearmongering.
Andrew was a friend of Accuracy in Media. I conducted what may be the most comprehensive interview covering his background and views of the media. For example, Breitbart contended that “the reason why there are so many default cultural liberals out there is because so few conservatives are willing to go into the liberal world to espouse their point of view.”
“And if you go out there and you fight the fight, you tell the truth, oftentimes you can expose the interviewer—who’s never really been challenged—that he’s a fraud,” Breitbart continued.
“I’m appalled by the Democratic Party as relates to race,” he said during the interview. “For these people, with their track record of enslaving black people, telling them they only have one point of view in this country, while, at the same time, destroying their communities, it’s a crime against humanity—and I’m willing to fight. And if being called a racist for wanting to create a better society where black people have the freedom to think freely, if they want to call me a racist on national TV, I’m going to go there, and I’m going to fight back.”
Ironically, five years later Media Matters is accusing Breitbart reporters of becoming a platform for the alt-right, a code word used by the left to mean racism. Bannon has made clear that he has an entirely different definition for the term. He told The Wall Street Journal, “Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.”
Gertz also criticized Breitbart for his favorable view of Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy, calling Gaffney a “paranoid conspiracy theorist.” Accuracy in Media, and the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi members, are quite aware of liberal columnists’ predilection for labeling conservative messages as conspiracy theories. As for Gaffney, Breitbart had it right, as we have demonstrated, and Media Matters is once again peddling fake news.
“An ascendant Breitbart.com and President Trump are truly Andrew Breitbart’s greatest legacy,” writes Gertz. Actually, Breitbart’s legacy is a burgeoning conservative movement ready to take on a mainstream media which has long since abandoned its objectivity and journalistic standards. And we are proud to stand with him, and to remember this great American.