There are five of us in the entire theater. That includes my mother and my stepfather, whom I dragged to this desolate strip mall in Miami, an hour south of my mom’s house, on a Sunday. The Palace 18 is one of a few cinemas in the whole country playing Hating Breitbart, a documentary that I felt compelled to see because, ostensibly, it’s about lefties like me who loathed the right-wing punk, now deceased, for whom the film is named.Though the worn Miami multiplex is respectable enough, Hating Breitbart is being shown in an auditorium with only a few dozen seats, the aisles patched with outdated powder-blue linoleum squares. Unlike the studio features, which have full-color title cards above the theater doors, Hating Breitbart is marked by a generic sign spun off of an inkjet.
When we walk in, two men are chatting in their seats. They’re Breitbart fanatics, waiting for their fix like perverts in a porn theater. The tall one is wearing an ill-fitting grey suit with a flag lapel pin; the shorter schlub, in the next row, has a dated butt-cut hairdo. They just met, but are already trading conspiracy theories about Breitbart’s demise. The 43-year-old shock pundit died from heart failure in March 2012, but some believe that he was rubbed out by freedom-hating Democrats. No joke—Buzzfeed floated a post of “25 People Who Think President Obama Killed Andrew Breitbart.”
As I’m about to chime in with a murder scenario involving George Soros in the study with the candlestick, the place goes black, and I’m suddenly looking at a quote from Thomas Jefferson that fills the screen: “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” The trope is classic Breitbart; though the firebrand helped found the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post—as well as his own far-right rhetorical circus, breitbart.com—he preached that all news outlets were essentially evil, and he went to the edge of the earth to expose what he considered media bias.
Shot in the two years before its subject’s death, Hating Breitbart is geared to roundly dismiss charges that he was a sexist and bigot. With no narration or organization, director Andrew Marcus does this by lazily interspersing interviews—mostly with those who considered Breitbart a deity—among footage from the protagonist’s marquee donnybrooks with such nemeses as Shirley Sherrod, a state director with the Department of Agriculture who was forced to resign after Breitbart publicized a doctored tape in which she appeared to disparage white people.