Or read the transcript below:
Interview with Andrew Breitbart by Roger Aronoff
The “Take AIM” show on BlogTalkRadio, April 28, 2011.
ROGER ARONOFF: Our guest today is Andrew Breitbart, whose websites draw hundreds of thousands—some days, millions—of readers. His main target: The “Democrat media complex,” as he calls it. His new book is called Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!, which, I’ve just been informed, has made the New York Times Bestseller List today. Congratulations, Andrew!
BREITBART: Thank you very much, Roger! It’s a labor of loathe to go against the Democrat media complex, and I’m glad that you’ve been fighting the same battle for a long time—much longer than I have!
ARONOFF: Many years, that’s right. Thank you. In the book, he talks about the key issues that Americans face, and how one needs to deal with the liberal news world. Andrew Breitbart has worked with Matt Drudge and the Huffington Post—he helped develop that—and his unique style of launching key websites to help get the word out to conservatives has been quite a wonder. He’s the creator of Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism, and Big Peace—you’ve got that word “Big” trademarked, I guess—and he was the primary developer, as I mentioned, of the Huffington Post. I want to welcome you again—it’s really a great honor—and it was back this last year that you were the recipient of the Reed Irvine Journalism Award at CPAC, and I was glad to see you make reference to what happened there that day, with The New York Times’ Kate Zernike, in a chapter in your book.
BREITBART: Yes. They’re nasty. They’re nasty people.
ARONOFF: First, let’s talk a little about your political journey. You talk about how the Clarence Thomas hearings had a major impact, and, later, you were driving around Los Angeles, listening to AM talk radio after your future father-in-law had Rush Limbaugh’s book, and you saw it and asked him about it and he urged you to listen again. So tell us about your journey. Did you have an epiphany, or an evolution? How did you go from being a liberal to a conservative?
BREITBART: I describe myself as a “default liberal,” having grown up in West Los Angeles, around the Hollywood studios, which are borderline monolithically left-of-center, so I was basically on the factory setting. It’s not as if, when you’re in a prep school in West Los Angeles, with the sons and daughters of studio executives, you’re reading Hayek and Edmund Burke and the canon of conservative writing and thinking. It wasn’t until I graduated college with that default liberal point of view, which included a heavy dose of cynicism and nihilism, that my father said, “Andrew, no more! We’re cutting you off!,” and so I think that the first seed of doubt was planted when I got cut off of the entitlement program called “My Parents,” and I had to actually start buying my own shoes. That sounds weird to most people—or maybe it doesn’t—but, for me, I didn’t realize how much dignity I would get from the process of actually working and paying for my shoes and my own rent, and that was the very beginning. I remember walking home from a wait job that I’d taken—I’d graduated into a terrible economy with an even worse attitude about working, so I was waiting tables—and watching the Clarence Thomas hearings with my default position of wanting Clarence Thomas to go down because, well, I don’t know. Tom Brokaw- and Katie Couric-type people told me that Clarence Thomas was bad and Anita Hill was good, I saw that the National Organization for Women said that Clarence Thomas was bad and Anita Hill was good, so I was rooting for it. And I sat down and I watched the hearings, waiting for evidence that would prove the thesis—because he was ultimately on trial. By the end of the week, I thought to myself, When are they going to provide the evidence? I believe Anita, fine. Let’s posit that she’s telling the truth—I don’t think she was, but I went, Let’s posit that she’s telling the truth: So what? So what? In six years of going job to job to job, getting a raise everywhere, getting promoted everywhere, to hear that there’s a pubic hair on a Coke can—if that’s the worst thing that happened in six years, and she couldn’t have handled that outside of a Senate Supreme Court hearing, I saw that something was wrong here. That was my first epiphany. I didn’t understand how the NAACP could sit back as these white, privileged men like Ted Kennedy—Ted Kennedy, the Ted Kennedy!—sat in judgment of another man as relates to his behavior around women. It just outraged me. But I didn’t know what I was seeing.
