March 6, 2012

Breitbart Was Bad For Politics

I have heard it said by some fellows that Breitbart was in fact a good person, that his public persona was not the same as his private. This kind of praise is so broadly true of most controversial public figures as to be meaningless. And it is irrelevant. Breitbart may well have been an excellent father and a great friend but that is not why we are talking about him.
This was refreshing to read.

Most of us didn't know Breitbart personally, and we have only his public record to judge him. What we know is that he relied on falsehood and race-baiting to grab attention, and was unapologetic about it. He was a reactionary, intellectually incurious blowhard.

As is typical when a well-known journalist dies, his colleagues grossly exaggerate the significance of his accomplishments. There is no law in place that wouldn't have been passed without the "journalism" of Andrew Breitbart. No large social movements have been inspired by the content on his websites. No leaders have been removed from office because of his expose; in reality, only innocent people lost their jobs because Breitbart misled audiences into thinking these people had done something wrong when they did not. The political discourse in this country is, if anything, more polarized than it was before he began his career with the Huffington Post.