Toward the end of the new movie Hating Breitbart, there is a scene that captures the essence of what the late New Media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart did -- and how he did it. The camera follows Breitbart as he makes his way up Capitol Hill, past the crowd at a 2010 Tea Party rally where the founder of Breitbart.com was about to give a speech. "Hey, Andrew, remember me?" says a man amid the throng on the opposite side of the crowd-control barricade. "I'm the one who sent you that video ... the nine-second clip."
Breitbart knew exactly which clip the man was talking about, and remembered the online moniker of the amateur cameraman who sent it: "Marooned in Marin, right?"
The significance of that moment isn't explained in the movie, as director Andrew Marcus is content to let viewers connect the dots for themselves when Breitbart takes the stage to give one of his many impassioned speeches. While he was at times credited with singlehandedly destroying the mainstream media's suffocating liberal stranglehold on news, Breitbart always understood that his work depended on people like Marooned in Marin who sent him e-mail tips, including videos and photos, that exposed the untold truths that too many professional journalists were willing to ignore. And so when he stood on the stage in front of the Capitol that September afternoon in 2010, Breitbart pointed to the audience and told them, "You are the army!"
Marcus's camera then captures Breitbart's reaction, after he leaves the stage to cheers and applause, telling a friend that he didn't have any idea what he was going to say until he started talking. That's how it was with Breitbart -- a master of improvisation, an impulsive personality who learned to turn his attention deficit disorder into an asset. The astute viewer of Hating Breitbart recognizes that the chance encounter with Marooned in Marin (whose name Breitbart had stored in his amazing memory) triggered the thought that led to the inspirational words he spoke on stage that day at the Tea Party rally. And every new day brings fresh reminders of how the inspiration has outlived the man who died in March at age 43.
Wednesday, James O'Keefe released an undercover video showing "Obama campaign workers, including Organizing for America Regional Field Director Stephanie Caballero, providing material assistance to individuals who state explicitly that they intend to commit election fraud," as O'Keefe described it at his Project Veritas site. O'Keefe's exposé was the latest in a series of videos showing how our election system is vulnerable to vote fraud, including an instance in which one of O'Keefe's undercover investigators was offered a ballot in the name of Attorney General Eric Holder. Yet, as O'Keefe says, "no matter how many times we've proven the danger, our concerns have been dismissed by the media while efforts to correct the problem at the state level have been actively blocked by the Obama administration." The media's indifference to the vote-fraud issue appears to be another case of journalists acting as stenographers for Democrats, who say the problem is non-existent, even though, as the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity pointed out, Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote says her group has proven hundreds of cases where individuals cast ballots in both Ohio and Florida, in violation of federal law.
Yet the major media organizations are slowly losing their ability to suppress stories that offend their partisan loyalties. As the Hating Breitbart documentary makes clear, O'Keefe's first big undercover video sting -- the 2009 investigation that launched Breitbart's BigGovernment.com site and destroyed the left-wing group ACORN -- achieved its major goals before the story was ever mentioned in either the New York Times or the Washington Post. The steady erosion of the traditional media's audience and the simultaneous proliferation of New Media outlets (including talk radio, cable news networks, and Internet sites) have made it possible to circumvent the "gatekeepers" in ways that may eventually render the "Big Three" networks and major newspapers obsolete and irrelevant.
So it was with O'Keefe's voter-fraud video: While the mainstream media ignored it, the story went viral online, reported at the Daily Caller and linked at dozens of blogs, including Michelle Malkin, Newsbusters, The Lonely Conservative, PJ Media, Twitchy and -- quite naturally-- Marooned at Marin, which brings us back to that 9-second video clip that Andrew Breitbart remembered so clearly. What that clip showed was a scene of members of the Congressional Black Congress walking toward the Capitol for the vote on Obamacare amid a crowd of Tea Party protesters chanting "Kill the Bill!" Unknown to anyone, Marooned in Marin had a key piece of evidence disproving claims by Democrats that the protesters had shouted racial epithets at the congressmen. The blogger sent a tip to Breitbart, who e-mailed back his cellphone number with a one-word message: "Call."
"We talked twice that night," Marooned in Marin later explained. "I told him what I had and he asked me to send it. I was glad to, knowing he could do more with it than I could. Days later, my video, and about four others, were compiled by him and [Breitbart.com editor] Larry O'Connor, refuted claims by the CBC that the vile 'n-word' had been yelled at them 15 times by members of the Tea Party. Almost a year later, when I finally had the opportunity to meet him in person at CPAC, Andrew Breitbart looked at my badge and said 'You're the guy!' He and Larry O'Connor remarked how much the video I took helped out. Hey, I was just happy to be one of those who helped out."
In the seven months since Breitbart's death, the "army" he spoke of at that Tea Party rally has fought many new battles, and even the documentary of his life has become part of that fight. Marcus's movie got slapped with an "R" rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, and online activists quickly pointed out that the MPAA's chairman just happens to be former Democrat Sen. Chris Dodd. The argument over the rating, supposedly due to the number of "F-words" heard in the movie, caused Marcus and the film's distributors to push back the planned theatrical release from this Friday to next Friday, Oct. 19, while they negotiated with the MPAA for a PG-13 rating that would allow Hating Breitbart to reach a wider audience. If producers are forced to bleep all but one of the obscenities heard in the film, Marcus is determined to leave in the line that is most certain to bring cheers from Breitbart's fans, when he stares straight into the camera and addresses himself directly to the liberal media: "F--k you! War!"
That war is still raging, and Breitbart's army keeps marching onward.