Sell Out: How I Started Working With Breitbart

One frequent accusation thrown at me by some liberals is that my opinions are dishonest or untrustworthy because I work and am friends with notorious conservative publisher and roller blader Andrew Breitbart. The criticism usually comes in the following form…

The argument is so simplistic: I think what I think because someone gave me money. Of course, these people weren’t making these same arguments when I was getting money from liberal groups MoveOn or Brave New Films or Talking Points Memo. Taking money from them didn’t cloud my judgment or impair my thinking, apparently. Nope. Only money that has passed through the hands of someone conservative has the magic power to make me change my ideas.

Of course, this is a stupid line of attack. It’s a variant of the ‘you’re a secret Republican!’ argument. But it’s not just bad rhetoric. It’s actually completely backwards. It’s not that I’m seeing the liberal hypocrisy in sharper focus now because I work with Andrew Breitbart. Instead, I work with Andrew Breitbart because I was already seeing the hypocrisy in stark relief.

The turning point for me was the Jon Stewart’s Rally To Restore Sanity last year. I thought that event had significant message that got lost – both liberals and conservatives need to chill. Stewart said in his closing speech…

Not being able to distinguish between real racists and Tea Party-ers, or real bigots and Juan Williams or Rick Sanchez, is an insult, not only to those people, but to the racists themselves who have put in the exhausting effort it takes to hate.

And I thought, “Right on.” Sane, balanced point from Jon Stewart and delivered to his mostly liberal audience. He’s influential and I had high hope for about 4 hours.

Then, the crushing liberal backlash against Stewart began.

It seemed that lots of liberals loved the idea of ‘sanity’ as long as they could still call conservatives crazy and stupid. Olbermann, Bill Maher, Mother Jones and on and on – they all attacked Stewart and threw around the phrase ‘false equivalence’ as much as possible.

So I thought about writing a HuffPost piece about this idea that the left was missing the entire point of what Stewart was trying to say. I wanted to interview someone, so I tried to think of the most reviled person in the world by left and Andrew Breitbart sprung.to mind. I only know a little about him. I remembered he was involved the Shirley Sherrod thing and that ACORN thing but my knowledge of these events was pretty shallow. I knew he was called a racist, a homophobe and every other name under the sun.

But I also remembered something I’d seen months earlier.

It was an appearance on Good Morning, America with Andrew Breitbart and Eric Boehlert. I’d watched it because I knew Eric Boehlert, who’d written about me and the John Edwards story in his book Bloggers on the Bus. So when I watched, I was a lot more inclined to agree with Boehlert than Breitbart.

There’s a part in that segment where Breitbart discusses the story about racial epithets being yelled at members of the Congressional Black Caucus by members of the Tea Party; a story that was widely reported in the left wing blogosphere. It was so widely reported, I just assumed it was true but here was this Breitbart guy saying he had video tapes that proved the incident didn’t happened as described. Okay, that was interesting – maybe I had the story wrong and this Breitbart guy seemed eager to prove it,

And then – on live television– Eric Boehlert & George Stephanopoulos totally blew off Breitbart’s offer to show them the video tapes.

That stuck with me for months. The story was either true or not and here was someone eager to get to the truth and the liberal host and other liberal guest weren’t a bit interested. And it seemed so dishonest. I knew if they thought the video proved their case, it’d be shown all day and night. It didn’t make me proud to be on the same side ideologically as Boehlert and Stephanopoulos.

So, back in November I noticed that Patterico – who I knew slightly online – wrote occasionally for one of Breitbart’s sites. I asked him for a contact for an interview Patterico set it up and I called Andrew a few days later. Breitbart and I talked for a couple of hours. He told me about Pigford and we started officially working together a month or so later.

But it didn’t take more than a couple of days from when I first started talking to Breitbart and then doing hours of research on my own, I realized the truth about the Shirley Sherrod story and the ACORN story were very different than I’d that I’d been led to believe by the liberal media who I’d trusted. In fact, the misinformation about these two stories is so rampant and has been drilled into people’s head so many times that it resembles brainwashing.

