Book Review, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me As I Save The World! By Andrew Breitbart
Andrew Breitbart defined who he was during his second Bill Maher appearance, an event he describes in the seventh chapter of the book itself. He threw not a stone into the still tepid waters of Leftist-dominated, Obama-era political discussion but a narrative-splitting boulder. Since the rise of Trump we sometimes forget just how stale and stiff the old Right was and how much of a soft stranglehold the Left had over ALL public discourse. Now we see the Left as obvious overlords of Tech, Media and public discussion and even normies notice this, yet it wasn’t always like that and it’s wise to remember this context for the book.
During this appearance he ruined the dismissive laughter and subtle White supremacist accusations the Left had come to enjoy and forever unsettled the profusely polite political atmosphere they had worked so hard to craft. 1 From 2009 to 2012, Andrew Breitbart dominated the public sphere and to this day it’s one of the world’s greatest tragedies that he died (of a suspicious heart attack, but a topic for another day perhaps).
In Chapter 1 (From Little ACORN’s Grow…), Breitbart outlines how he was introduced to the now infamous James O’Keefe (Project Veritas never stops: https://twitter.com/JamesOKeefeIII) and he simply sets out this juicy story as a teaser for the main event:
Then a young man named James O’Keefe walked into my office.
He showed me a set of videos.
My jaw dropped.
After I watched the videos, there was silence. Then he turned to me and said, “We’re going to take down ACORN.”
“No,” I replied. “We’re going to take down the media.” [Pg2]
After this brief teaser, he starts to slowly look into his past that led up to his involvement in the “…Brave New Wired World…” [Pg8] that is leading to “… the beginning of a massive global information awakening.” [Pg10].
He continues this exploration of his past in Chapter 2 (Lost in the Complex) recounting his childhood under a rich and traditional Jewish family, one that stuck out from the others in the area he grew up in. “While many of my friends’ parents were gallivanting off to Europe and leaving their kids at home – for some reason, my parents considered this a form of child abuse-” [Pg15].
Bizarrely, whilst talking about delivering Pizza to Hollywood stars and playing Tennis alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger he manages to paint an all too familiar story of the quiet and content family, with the prodigal son that drifted off into the trappings of Liberalism introduced to him through a cynical friend and a Marxist University. He talks about how easily he brushed off his upbringing to indulge in Drugs, Drinks and Gambling. How he partied all night and cried as he went to sleep. How when his girlfriend broke up with him he asked a teacher for advice and was told: “…take a semester off and go drop acid in New York. She really said that.” [Pg23]
And like many of us who fell into similar trappings, there was a sense of discomfort and disgust that triggered a turning point – not a total political, moral and physical flip – but something that set him (and many of us) on a totally different path.
In his words. “The national disgrace that was the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, for me, changed everything.” [Pg30]
This First Major Realisation led him judge his Hollywood runner job and from there it was a set of realisations one after another: ‘…if you met me in 1992, for some odd reason, I would have told you I was a libertarian, and I voted for Ross Perot. The awkward memory that haunts me more is my roller-disco period. [Pg34-35]’
‘…discovering through my boss’s relationship with the Democratic Party that Hollywood, much like the media, was part of the same architecture that Rush Limbaugh described. [pg35]’
‘Her [Camille Paglia] articles and assorted writings began to open my mind up to the fraud that is higher education in America. The origins of the problems in the media and in Hollywood begin in the sacrosanct, stultifying politically correct world of academia. [pg36]’
He gracefully paints his slow transition from spoilt Useful Idiot to Libertarian to Conservative to what can only be described as an Establishment Opposer throughout all of Chapter 3 (Thank God for the Internet) where he writes about how he became involved with the Internet in its infancy and came into contact with both Ariana Huffington and Drudge. Yes Ariana of the (then unformed) Huffingtonpost and Drudge of The Drudge Report. This is a shorter and less dense chapter that covers the initially and anarchistic world of internet media but one that ends with DRUDGE REPORT breaking the start of the Clinton Sex scandal. ‘ “Susie, history just happened,” I murmured. “Drudge just changed everything.” [pg56]’ which sets up for the title of Chapter 4…
Hey, Old Media: It’s Not Your Business Model That Sucks, It’s You That Suck.
Andrew Breitbart had a strong belief that the media was dying because it refused to report on real events or do real journalism. Chapter 4 catalogues the events of the Clinton sex scandal and how the MSM highlights things that they want people to pay attention to, ignore things they don’t want you to hear about and act as protectors of the Establishment instead of a fire that threatens them. He describes how journalism rapidly decayed from reporting to political hit/puff-pieces, outlining specifically the Salon.com piece written by Dan Savage who talked of coughing and licking office equipment of the Conservative Presidential Candidate Gary Bauer.
