Righteous Indignation, by Andrew Breitbart
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Book Group
Andrew Breitbart is a rebel with a cause and a clue. What sets him apart from the other culture warriors and what infuriates his opponents, is that he has their number. Andrew Breitbart knows his enemy.
His recent book, subtitled, Excuse Me While I Save the World,is part autobiography and part testimonial. In it, he reveals his somewhat unconventional emergence from narcissist conformist de facto liberal and self proclaimed Gen-X slacker, to reluctant culture warrior.
He traces his upbringing with his middle class 7-day-a-week-restaurant-owning parents, who treated the elite and the unworthy alike with the same respect and dignity, as formative, but not yet indicative, of the life he would eventually lead after his hedonistic and self-medicating existence through college. Andrew Breitbart was a default liberal, who jeered with the elite and embraced a hatred of conservatives, that was more parroted than informed.
His own conversion experience was less about a march to the truth and the inexorable pursuit of the blinding light of clarity, and more about a rejection of grunge music, which drove him to the format (AM radio), where he would eventually find an alternative to the drone-like liberal content in the wasteland of Mass media.
Instrumental in Breitbart’s journey of discovery, it turns out, was his father-in-law and intellectual mentor, the marvelously witty and gregarious Orson Bean, (whom I remember fondly from his many appearances on the Tonight Show and various panel shows, like To Tell the Truth and What’s My Line). Apparently, it was this same Orson Bean who challenged Breitbart to listen to Rush Limbaugh before making the typical mass media judgments against him. To Breitbart’s credit, he did.
He talks about his years with Arianna Huffington, where he began his journey into the new world, and where he cut his teeth, having in effect, started The Huffington Post. He speaks with both disdain, respect, and some pain about this time, and how it led him to understand the internet revolution, and transformed him into a willing pioneer of New Media.
Andrew Breitbart does nothing small. He has a flourish of energy and passion that is uncompromising. Yet, he manages to avoid the shrillness that can overpower the most even-keeled when stymied by the lack of outrage that would seem to be demanded from a world where lies are spread like peanut butter from one end of the media spectrum to the other and disinformation flourishes like weeds in an untended garden, choking out and overpowering the truth.
Well, enter Breitbart the Weed-eater. He has no trepidation and no fear. He is one massive digester of liars and scoundrels. He reckons the Democrat-Media Complex, as he calls it, as one big slow monolithic, ill-prepared, pop-culture infused, un-researched, bullying megaphone. Against them, Breitbart lays out his rules of engagement. Starting with, as he says, “entering the arena and getting in the fight.” Plant the seeds of doubt into the apolitical minds of the masses who simply go with the flow. And he walks us through his 13 rules of attack. There is nothing defensive here… Breitbart is all about offense. And he shows us why we have no choice, but to do the same.
And this is the heart of the book. It is a book written for those who are in the journalism game (and he says we all can be citizen journalists on our own turf) as well as for those of us who are willing to take the opportunity to engage and fight the endless lies and agenda driven public and leftist cultural narrative that we confront in our living rooms, in polite or impolite company, in the workplace, or on Facebook. Andrew Breitbart hates bullies and his rules of engagement are the textbook for how to deal with them. It’s a fight to win hearts and minds and it’s not going to be won, as you might guess, by cowering and defending ourselves against name calling and accusations of racism and greed or any other baseless epithet that is thrown our way. Bretibart insists that it’s about meeting them head on.
The book goes on to cover the behind-the-scenes story on the ACORN exposé done by young James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, and how the MSM ignored it and then were summarily exposed as having spiked a story so big that Congress ended up defunding Acorn altogether. But what’s fascinating is how Goliath was felled by these Davids, who had nothing but a video camera and guts beyond measure. The key as Breitbart knew, was to flank them at their own game. The grand advantage in tactics is to have a guy who knows the Machine. Breitbart put together a steady drip of truth, one tape at a time into the IV of the information flow, until finally it savaged the stream and pushed it into the light and they couldn’t ignore it anymore.
He also covers the celebrated Capitol walk, where Tea Partiers were reported as racists for hurling slurs that were never uttered. He stood his ground and said “bring it,” offering $100,000 for proof that never materialized. In one story after another Big Journalism was there, up against the Machine, and cracking through the Cone of Silence.
Andrew Breitbart exists by dint of his own courage and by being the beneficiary of the great upbringing and mentoring he received from those whose vision, honor and civility are representative of an America sadly absent in the Complex. He seeks to defend the America of that upbringing. We are fortunate that he rose to the occasion. Righteous Indignation is an unorthodox trip that has only just begun.