Some of this research was tricky because, frankly, the left has done a much better job of presenting a written narrative. It’s not true but it’s organized and sure has the optics of truth. If you sort of  squint your eyes at a Media Matters story on Breitbart, it LOOKS like something factual…the same way that Jack Nicholson’s insane typing resembled a book in The Shining.

 

A couple of weeks back, I encouraged Andrew Breitbart to reach out a little to the other side and write something for The Huffington Post. He wrote a piece about the just breaking NPR scandal and he brought up those video tapes again that show that stories about the Tea Party’s racism were fake as the recent ‘poor people can only carry $20’. story. Over 1,600 and once again, he was ignored by people who care about maintaining a falsehood or worse, who never even bothered to click the links he included. All. Four. Of. Them.

There you have it – I didn’t sell out and change my views. By the time I’d reached out to interview Andrew, I was already disappointed by the arrogant and too often false supposition by liberals that they are the sole arbiter of facts. I was tired of seeing lies and bullying pass for argument. I wanted to do something to restore sanity.

And guess what? I still do.

31 Comments

  1. Thanks Lee, for showing me, that although the mainstream media (as you pointed out about the GMA segment) is not to be trusted nowadays, there are logical liberals out there who can use reason instead of emotion and fact instead of fiction to get to the heart of matters-no matter what the outcome or ideology. I’m 99 percent sure I won’t agree with your views or opinions, but you’ve got yourself a new reader.

    Reply
  2. I used to think of myself as a liberal – but at some point, liberalism seemed to change. I’ve been having much the same kinds of reception on liberal sites for a while: if I ask a question that shows I don’t know the catechism I get blasted as a “concern troll.” I know that there is a sensible liberal perspective out there – I have at least one friend who is able to make liberal points without epithets – but he seems to be more the exception than the rule.

    At the very least, I hope that your writings will bring back sensible liberalism. We need it.

    Reply
  3. Ditto what Scott said.

    Reply
  4. Lee– been reading your words for years now, and this post finally solidified why.

    What say we drop the “liberal” and “conservative” from the descriptor, and just call out the liars when they’re lying, and praise those who pursue truth from either side of the idealogical aisle? I’ve been reading HuffPo, Cesca, Kos, and Mother Jones, watching Maher, Maddow, and Olbermann for years, and I never really feel part of the crew.

    If you’re a jackass, so my reasoning goes, your political affiliation doesn’t matter. I think we’re on the same page, you and me. You keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

    Reply
  5. Breitbart?!? You’re evil! EEEEVVVILL! Shun! Shunnnn!

    Sorry, I was channelling the Daily Kos.

    Yes, “Don’t confuse me with the facts” lives. It is both silly and sad.

    Reply
  6. I used to be an atheist/nihilist kinda liberal guy from chicago, and then became a 9/11 truther. Then I found the Truth, moved to the country, grew up, and now I have a family. I am pretty conservative now I guess. And what I can say is that I can respect a liberal who stands up for truth and rational discussion. But I cannot stand anyone who does not believe in truth or that it is useful. And much of society buys into postmodernism: the belief that truth is subjective, impossible, or useless. So what I see in liberal circles is an infection of postmodernism; it taints everything. It is my enemy, it is the enemy of life, it is the philosophy of death and self-destruction.

    The funny thing is that when liberals give up postmodernism and moral relativism and ethical consequentialism, they move away from social/economic liberalism and back toward classical liberalism, which is just where I like it. When you embrace reason, it takes you in a new direction: away from collectivism and absurdity.

    Reply
  7. I was stunned at sites like Think Progress to see people come out and directly say they wouldn’t look at any information that I’d linked. Every last one of them flat out stated they had no interest in looking at the information that I’d cited because it was all lies and I was racist and on and on the usual. It was at that moment that I had to rethink my idea of an ideological opponent. It’s like trying to discuss troop movements with Baghdad Bob.

    Reply
  8. Welcome to our side. No not the side of conservatism, libertarianism, or whatever -ism. Welcome to the side that likes to choose and follow policy based on reasoned debate about true facts rather than a recourse to bullying, appeals to emotion, ad hominem attacks, and outright lies.

