Andrew Breitbart has a bad habit of championing unreliable nuts with destructive tendencies, just because they're conservative. Alleged criminal activity aside, James O'Keefe might turn out to be less embarrassing than some of Andrew's other great conservative hopes.
Matt is the only reason any of us know who Breitbart is. Drudge, the original blogger, is a hermetic closeted weather- and Striesand-obsessed weirdo who lives in Miami. He became famous when he posted a Newsweek story before Newsweek did back in the 1990s. Breitbart served as young Drudge's "mentor" for a few years, and Breitbart, who has referred to himself as "Matt Drudge's bitch," was still handling the Drudge Report's afternoon shift through last year.
And Matt is an odd duck. His 2000 memoir/manifesto featured 40 blank pages and lengthy conversations with his cat, Cat. He still holds disproportionate sway over what passes for "political dialogue" in this country, but after a brief post-Lewinsky flirtation with publicity, he's no longer trying to be a Right-Wing Hero. He's gone into hiding, and his only public comment to reporter in years was to deny that he "loves" sex with men. Which is sad!
Back in the wonderful Clinton era, Matt introduced Andrew to Arianna Huffington. At the time, Arianna was a famous conservative pundit. She was also well-known, even by 1994, as a loopy new-ager and cut-throat bitch. Eventually her husband, a former Republican Senate candidate, came out as gay (which everyone already knew). And Arianna came out as a liberal. Breitbart still helped her launch her little website, an Internet Newspaper of Celebrity Blogs and Nipple Slips and exhortations to never vaccinate your children.
People like Breitbart tend to believe that liberals "control the media" because they refuse to let conservatives write for newspapers and act in pilots, and not just because maybe liberals are more inclined to go into journalism or the performing arts. There is not a political litmus test to direct a movie—have you seen a movie, lately? But Breitbart's constant need to produce special conservative content for a special conservative audience leads to shoddy work, like on his Big websites, and complete disasters, like his championing of Pat Dollard.
Evan Wright's 2007 Vanity Fair piece on Dollard is a wonderful look at the life of the beneficiary of Hollywood Conservative Desperation.
Pat Dollard was a Hollywood superagent with William Morris, until he was fired in the '90s for doing too many drugs and drinking too much even to be a superagent with William Morris. He was also one of those "9/11 changed everything for me" assholes who decided that the murder of thousands of innocents by fanatics meant that George Bush was a visionary hero and Michael Moore was fat.
In 2004, a drugged-out mid-binge Dollard flew to Iraq to make a "pro-war documentary." He spliced his footage of Marines being manly heroes, actual videotaped cold-blooded civilian murder, and awesome explosions together with footage from Jackass and put it to a hardcore soundtrack. This, obviously, got him an audience on the internet, and endeared him to Breitbart, who began taking him around introducing him to the vast right-wing conspiracy.
Breitbart believes Dollard is onto something important. "There needs to be a confrontation at the pop-culture level of the kids who are over there fighting versus the kids at home who are totally disconnected, immersed in this mindless Abercrombie & Fitch–MTV culture." Breitbart adds, "There needs to be a revolution, and Dollard is the man who can kick it off. I don't care if older conservatives are offended by Pat Dollard. I was not looking for someone pristine. He brings to our cause this whole spirit of, like, the Merry Pranksters Two.
Yes. His antics in Iraq do suggest a certain Hunter Thompson-meets-Full Metal Jacket charm, like when Dollard, in search of a whorehouse, robbed an Iraqi pharmacy at gunpoint. (Dollard kept admitting to these things and then retracting them, though he filmed most it... just like O'Keefe?) But in the end he's just some jerk-off coked-out Hollywood asshole playing at being a soldier and putting real Marines in harm's way with his irresponsible behavior.
He never actually cleaned up his act, either. When he missed a meeting with HBO, he filmed a documentary of him fucking his friend's girlfriend on meth and decided to send them that, instead.
Dollard enters the frame, totally nude, a decrepit satyr. A montage ensues of him performing various sex acts with her, intercut with close-ups of the girl smoking a glass pipe. There is unintended comedy: while Dollard is having sex with her on the couch, it catches fire, and the two fail to notice until flames engulf their feet. There is intended comedy: Dollard performs anal sex with her while simultaneously talking on the phone with an agent at William Morris.
As you have probably gathered, he was a mess. But he still managed to make his appearances on Hannity & Colmes and Tony Snow's radio show, to praise war. The war that he loved because it felt to him like a particularly exciting acid trip. This is the sort of person Breitbart would rail against as an example of decrepit, hedonistic, vapid, vile Big Hollywood, if it was a liberal. The sort of person whose excesses he and Mark Ebner ridiculed and exposed in Hollywood, Interrupted. But, you know, he is a conservative! So let's throw him a party!
In mid-January, Andrew Breitbart hosts a conservative coming-out party for Dollard to celebrate his upcoming Fox deal. (According to Dollard, Fox News head Roger Ailes was "stoked" about bringing him into the Fox fold after viewing his Web site.) About 30 people gather at Breitbart's hillside home in Brentwood to view Dollard's clips. When I enter, Ann Coulter stands by a bowl of guacamole, eating tortilla chips and venting about the lack of spine shown by her own partisans. "I meet so many conservative men afraid to say they still support the war," she says. "Conservatives are pussies. That should be the title of my next book."
Right. Well, Andrew Breitbart's Conservatives aren't pussies! Just incredibly irresponsible and reckless and embarrassing to the movement.
Which brings us to the last, most embarrassing of Andrew Breitbart's Friends:
Conor Friedersdorf, a smart young conservative who attempted to launch a "Conservative Slate" not too long ago (not a Conservative iPad, fyi), summed up "the Breitbart model" like this:
The alternative — the Andrew Breitbart model — is to publish poorly reasoned, atrociously edited screeds on the cheap, on the assumption that ideologically friendly readers will keep clicking anyway.
And that is accurate! (It's also wildly successful, of course—the fact that Breitbart's news-aggregating homepage is Matt Drudge's default source of wire stories does help drive the traffic, too.) Breitbart does himself no favors when he opens his mouth, too.
Who can forget his classic column on how he made an obscene gesture at people who were demonstrating against the use of child soldiers because they interrupted his dinner?
He mocked the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy and repeatedly shouted "Abu Ghraibs for everyone!" for reasons that are still not entirely clear to us. And after we reprinted a Business Insider interview with him that might've slightly misquoted him, he flew off the handle, accusing that site of being a "front" for Gawker.
No one he's championed is really as embarrassing as he is, himself.