Today I had the opportunity to meet one of the kingpins of conservative new media, Andrew Breitbart. In town for a signing of his recently published book, Righteous Indignation, the creator of Big Hollywood , one of numerous Breitbart-inspired websites, delivered an entertaining speech that weaved together his personal narrative of embracing conservative activism with his current fight against the Obama administration and its many devout supporters.
An at times irreverent, always impassioned, largely extemporaneous speech that explored everything from his pretensions of privilege as the child of an earnest middle class family living in Brentwood, California, to his dissolute college years spent in New Orleans-and how the conservative values of his parents restored a sense of purpose to his life-to his infatuation with the new, ever-changing medium of the World Wide Web, to his groundbreaking exposure of the Pigford scandal, Breitbart’s lecture dovetailed with his new book, which chronicles the political and personal transformation he’s undergone over the past two decades.
Breitbart’s message, as much as a single, coherent message can be gleaned from someone whose personality is so ADD-inflected-as he readily admits-and whose career is scattered in so many directions, is that conservatives should utilize the tools of the new media-whether they be social networking websites, blogs, or streaming Internet radio-in order to impress their ideas upon an American public that’s so often bombarded with a monolithic, unadulterated leftist critique of society. Even if it means bypassing the traditional bastions of conservatism in this country, for example, the Republican Party, the benefits of this strategy will become manifest in the larger cultural battlegrounds, where the left’s traditional strengths have been eroded by activists such as Hannah Giles, Lila Rose, and James O’Keefe.
I was impressed both by the content and delivery of Andrew Breitbart’s message. Although often caricatured as an impetuous zealot, the overall impression I came away with after listening to him speak was one of a serious-minded, yet very passionate, crusader on behalf certain values which are shared by millions of like-minded Americans.