    This side spans all political affiliations.

    Let’s hope we can win the day.

    Reply
  9. Sounds just like this entire collective bargaining debate. I couldn’t even tell you what it is. We are not even allowed to discuss the substance or merit of the issue at hand. All debate is in terms of good vs evil without any facts. I am told every American has the right to collectively bargain…because JP morgan makes a lot of money. What? Now I am even more confused.

    Reply
  10. I really appreciate liberals who practice liberalism, as opposed to “progressives” who are really red fascists at heart. Best of luck.

    Reply
  11. Stephen,

    Sorry to be so divisive and all, but…

    Spoken like a true liberal. Sure, drop the “liberal” and “conservative” labels just as its becoming increasingly clear that the lies, race-baiting, double standards, violent rhetoric (and actions) etc. are coming almost exclusively from the left.

    No, the labels cannot be simply abandoned, because these tactics have become a defining characteristic of liberalism.

    Lee, bless his heart, is trying to correct that, but I’m afraid he’s doomed to failure. The Gabby Giffords shooting, the left’s typically emotional response to it, and their complete and utter abandonment of any supposed lessons learned thereof, is ample proof.

    Reply
  12. “I’m not seeing the liberal hypocrisy in sharper focus now because I work with Andrew Breitbart. Instead, I work with Andrew Breitbart because I was already seeing the hypocrisy in stark relief.”

    This is how I moved from left-leaning newspaper reporter to right-leaning advocate. I just followed where the facts were leading me.

    Reply
  13. Thanks for this post. I love that GMA video. Defines the left to a T. Intellectual lightweight Eric Boehlert never strays too far from his talking points, and like trained dogs, obeys his master’s orders very well. Unfortunately, that is what passes for debate on the left. Lump in Fox News and every conservative and say that they lie. Evidence? Shemvidence. Just keep the talking head a going and stick with your allies in the mainstream media. It’s a joke, but unfortunately no one’s laughing.

    Reply
  14. Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
    It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn’t matter much to me.

    Reply
  15. Lee – so very glad you’re actually looking at facts instead of listening to spin. You’ve got a new conservative fan in conservative Texas 🙂

    PS – you’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. This non/false/ignore-the-issue/make-it-up reporting by the liberal media has been going on for years and years and years and years.

    Reply
  16. It is the result of the tension between Reason and emotionalism/programming.

    Is it any coincidence that the teachers in the US all exclusively lefties? I can remember the influx of the new school of teachers, the boomers, in my Upper Middle Class suburban high school…the social studies teachers, and health teachers…new things…

    The schools are where it starts…it took me years to figure out what was going on, through self-education and the schools of hard knocks. I’m not really any political category, just the leave me the fuck alone and quit fucking with shit that can go horribly wrong party.

    This has no place in the modern leftist sphere, which includes the nation’s schools. These Wisconsin teachers are obviously all raging leftist lunatics, but are we even permitted to question whether or not this is good for society or bad for society? Is it ok to teach kids this shit but not teach them math/english/science?

    Of course not.

    The conversation then proceeds into the core philosophies of the left and right. That is why the lefties don’t want to have it. They are coming from a dark weird place.

    It is sickening and nauseating the smug cloying smirks of these lefties…they know what they are pushing and they don’t care. How can anyone who has a heart or brain get into that?

    Reply
  17. Interesting to watch the Brietbart vs. Boehlert video. I guess the thing that struck me after watching was that Boehlert had NOTHING to offer to the debate. He came off like a hired gun. He just sat there and tried to discredit Brietbart by calling him names and trying to associate him with Fox News whom he also tries to discredit with name calling. It’s lazy and transparent to most clear thinking folks..

    Reply
  18. I’m glad to see there are still true liberals like you, not the kind who made liberalism a dirty word. Maybe now they all seem to call themselves ‘progressives’ we can have liberalism back.

    Reply
  19. Back in the cocoon Neo!

