I was pleased to have an opportunity to interview conservative media mogul Andrew Breitbartabout his new book “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! .” What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.
I always find it fascinating when people who used to be liberal say they turned to the right. That happened with you. Can you tell us about it?
Well, it’s a cliché from the left to the right. And it’s usually a story of opportunism in those few cases where the people move from the right to the left. It’s almost embarrassing to go back into my liberal background because it was about as shallow a belief system as humanly possible. It was go-along to get-along social. It was living in Los Angeles, being young and single and flowing with the trendy liberal crowd.
When I started to work in Hollywood at a fairly low level delivering scripts around town, listening to AM talk radio, I at first listened to it as a novelty. But I started to have certain things in my life going on, such as living in a rent-controlled apartment, having listened to the Clarence Thomas hearings, the OJ Simpson trial — I just started to see trends in my personal experiences that ran so contrary to what the media narratives were. At first I was flummoxed by it and then I just started to listen to certain people on the radio who were more clear-thinking than the professors that I had in college.
I remember thinking when I was in college that a lot of these known Chomsky-like, verbose high lefty thinkers made absolutely no sense, but I thought that was my problem. So when I started to listen to conservative thinkers and to read conservative thinkers, there was a clarity of thought. It wasn’t muddled. It wasn’t confusing. It started to make sense at an intellectual level and tie into the values that my parents gave me when I was a young kid that I diverted from when I was in high school.
So it was basically a reconnecting with everything that my parents attempted to instill in me in my youth. It has made me sleep a lot better at night, being centered and oriented with human nature as opposed to living in a world of self-loathing nihilism, trying to undo human nature, and trying to create a path towards an unrealistic utopia.
Now, you were recently banned from the front page of The Huffington Post….
Oh, the tragedy of my life.
(Laughs) It is, it is. Apparently you made some sort of ad hominem attack on Van Jones and The Huffington Post has a policy against that. It must have been in place for at least two minutes or so before you were banned. Can you talk about that?
Well, there’s a poetry in this entire Huffington Post narrative. First of all, I created The Huffington Post for Arianna Huffington. She asked me to come up with a website for her in the wake of her failed gubernatorial run, where she got less than one percent of the vote — where Van Jones himself was one of the individuals who ran her campaign. So, I think it’s ironic that I helped resurrect her career in the name of turning her into the queen of the left wing blogosphere.
Six years later, she would finally give me of all people, a place at the table to write my ideas and then when Van Jones created ColorOfChange and continued his campaign to shut me up, that she would actively help this anti-free-speech campaign. I always enjoyed my relationship with Arianna, but she allowed for the Left to push the false meme of me being racist off of her website by the Van Jones who created ColorOfChange. She wouldn’t state publicly what she would state to me privately and that was, “Of course, you’re not a racist. I wouldn’t be your friend, I wouldn’t have hired you, I wouldn’t have created The Huffington Post with you, I wouldn’t have celebrated Christmas brunch with you,” you know, “blah, blah, blah.” But she was willing to, for the sake of her left-wing base, allow for that incredible hurtful concept to subsist. At that point, I started to recognize that she isn’t what you would call a genuine friend.
I’m more than happy that this episode occurred because it showed clearly that AOL’s content is being run by a person who is disloyal to her friends and who clearly favors the liberal and leftist politically correct anti-free speech point of view over the conservative ones. So AOL has now gotten into the partisan political ring and is now in a validly left of center operation going into the 2012 election cycle.
In your promo for the book, you say the Left does not win its battles in debate. It doesn’t have to. The left-wing wins because it controls the narrative and so if the Left controls all the mainstream media and seems to feel increasingly comfortable using it as a propaganda outlet, how do you fight that and win more than just a battle here or there? They seem to control pretty much the entire machinery for getting the message out to the public or at least a good bit of it.
According to Gallup, Americans are still by a two-to-one ratio, conservative to liberal. Because, for all of the dominant propaganda I’ve seen, the American people have a more sensible underpinning. The Right makes the fundamental mistake of expecting the political class to make everything right, where I believe that it’s the media class that dictates what happens in Washington and dictates what happens with cultural ties.
So, I focus the majority of my energy and the lion’s share of my editorial focus on cultural issues. My next website is going to be “Big Education.” That’s culture. That’s where the Left controls the debate, controls the narrative. Hollywood, that’s where the Left controls the debate and the narrative. Same goes with journalism. I think it’s more important.
That’s why I’ve been saying for two years that Sarah Palin could become a billionaire as a red state Oprah and do shows that are similar to the template of Oprah for the same audience — but instead of the victim template, use the hero template. Make it more uplifting, not about how this person was victimized in this way and we’re going to make this person whole by giving him a house or a year’s supply of diapers, but go out there and find the heroes and start showing people the American experience is not about political correctness and it’s not about multi-culturalism. It’s about E Pluribus Unum. It’s about there being a common American cultural dynamic.
That doesn’t mean that it’s not diverse in the sense of that there are people of different races, sexual orientations involved. It’s that the American people need to be unified on a common culture. The Left’s goal is divide and conquer, separate people into different divisions — the black versus white, Hispanic versus white, the gay versus straight. America needs to reject that and I think the people on the Right don’t recognize that they need to change it in the cultural spaces, as professors, as newscasters, as reporters, as educators, because that’s where the Left has had the lion’s share of their success.
One thing you do that’s pretty unique is consistently re-tweet the nasty attacks made on you by liberals on twitter. Why do you do that?