‘I believe strongly that this was the moment in which the politics of personal destruction… …took over the business. [Pg77]’
Chapter 5 (The Democrat-Media Complex Strikes Back) continues Breitbart’s analysis of the shifting political-media landscape and how the media engine was being used against Bush to continue to delegitimise the Conservative movement. He picks out specific actions such as the creation of the “Dissent is Patriotic” meme which was intentionally misattributed to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin and not the pseudoscholar Howard Zinn, going after dissenters to their narrative such as Joe Leiberman and using the Hollywood machine to bring in Stars to try sway the public’s mind.
Three things stand out most amongst this chapter however. First, Breitbart mentions John Podesta as the key organiser of the Clinton press machine for the first time. Second, ‘Hollywood is more important than Washington. It can’t be over stated how important this message is: pop culture matters.’
Third is possibly the most bizarre, that his old friend Arianna Huffington who had now become an adamant Leftist came to him to ask to help start the Website that would become known as the HuffingtonPost. He agrees and quite frankly his reasoning for it is both hilarious and brilliant but I’ll leave you to read the book to discover why.
Talking of which, all I’ll say about Chapter 6 (Breakdown) is that Breitbart outlines simply and concisely where the Left’s current tactics came from and how they spread throughout American society and into the broader global culture from there. It’s too well written to be summarised further so I won’t.
If you haven’t guessed by now I highly recommend this book and one of the key reasons for it is not only does it give an excellent insight into one of the greatest modern minds of the Right but it also lists out a set or rules for approaching and dealing with the Left. Chapter 7, his Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries is Breitbart’s version of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. (A list I added at the bottom alongside some other choice quotes that didn’t fit this article.)
It now becomes clear why he teased the ACORN story because he needed to outline the context of the story to then show the Media works and how it must be tackled. Once the seven chapter long foreword is laid down he goes straight into Chapter 8 (The Abu Ghraib of the Great Society) and outlines the ACORN scandal. He lists out how O’Keefe came to him, how they planned to spread the information and make it viral all with the ultimate goal of ending ACORN itself.
A highlight from this Chapter that also echoes with many of us in the current Right is he found himself being given out-of-date advice on Centralising the information.
‘It’s the same mistake any start-up Internet or New Media company makes – to say to the audience, “We want you to come here and we want you to stay here,” as though you’re the only site on the Internet. With a singular, potentially viral product like a video, the far better strategy is – to quote another famous salesman – “Spread the wealth around.” [Ch8 Pg166]’
Once the videos started dropping so did the predictable attempts at damage control by the Left-run media and every lie, cover-up and panicked meeting is noted down. ACORN’s fall from grace is magnificent and Breitbart highlights how even Clinton, Podesta and Obama were wheeled out to try contain the unexpected disaster that had crashed through the front door.
And all of this happened simply because the corruption was there and it was real.
It wasn’t a fake scandal pushed out to grab headlines, it was real and that’s a terrifying power that we have. We can break scandals that are real. It’s something Breitbart took to set up for Chapter 9 (Tea Party Protector) where he gives examples of the Media attempting to shut down the Tea Party often at either the behest of the DNC or with their direct involvement.
‘And ultimately we’ll win, because their ideas simply don’t work. No amount of media spin can change that. [Pg207]’
Now I mentioned at the start of this article that I think Breitbart’s Heart Attack was suspicious. That’s because of his involvement in the destruction of ACORN, his almost single handled push for the Weinergate scandal and his threats against John Podesta made just before his death3.
The Weinergate scandal is covered in the Afterword of the latest print of the book. Something that eventually caught up with Anthony Weiner during the 2016 election and had him sent to prison.4
He chronicles how he pushed the story into the mainstream but what stood out most amongst the details was that Breitbart, a man brought up in a traditional Jewish home who spent most of his young life drinking and doing odd jobs in Hollywood, became one of the most vicious opponents of the DNC, Hollywood and Media with seemingly no other Conservative or Right Wing voices joining him. Every other voice was either playing passive or playing defence. He was the only one digging for scandals and dirt and forcing it out into the public eye. He was the only one playing offence.
Whilst reading the book I’ve felt the Andrew Breitbart thought similarly to me and maybe that’s why I was able to see his conclusion coming. Hell, I just outlined it. The Epilogue titled Looking Ahead, covers the fact that if Conservatism, American Traditionalism, the Tea Party etc. want to succeed in the 21st Century and take control of the narrative… They need to attack, to go on the offensive.