It was a moment, and that moment needed perspective so that I could start putting the pieces together, figure out what was wrong here. I didn’t have to wait very long, because, within a year, the same group of people who said that Clarence Thomas was bad and Anita Hill was good anointed Bill Clinton to be the standard-bearer of the Left and of the women’s movement, and of the National Organization for Women. The juxtaposition could not have been greater: That the ends justified the means in destroying Clarence Thomas because he had that position, an anti-abortion position, so they were willing to destroy him personally, using Saul Alinsky tactics, yet they were willing to use the same collective power of the media and liberal interest groups and the Democratic Party to help anoint and uplift a man for whom sexual harassment was a daily part of his diet.
ARONOFF: So did you feel a tug-of war going on inside you?
BREITBART: I did, and that’s where Orson Bean comes in. I started to date Orson Bean’s daughter. He lived on the Venice Canals, and when you’re a default liberal in Hollywood, all you care about is hanging out with the cool crowd, doing the cool things, and being accepted by the cool crowd—and I’m starting to date the daughter of this guy who lives on the cool Venice Canals, up across the way from George Carlin! The Venice Canals are basically Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker country, the leftiest of the Left, and this guy’s a bohemian who was blacklisted as a Communist, and a raconteur, and just considered, in Hollywood, to be one of the wittiest, most educated people in the world—and now, I’m in his house, and I see the Rush Limbaugh book. I said to him, “Why do you have this thing? This guy’s a racist, a sexist, and a homophobe!”—again, I’m a default liberal, and I believed it to the core of my being even though I’d never listened to his show. When Orson asked, “Have you ever listened to his show?” my default factory setting was “Yes! I’ve listened to the show!” I had never listened to the show, but I believed, to the core of my being, that I had. I ended up driving 25,000 miles a year, delivering scripts for a Hollywood production company, as my next job. 25,000—that’s a lot of time on L.A. freeways, mostly in traffic. I got so bored with the music on the FM dial that I switched over to the AM dial, started listening to Rush Limbaugh, and, eventually, I started to come to grips with the fact that I may disagree with him politically, but he’s not a racist. I wasn’t hearing any of the type of stuff they had told me he was. But then I started to listen to him and Dennis Prager together, and I started to think to myself, Wait a second—these guys make so much more sense than all of my professors—excuse me—all of the celebrities in my life, all of my friends and family. These guys make more sense than anything I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And Orson was there to kind of be my Yoda, because he’d gone from the Left to the Right. He’d gone from being blacklisted and having Ed Sullivan call him up and say “Can’t have you on the show because of your blacklisting,” to becoming a Right-winger. He’s been my Yoda ever since. He’s 83 years old, and I talk to him about five times a week. It’s strange how we basically have the exact same view on almost everything.
ARONOFF: Tremendous. I want to read a small passage from your book, and ask you to elaborate. “September 11th, obviously, changed everything. It stopped the Left from bleeding the country dry with its cynical partisanship veiled as ‘objective’ and ‘neutral’ coverage and commentary. The liberal model of separating Americans into different categories as a means toward empowering group leaders to tell their followers what to think, what to believe, and how to fight everyone else was over. They couldn’t pit Americans against each other anymore, and that scared the hell out of them, because that was how they’d gotten themselves elected for decades.” Would you elaborate on that? What’s your point there?
BREITBART: Most certainly. The way that the Left works, in economic/Marxist terms, is trying to pit the “haves” against the “have-nots.” That never really worked in this country, because middle and lower class people, with the right work ethic, could emerge and become the owner class in a very short period of time. But the cultural Marxists that infested our cultural institutions translated economic Marxism from “‘have’ versus ‘have-not’” to “‘oppressor’ versus ‘oppressed.’” That’s where we took E pluribus unum, “one from many,” and turned it into multiculturalism. That’s where you have black versus white, gay versus straight, where the white person is the “oppressor,” where the straight person is the “oppressor.” That’s how the Democratic Party works. That’s how the mainstream media works. That’s the Democrat Media Complex. They pit blacks against whites, and they even say that certain blacks who don’t vote liberally are “Uncle Toms.” It’s okay, because they’ve run off the plantation. If they aren’t part of the Democrat Media Complex, they’re going to be treated like Clarence Thomas. Something happened after 9/11. You saw it right away: The country unified. We were under attack, and it completely obliterated the politically correct, moral relativistic world of the far Left. The Left believes that America is to blame for absolutely everything, and here we are, attacked on a beautiful day, in the morning, by people who are anti-woman, anti-Judeo-Christianity, anti-gay-people. They attacked us, they destroyed our two buildings, and the American people, black and white, gay and straight—everyone, Democrat and Republican—said, “The hell with this division! Let’s unify!” And it happened for a while. There was one moment that was dramatic to me. During that period of time, the division had already started, where Bush wasn’t the legitimate President—they had pitted the Left versus the Right—they had said that Bush was a monkey, they were using Alinsky to divide the people in the worst possible way. You could see—the first time that President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress, when the country, for a brief period of time, was unified—the original Alinskyite, Hillary Clinton, she who wrote a Saul Alinsky senior thesis at Wellesley, noticed that her dreams of dividing the country on these cultural Marxist grounds of “oppressor” versus “oppressed,” Republican versus Democrat, unification-is-for-the-birds-because-we-can’t-benefit-politically-from-it, [were dashed.] When they panned to her, you saw that her arms were folded. Her body language told everything. I knew, at that moment in time, that the Left was going to rise again, and that it was going to do everything it could to double down on division and try to pit Americans against each other. The anti-war movement started even before we attacked Afghanistan. In late September, 2001, I was already at the Westwood Federal Building watching thousands of people accuse the United States of wanting to bomb “brown people.” They were already using their cultural Marxism to pit Americans against each other. Lo and behold, the last ten years have been the Left using those tactics not just to attack Republicans, but to obliterate the Democratic Leadership Council—the moderates, the Liebermans, the Evan Bayhs of the world. The Left had risen where there was a power vacuum.
ARONOFF: Andrew, in some way you are a combination of Zelig and William Randolph Hearst, a sort of new media version. You’ve popped up with many of the giants, like Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, Huffington, and have now created a tremendous empire, if you will, with a variety of media. Describe the concept for your media business. Have you figured out how to make it a profitable business?
BREITBART: I wish I could spend five minutes thinking about advertising, because I’m at war with the Democrat Media Complex. They know it. I know it. It’s open warfare, and I want to take on the Death Star! I think it will be a profitable business. The money that I make I put back into it, so I’m not beholden to somebody telling me what I can do, which grants me the latitude to not play by the Beltway rules. I can go back to my history and say that the Drudge thing was just pure luck. I met him at the very beginning. The first time I met him in person, he came over to Orson’s house, when he was folding shirts at the CBS gift shop. He talked to me for four hours, and he left in his Hyundai, which putt-putted down the Venice Canal alleyway. I looked at my wife and I said, “That man’s going to change the world. That guy is a media visionary.” I knew it from the very, very beginning. That’s definitely the smartest, most prescient moment of my life. I had the privilege of sitting in the front row of history during the Lewinsky thing, and I learned a lot during that period of time. He introduced me to Arianna Huffington, when she was a conservative, and the first thing—this is Zelig, okay? You’re right—that I did as her researcher was help her get Larry Lawrence, Clinton’s number one donor, dug up from Arlington National Cemetery. I watched how the Democrat Media Complex accused Arianna of being the lowest of the low to falsely accuse a man of having faked his war hero status—because Clinton put him into Arlington and granted him a waiver, saying that even though he had never served in the U.S. military, he was a Merchant Marine and his ship had been hit during World War II. Arianna proved that he made that up in order to get the Arlington waiver. Watching the Democrat Media Complex go after Arianna and call her the lowest of the low, and use Alinsky to attack her, and then, a week or two later, to watch the disinterment, on CNN, of Larry Lawrence—because everything Arianna had said was true—and nobody in the media, including Maureen Dowd, who was quite the naughty lady attacking Arianna, [said anything]—I saw that they don’t even have to apologize when they’re wrong.
Then I watched Drudge, less than a month later, go through the Clinton-Lewinsky thing, and the same Alinskyites in the media said Drudge was a liar: Drudge was illegitimate! He’s wrong! Hillary Clinton said we need more gatekeepers! This is bad! What Matt Drudge is doing is bad! It was the same people who’d aligned against Arianna—and guess who was telling the truth? Matt Drudge. And the person who’d lied was the President of the United States. Nobody apologized to Drudge in the mainstream media for doubting him, for calling him a liar over the blue dress. They just went forward with their Democrat Media Complex ways. So in a very short period of time I learned that the Democrat Media Complex means business, it doesn’t apologize, it’s partisan, and I said, “Okay. Now that the barrier of entry to get into the media is a modem and a personal computer, I want in on this action!” I was granted the opportunity when Arianna moved to the Left. We had about a four- or five-year period of awkward air-kissing when we’d see each other—because it was weird that she turned on a dime and became a lefty. She said, “Do you have any ideas for a website for me?” So I came up with the idea of the Huffington Post. Here’s what I pitched to her. I said, “It will be great for you Arianna! You’ll be the queen of the Left-wing blogosphere! And it will be great for my side because it will be found content so that the American people can see how crazy your Hollywood friends are, how conspiratorial they are—that Gore Vidal and Margaret Cho and Bill Maher are nihilists, they’re cynics, they don’t believe in the American experiment as conservatives do.” I think that people really need to see these people for who they really are. And I think the Huffington Post has probably been my most successful creation. I don’t think people realize that it was done (A) to expose the Left, and (B) to send a message that, unlike the Left, I come from the standpoint of more voices, not less, that a democracy can handle dissenting voices. And so, having created my own website, I now have the narrative—when they say, “You created this crazy Right-wing website. Why don’t you report stories on Halliburton or Bechtel? Why don’t you go after George W. Bush?”—to say, “Listen: I created the Huffington Post. Don’t tell me about not believing in reporting from both sides!” I am filling a vacuum. I’m filling in a void where the mainstream media, the Democrat Media Complex, will not report stories that hurt the Democrat Media Complex. 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.
ARONOFF: Does Arianna acknowledge you as the creator, or the person who had the idea for, her website?
BREITBART: Yeah. That’s funny, because she spends an enormous amount of time cleaning up my—or at least her people do—cleaning up my Wikipedia to try and hide that that’s the fact. But when I state it publicly she never denies it. It’s awkward for her. But when she got sued by two men who claimed ownership—it made Vanity Fair—it became very interesting that I became her trump card, because if it ever gets to the point of depositions, we’ve got the E-mails, we’ve got the map, we’ve got the papers. So she knows it, and it’s just very hard for her to tell her audience that the Andrew Breitbart, the person that they hate—if not the most, in the top five—is the one that granted them their free speech platform.
ARONOFF: So with that badge of honor, as one of the top five “Most Hated,” I saw you recently on MSNBC with Martin Bashir. He basically tried branding you as a racist. That’s a common tactic on that network. I’ve been the recipient of that myself by none other than Keith Olbermann. Tell us about that, and your tactic for fighting back against Bashir and that sort of treatment that you get from the media.
BREITBART: Well, 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. I think that that’s what I did with Martin Bashir, and that’s one of the main points of my book, Righteous Indignation: Walk towards the fire. Martin Bashir did more to promote my book than anyone out there because he affirmed its thesis. And on the charge of racism—well, if he did any reporting, he would notice that I was the keynote speaker at Roy Innis’s Congress of Racial Equality for their Martin Luther King dinner. Why would a civil rights legend like the [Congress of Racial Equality] ask Andrew Breitbart to be the keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King dinner? Because they’re paying attention to what I believe in. They’re paying attention that the reason why the Left lost Andrew Breitbart and the Right got Andrew Breitbart was because they told a black man, Clarence Thomas, that he didn’t have the right to think freely and openly in the United States of America. That’s the message that the Left tells black people: If you don’t vote Democrat, if you don’t think liberal, you’re off the plantation and we’re going to treat you as if you are subhuman. So my entire mission in what I’m doing is not just to obliterate the mainstream media, but to emancipate black people from the servitude of the Democratic Party, who has done them no favors over the last—I don’t know, forever.
ARONOFF: You make an excellent point in the book. You say that the hosts that do that are racist when they cite race every time they meet or talk about someone with whom they disagree, or who criticize Obama. They throw this word around at you, and at people on the Right—myself included—
BREITBART: The Tea Party—
ARONOFF: Yes. You point out that they are the racists because they’re doing that. Give me a little more on that one.
BREITBART: Look: Political correctness and multiculturalism are literally putting black people in a very specific camp. It’s also putting white people in their specific camp. These are the race-obsessives who want to create different standards for different people. These are the people who, as Bush said, [display] the soft bigotry of lowered expectations. The Democratic Party, it’s amazing. It gets away with murder with black people. They’re the party of environmentalism, where “environmentalism” is defined-down to banning DDT from Africa, which has killed millions of people. The Democratic Party supports Planned Parenthood, created by Margaret Sanger, whose desire for eugenics was to limit the population of black people—and boy, has that been a success. The Great Society—welfare—has obliterated the family structure of the black community. I’m appalled by the Democratic Party as relates to race. 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.
ARONOFF: So I want to ask you about some of your websites. Big Hollywood: As a student of pop culture, how do you see the entertainment media affecting the political scene? In other words, we see so many episodes—whether it’s Law & Order, The Good Wife, any number of shows—that get in these plugs for Obama or digs at the Tea Party or Sarah Palin. How much of that is designed to advance their political agenda? How effective is it?
BREITBART: Well, there’s a book coming out by Ben Shapiro. It really gets to the core of this. Hollywood is 100% controlled by the organized Left. And, it’s through intimidation. What the American people don’t know—and look: Ideology matters more than money to these people. They’re pretty good capitalists who mask their capitalism through an abrasive form of noblesse oblige liberalism. They’re very good capitalists, but ideology means a lot to them, and they have a totalitarian instinct to punish those and to silence those who dissent. What I’ve discovered in recent years is that there is a silent group of people—thousands strong, perhaps tens of thousands strong—who silently languish in the industry. Actors, directors, writers, below-the-line people, producers, agents, heads of studios who happen to be conservative or libertarian, but are secretive about it because the institutional Left will punish them—and there’s plausible-deniability-blacklisting that goes on in Hollywood. Ben Shapiro’s book gets into the mindset by talking to the actual producers, by lulling those producers into a place where they thought they were talking to a liberal, and they talked about the ways in which they manipulate the pop culture in order for a political end. So those things you see in The Good Wife and in Law & Order, they’re intentionally put there, just like the great example of Murphy Brown in which they attacked Dan Quayle when he said that her advancing the concept of single motherhood, when she had a kid on that show, that it was a bad idea. Years later, Murphy Brown, I believe, even acquiesced and said that it probably wasn’t the best move in the world and that Dan Quayle was correct, they do use popular culture as a means to push political and cultural agendas.
ARONOFF: Tell us about Big Peace. That’s another of your websites. What are you trying to accomplish with that?
BREITBART: We live in perilous times, and even though there’s a lot of reporting that does go on out there about national security, it seemed, during the Iraq War, that all the journalists were in the exact same tent in the Green Zone in Baghdad, reporting the same things, so it just seemed to me that there needed to be a place for people that disagreed with the people in the tent in the Green Zone in Iraq reporting the same thing every day and who were using journalism as a means to fight a political battle. I wanted a place where we could tell the truth about what’s going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, what’s going on with national security internally within the United States—a place where the new media could report what actual boots-on-the-ground military are thinking. It’s a place, a group blog for a contrarian point of view.
ARONOFF: So what about the issue of Israel, how it’s treated by the media, Hollywood? You being Jewish, me being Jewish—there’s a few of us. Tell, us how you see that issue. I don’t know if that’s in the context more of your Big Peace or your Big Journalism—
BREITBART: It’s in the context of Big Journalism and Big Peace. You know, if you’re a conservative in the United States, you have a burden with the media, there’s no doubt about it. But if you’re Israeli, your burden with the media, with the world media, is as great or worse than a conservative in the United States dealing with Hollywood and the mainstream media. And they just don’t have the mechanisms to fight the narratives that are laid out so disastrously by a biased media that has a reflexive pro-Palestinian bent. Whether it be Jenin or whether it be—I believe it was al-Durrah—or whether it be what just recently happened with the killing of an entire family, there is an innate sympathy for the perpetrators of crimes against people in Israel. And they have such a hard time battling the mainstream media, the Democrat Media Complex—or the U.N. media complex, if you want to call it, as it relates to the world—that we wanted to create Big Peace as definitely a place where we’re not going to carry water for Israel, but we’ll certainly defend it, knowing that their burden is great when it comes to the trying to fight the narrative.
ARONOFF: I understand your next new website is Big Education. What are your plans for that?
BREITBART: Wow. Yeah. I think that Big Education is probably going to be the one that surprises people with the amount of content that comes in, because parents, and students who are being indoctrinated, and who are just sitting there as sitting ducks in the classroom—oftentimes math class, where a teacher goes off for twenty minutes on Sarah Palin, wasting everybody’s valuable time—I think that the teachers have lived in a protective bubble, a protective bubble that goes beyond tenure—it’s that they’ve learned that there is no check and balance for this type of misbehavior, that [in] the bubble in which they exist, there are no conservatives, there isn’t another alternative reality—and I think that when they’re held to the light of day, they’re going to be very upset. And that’s happening right now. We at Big Government exposed a labor studies course at the University of Missouri, at the St. Louis and Kansas City campuses, where pro-Communist professors and union organizers/professors were talking about violence and sabotage as effective tools in labor negotiations—and the interaction between the students, who seemed to be revolutionaries talking aloud on what constitutes the difference between being a terrorist and a bomber, and being a revolutionary, and talking about the righteousness of the cause of the labor movement, that the ends justified the means. These videos have caused a major problem in Missouri, because it’s exposed how the sausage is made. It’s exposed why you’re seeing a lot of misbehavior up in Wisconsin with the coordination of the AFL-CIO and the President of the United States. And so if they’re going to be teaching this stuff in the classrooms, we’re going to use our cameras to expose it.
ARONOFF: Our guest today has been Andrew Breitbart. His new book is called Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!. Andrew, give us some final thoughts, and tell people where they can find your book. Congratulations on the New York Times Bestseller List. What is the best entree web address to get to all of your websites?
BREITBART: You know, I think that Big Government’s a good place to go because you can get to all of the other websites from Big Government. Breitbart.tv gets the most traffic, believe it or not. It’s kind of like a Drudge Report-like “Best of the Web” as relates to video news and audio news. It’s kind of the stuff that the AM radio and the cable news people use as a cheat sheet to see what to talk about on the air. I’m excited that this book has come out. I haven’t written a book since Hollywood, Interrupted with Mark Ebner, since 2004. It’s been seven years because I said at the time to my agent, “I only want to write a book when I have something to say.” This book is, basically, a how-to-manual. Once you see how I went from a default cultural liberal to being a culture warrior for the Right, I think your eyes will be opened as to how bad the problem is. I provide the tactics that you can use to fight the battle against the Democrat Media Complex. I don’t think that the next election cycle’s about beating Barack Obama—I think Barack Obama has already lost. The next election cycle is against the mainstream media, who’s going to try and carry his political corpse over the finish line. So the way to win in 2012 is to expose the truth about Barack Obama, not to be afraid of the Democrat Media Complex calling you names—and to just fight, fight, fight! And Righteous Indignation, which is available at Breitbartbook.com, will show you how you can wield new media and have, a great, great effect in electoral politics.
ARONOFF: Thank you so much, Andrew, for giving us this time today—and good luck with your book! Next week, we’ll have this up as a podcast, and a transcript of this interview. All the best to you!
BREITBART: Thank you very much, Roger.
ARONOFF: Take care. And that’s it for Take AIM this week. We’ll be back next week with another show. Until then, so long!