    Reply
  20. Mr. Stranahan, I feel your pain because I’ve been there already, like many writing here. I was a convinced communist, many years ago, coming from a similar-minded family here in Italy; when I casually found and began to read Solzenicyn’s Archipelago I was shocked. Naturally I tried to discuss these “alleged” atrocities with my parents and friends, and I was told to put down such fascist propaganda – Solzenicyn was a traitor, a lackey of America, a religious(!) man. No one accepted to read a single page, I became suspect. I’ve been called a “little shit” by my very father (who, I’m sure, was immediately sorry).
    Nevertheless, I went my way and don’t regret it. I’ve lost most then-friends, I’ve found many others (and my dear wife); my life is totally changed and I’m serene: thanks God, eventually I’ve gained again my father’s respect.
    So some pain is waiting for you, bot don’t look for enemies and don’t brood resentment: just try to see what’s true. Today it could be more on the right, tomorrow it will be more on the left.
    I only hope not to offend anyone, anymore, with ignorant arrogance, like I did sometimes. This I do regret.

    With all my respect.

    Reply
  21. Lee, be prepared for backlash from the left. They aren’t fans of the truth. I was a sort of middle left kinda guy at one point in my life, but as I began to learn the truth, I began my journey rightward, and I’ve never looked back. Read the works of Tammy Bruce, Linda Chavez, Dinesh D’Souza, JC Watts, Michelle Malkin, and other people of “color” or minorities who are conservative. You will find that they have been discriminated against, threatened, called all sorts of racist or homophobic epithets. This is the reality of today’s left wing, and it is because there is a steadfast brainwashing, as you’ve now witnessed. We conservatives would love to honestly debate a real liberal who is willingto concede the truth, but they don’t exist. I had a childhood buddy with whom I reconnected some time back, but when our discussions turned political, it was painful for me, as he is hopelessly left wing, and is completely brainwashed. He rails against the “rich” all while driving an $80,000 automobile and lives in a million dollar mansion. I don’t begrudge him his success. I do resent the hypocrisy. Best of luck to you as you learn more about reality.

    Reply
  22. You have walked an interesting path. I hope you continue to follow it where it leads. God bless you for your honesty – it’s very refreshing.

    Reply
  23. I’m with Chuck O on this one Stephen, the left has earned being called out on this big time. To not do so would perpetuate the problem. As you can see there are quite a few Conservatives that are extremely refreshed to find a liberal willing to admit that there’s a systemic problem with the left side of the aisle.

    Reply
  24. As a lifelong and devout Conservative (who no longer considers himself a Republican because that Party has left me), I am simultaneously gratified and worried about the figurative fire that seems to be spreading through the ideological left. Gratified because I am dedicated first and foremost to what is true, even (and ESPECIALLY) when it means someone I agree with ideologically is wrong or deceitful. Concerned because you and others like you (Juan Williams, Pat Caddel) are being heard and listened to buy those on the left who are tired of the current fascism that pervades the “progressive” mindset. Don’t get me wrong, I am not in any way advocating the suppression of your opinions. I’m just concerned because Leftism might actually start to take hold in this country; see, I didn’t really have much of a problem with the election of Obama, and the ascension of Pelosi and her ilk because such extremists will always be exposed and eventually shunned. What to do when sensible rational, sensible leftists like yourself come to power. I shudder to think… in the meantime, I will be an avid reader.

    Side note to Paolo Pagliaro a few comments above mine: Thank you for sharing your story with us, I found it a very fascinating tale.

    Reply
  25. Lee, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts.
    I might not agree with you in all political ideology, but I appreciate your honesty and integrity.
    Lee, you are a breath of fresh air and a fair-minded individual.
    Both sides of the political aisle should take notes, keep up the insightful posting.
    And keep up the quest for truth!
    Thank you.

    Reply
  26. I think perhaps I’ve been misunderstood by a few folks in the comment thread here. I don’t see ANY value in saying, “liberal media” or calling out “liberal lies” or anything like that because it in fact DOES perpetuate the very thing that has been driving the populist movement to believe everything you hear on a cable news network.