Because it exposes what leftists are — that they claim to be hippy dippy and live and let live, but at the end of the day, I have found that leftists are intolerant, hateful, and totalitarian and they don’t like to hear other people’s points of view. They, in the name of tolerance, call me gay all the time, too many times for it not to be called a trend. The media does a great job of creating the perception that hope and change is the mindset of the lefty, but I see people whose first tendency when they get into a rally is to throw a trash can through a Starbucks window. When a camera is on them they say we want a revolution. They wear socialist T-shirts, hand out socialist and communist literature at their events, and my goal is to expose the Left. Re-tweeting is a very, very effective tool for exposing the Left and it’s more fun than you can possibly imagine.
It does look like fun, I have to admit.
Yes, the first 10 or so re-tweets where the people in almost haiku-like precision write the most hateful things in the world — it’s difficult to accept the premise that you’re sending out all these hateful descriptors of you. But once you get past the 10th one, it becomes like you’re orchestrating a symphony and it becomes quite the opposite experience.
You helped build up the Drudge Report, you were a player in getting The Huffington Post going, you’ve launched a successful series of blogs, everything you touch seems to turn to gold, and so there are a lot of people on the new media, on the Right who are trying to reach your level of success. So if you were to give some of them your advice, what would it be?
First of all, I thank you for the compliment. But, I’ve always said it’s not about money for me. I still have a mortgage and two car payments. So people who think that there’s money in them there hills, in blogging, I haven’t seen it. Arianna made it because she’s a left of center operation. I’m not getting offers from AOL because they don’t feel comfortable with a right wing corollary to exactly what The Huffington Post is. I do this because it’s a passion and the best bloggers are the most passionate ones.
The best bloggers are ones who have day jobs. For the most part, lawyers or educators or I have actors and directors who write for me, scientists — they’re ones who are so frustrated with the lack of in-depth reporting in the mainstream media or lack of any mainstream reporting that doesn’t skew left of center, that they’ve decided that their hobby is going to be to set the record straight. So those bloggers do that as a passion and who don’t expect it to turn into a financial panacea tend to have the best temperament for the grind. I’m 15 years into this and not expecting to become a billionaire as a result of this. Those that quit their day job and hit pay dirt are few and far between.
Last question. Let’s do a little free association here. Give me a word or sentence about these particular people or groups. Clarence Thomas? The guy that helped inspire you, during his trial, to move to the right.
I’m not an emotional person, but when I met his wife, and she tapped me and said she was Ginni Thomas, I started to tell my story about how I switched to the right and I started to break down and cry. His stoicism and humility and grace under unspeakably evil leftist Alinsky attacks is the very reason why I fight the way I do and I don’t back down. Without Clarence Thomas, there would be no Andrew Breitbart and that is not something that the Left can like to contemplate.
I would say I align myself with Allen West, Tim Scott, Congress of Racial Equality, and other black conservative organizations and leaders because if minorities, people of color, whatever the politically correct term of the day is, don’t embrace the Constitution, don’t embrace the re-founding of this country based upon our core principals of limited government and a constitutional republic, then this country is doomed.
We need black conservative leadership and Hispanic conservative leadership to lead us away from the divisive multi-cultural model whose very goal is to pit people against each other over superficial qualities such as skin color.
Loathsome and duplicitous, chuckleheads, sad clowns, and my illicit lovers.
James O’Keefe would have a HBO television show if he were on the left. He’d be on the cover of Rolling Stone, Spin Magazine, Esquire, GQ, and Vanity Fair. His brilliance would be highlighted and he’d have 1.9 million twitter followers if the institutional pop cultural Left were behind him. When somebody hits pay dirt on the Left, ripping off his techniques, that person will get that rich reward.
Right now, a pawn of the political Left. On day one, when my story came out, she said this was the NAACP’s fault and the NAACP apologized for the audience’s behavior. She became politicized by the White House and the political Left and realized the value in targeting me and pushing the false narrative that I didn’t offer the redemptive part of her story. Chris Matthews pointed this out to Howard Dean and Joan Walsh that the video contained her redemptive arc. The piece that I wrotesaid eventually her basic humanity forces her to help the white farmer.
She turned 180 degrees because she is a leftist partisan who is doing the bidding of the political Left to destroy me. To try and shut up free speech, she stated that she wanted to stop my publishing empire. This is an anti-free-speech campaign and I am going to win in the court of law.
A most cynical player, highly educated, super slick, yet goes to prey upon the people he claims to help by trying to community-organize them around cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. It’s so offensive that he would go to a community in need and stoke their animus towards police officers in order to create a political movement to foment political rage instead of teaching them how to fish.
The visionary of these times, and just a fundamentally good person.
It’s a tragedy that a bona fide civil rights legend would be party to Nancy Pelosi’s cynical plan to use the protest at the Capitol to send out controversial members of the Democratic caucus to try and get a YouTube moment that showed the Tea Party as intemperate or racist. When they didn’t get that moment, Congressman Lewis’s colleague, Andre Carson, blatantly lied about being called the N-word 15 times and being surrounded by a mob set to throw rocks. When he went along with that, I believe he squandered his civil rights legend, that this ultimately is a stain on his record.
Just the darkest most untruthful organization. The more you look into what they do, the more you see how their empire is based upon lies and propaganda. The say they’re there for women’s health; yet it’s simply a front for abortion.
Once again, Andrew Breitbart’s new book is “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! .” You can also read more from Andrew Breitbart at Breitbart, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Peace, and Big Journalism.