I was shocked to find out this morning that Andrew Breitbart passed away shortly after midnight this morning, apparently from natural causes.
He was that rare occurrence in our world, a person who lived large, followed his own path, and did what he thought was right no matter whom it offended or how it affected his own personal bottom line.
As one of the pioneers of digital media - he was Matt Drudge's original second in command and later went on to put together and run Huffington Post - he could have easily sat back and done quite well for himself as a media consultant. Instead, having taken an honest look at what was happening to America, he decided to use his considerable energy and talents in the fight to save it.
In his websites - including Breitbart.com, Breitbart.TV, Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism and Big Peace - Andrew took on the Left using their own weapons, and not only did he empower himself, he gave a whole lot of other people the courage and the format to stand up to them and fight back.He embodied Hillel's dictum, 'If there is no man, be that man.' He delighted in shining a bright light on the cockroaches he saw despoiling our country.
Here's one of my favorite videos of Andrew Breitbart in action, taking on an SEIU and Soros funded organizing America rent-a-mob at a conference called “Right Nation 2010,” held just outside of Chicago, Illinois on September 18th of that year that he and Glenn Beck were the headliners at. It's absolutely hilarious to watch some of the mob flee from Breitbart like vampires from garlic...or in this case, from one man armed with the truth.
We weren't intimates. I didn't have that privilege. I first ran into Hurricane Breitbart when I decided to try and place some of my stories on one of his sites - so I simply sent an e-mail with a link to one of my pieces to what I thought might be his address, based on what I knew about his personality. It didn't bounce back, and sure enough,within minutes I had a reply with an attaboy from the man himself, asking one of his editors to hook me up and find a place for my piece.
After that, I ran my pieces directly to his editors, but it was that way every time we communicated with each other - a generous and timely reply you wouldn't have expected from someone as busy as he was.
Here's a quote from the conclusion of his last book 'Righteous Indignation' that's being repeated in a lot of places right now:
I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.
Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night.
Fun,a fight for a righteous cause and a clear conscience - that's a pretty good description of how Andrew Breitbart saw the bottom line.
He was one of a kind, and he'll be deeply missed.