    When Fox News says they didn’t have any staff in the Gaddafi complex a couple days ago because they “knew” they were gonna be used as human shields, they start a narrative. And they never have to back it up when someone else says, “oh, hey, look, a Fox News employee here in the Gaddafi complex” because the lie already has wings.

    Who does it help to call Fox News a conservative group? Who does it help to call Media Matters a liberal group? Who does it help to use the LABEL to divide when it is their ACTIONS that should be called into question? Yes, there’s a systemic issue on the left. Yes, there is a liberal bias in many media circles. Olbermann freely admitted his own bias. So does Maddow. Even NPR has privately done so. But you know what I hear here? I see conservatives praising Lee (rightfully so) for acknowledging the issue, but I don’t see any of those same conservatives calling out Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck or any of the other lie factories at Fox News.

    This is why you call out the liars where they are. You don’t need the title “liberal” or “conservative” when you’re calling out liars. When you use that title, you’re trying to hit the followers, too, and that’s just shady. Just call them what they are: Liars; Distortion experts; Propagandists. And do it to both sides.

    But it’s also fun to play the wounded animal. So, do what you want. Go ahead and blame everything on MSNBC, NPR, crazy socialist teachers, and other left-leaning institutions. Because it’s better than accepting the REAL truth out there:

    AMERICANS DON’T WANT THE TRUTH. We want Charlie Sheen, wars, sex, big cars, Paris Hilton, Jersey Shore, MTV-sans-M, and as many flashing lights in front of our vacant, stupid fucking faces as possible. Left and Right don’t exist anymore. The whole game is run by the rich, and you folks, fine as you may be, ain’t part of that club. But you’re welcome to continue believing it’s about political ideology. That’s cool, too.

    Reply
  27. My brother recently asked me how I could make such a big change from liberal to conservative, and I explained that my views on certain issues had never really changed. I was a liberal because I believed in equal rights for all AND SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR NONE. Now I’m a conservative, because I still believe the same thing.

    Reply
  28. @Stephen…I have called out O’Reilly, Hannity, and Beck plenty of times and I don’t even listen to Limbough so I am clueless as to what he says. In fact, I have been pretty vocal.
    And I am a conservative.
    All anyone wants is the truth…truth is a positive thing and needn’t be spun.
    Policy driven news clouds the factual data.

    Reply
  29. I also enjoyed your comments, Paolo. They were full of insight and thoughtfulness and your writing style is admirable. Especially if English is your second (or even third) language. Most of us would aspire to write that well. I’m glad you’re at peace with the path you took. Your comments are not the first time that I’ve read of people losing many of their old friends yet not regretting their choice to move to a new way of living when they had a political epiphany.

    Reply
  30. Lee you are a sellout.

    Shame you would cover for a racist like Breitbart.

    See you at the 2012 RNC afterparty.

    Reply
  31. Hi Lee, I was just going to shut off my computer and I decided to google your name because I wanted to see if you had written anything about Andrew. I remembered seeing your articles on Big G. but didn’t think I’d seen your name lately. So, I thought I’d see what you’re doing lately. Anyway, this is as far as I have gotten. I’ve been replaying the GMA segment in my mind many times and wanted to see it again because I wanted to bring it to the attention of maybe Sean H. But didn’t know where to find it. There it is…on your site. It always bothered me how George turned to Eric and asked him rather than believing Andrew. I’m just astonished at the level of blatant lies and cover up that the left will stoop to. It’s really disheartening on a human level. I hope you’re continuing Andrew’s and others quest for the truth. I cried for two days when Andrew died and I didn’t even know him. I just always looked forward to what he was going to uncover and frankly he was just a cool guy and a bright light during these troubled times. Good luck in all that you do and God bless….

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cold Fury » A liberal awakening continues - [...] The truth is out there, buddy, just waiting for you to find and acknowledge it. You needn’t waste any…
  2. Number 195 | The New Terrapin Gazette - [...] is some good related material here, so if journalistic ethics interests you, by all means click. While Stranahan…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *