Inside the Collapsing Media Empire of Deceased GOP Sleaze-Peddler Andrew Breitbart
By now, it has become clear that in the months before his death, Breitbart had constructed a journalistic Doomsday Machine and programmed it for an apocalyptic episode of self-destruction. Perhaps it was convenient that Breitbart’s heart exploded when it did; as a martyr, he did not have to witness the implosion of his media empire or bear the responsibility he deserved for its rapid demise.
In the year after Breitbart’s death, his heirs and associates produced a string of grotesque episodes that have embarrassed even their own impossible-to-shame allies on the right, including:
Spreading the lie that Chuck Hagel took money from a non-existent group called “Friends of Hamas.” What began as a New York Daily News reporter’s burlesque joke-hypothetical question to a Senate staffer was recycled by breitbart.com editor-at-large Ben Shapiro [see below] and reported as fact from “Senate sources.” From Breitbart, the reporter’s joke traveled onto the Senate floor and nearly sank Hagel’s confirmation as Obama’s new Defense Secretary. Even after the story was completely debunked and disavowed even by fellow right-wingers, breitbart.com remains the only media outlet in the world that continues to stick by its debunked story;
In mid-March, Breitbart published a straight news story claiming that Paul Krugman had filed for bankruptcy. The story was sourced from an online news parody site, The Daily Currant;
Also in March, Breitbart’s most famous protege, video smear-artist and convicted criminal James O’Keefe, wasforced to pay a six-figure settlement to one of the victims of his heavily-edited ACORN videos, which was deceptively re-edited to give the impression that ACORN employees were willing to participate in sex trafficking. ACORN was once a powerful community activist organization working in mostly poor minority communities. O’Keefe’s video, which was heavily promoted by Breitbart, helped destroy ACORN and ruin the careers of many of its employees. Other lawsuits against Breitbart associates continue, including one filed by Shirley Sherrod, an African-American employee of the Department of Agriculture who was fired after Breitbart pushed a heavily-edited video manipulated to make Sherrod appear as if she was anti-white. O’Keefe’s work has been underwritten by everyone from billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel to the billionaire Koch brothers and the billionaireFoster Friess;
At the most recent CPAC conference in 2013, breitbart.com’s sponsored panel bashing Muslims was considered too hateful and extremist by CPAC’s organizers and banned from the official CPAC agenda — despite the fact that Breitbart News Network is a major sponsor of CPAC.