He talks of making friends and connections between Hollywood’s hidden conservatives and Right Wing whilst, in length throughout the whole book, explaining bit by bit how he pursued the Truth and fought to expose Corruption to further his own beliefs.
Breitbart outlines what should happen in the future and now that we live in the Future we can see that the Conservative/Republican movement refused to accept what he recommended, whilst the MAGA/Alt-Right crowd swallowed the advice wholeheartedly. This chapter outlines the need to return to ‘True Conservatism’, realise who the enemies are (Soros, Media Matters and MSM) and who the allies are (Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh).
This whole book was written by a man desperate to revolutionise the way the Right should fight and conduct themselves. To fight the Marxists pushing to remove humour, responsibility and hope from the great traditional institutions of the West. It was written at a time when even saying ‘you should attack your opponent in a debate’ was seen as improper and rude, when universities were still seen as bastions of Free Speech and when the Internet was still edgy and ungoverned.
Yet time hasn’t made the book irrelevant, if anything it’s more relevant as we are no longer fighting a hidden machine, it’s in the open and easily identifiable. Soros and Podesta are no longer shadowy puppet-men, we know they exist but there isn’t any reason in knowing who they are if you don’t do anything about it and that’s why this book is so good. It discusses how to deal with the Left and the Media without getting bogged down in meaningless details.
Not only that it shows one specific thing.
The Right has Truth on its side, and the Truth always wins.
- Interview and breakdown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Q_jDURuQI)
- Breitbart’s Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Revolutionaries:
- Don’t be afraid to go into enemy territory.
- Expose the left for who they are – in their own words.
- Be open about your secrets.
- Don’t let the Complex use its PC Lexicon to characterise and shape the narrative.
- Control your own story – don’t let the complex do it.
- Ubiquity is key.
- Engage in the social arena.
- Don’t pretend to know more than you do.
- Don’t let them pretend to know more than they do.
- Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
- Don’t let them get away with ignoring their own rules.
- Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.
- Believe in the audacity of Hope.
BONUS: Andrew getting angry at Podesta
Other choice quotes:
The Left made me do it! I swear!
I am a reluctant cultural warrior. [Chp1 Pg11]
It seemed to me that while Professor Limbaugh was focusing on the corrupt relationship between politics and the media and Professor Paglia was focusing on the corrupt relationship between politics and academia, I was beginning to hyperfocus, as we ADD types are apt to do, on the corrupt relationship between Hollywood and politics, and how academia, the media, and the political class conspicuously either ignore or denigrate all the ideas, authors, and voices that were now my lifeblood. [Chp2 Pg36]
“[T]he realization of the objective of tolerance,” he wrote, “would call for intolerance toward prevailing policies, attitudes, opinions, and the extension of tolerance to policies, attitudes, and opinions which are outlawed or suppressed.” America was experiencing a “repressive tolerance” under which dissenting viewpoints were stifled; what it needed was “partisan tolerance.” [Ch6 Pg122]
I heard that they [the Founding Fathers] were a loose band of malcontents who didn’t have a mass movement behind them. [Ch8 Pg171]
I had a chance to demonstrate that the Complex is a unitary, tyrannical organism that serves to suffocate those who disagree with its collective worldview and silly utopian aphorisms. [Ch8 Pg172]
And I knew that for the Obama phenomenon to continue, media control was everything. Here was a construct whom the mainstream covered on a routine basis, whom they never bettered, who was in fact elected by them through platitudes and misdirection. That’s why it never crossed my mind whether I should play fair.
Fair loses. [Ch8 Pg174]
The biggest key to the success of the ACORN story was the structure we had created. I am a single organism who can act swiftly and make decisions on the fly. The Complex is a leviathan, an entity that moves slowly, that has natural momentum and can’t stop on a dime… They are entirely predictable. [Ch8 Pg190]
Then, a new low. In August 2009, MSNBC took a photo of a man carrying a gun at a rally, but cut off his head and hands in the photo, as Contessa Brewer intoned, “There are questions about whether this has racial overtones… white people showing up with guns.” Dylan Ratigan and Toure agreed with her. There was only one problem: the guy carrying the gun was black. MSNBC had deliberately cropped the picture to try to avoid the inconvenient fact that it contradicted their (false) narrative. [Ch9 Pg196]
‘And it [MSM] is going down, slowly but surely. Its decline is evidence by George Soros’s last minute, preelection cash infusion into NPR ($1.8 million) and Media Matters ($1 Million). The MSM is so weak that its existing infrastructure needs to be buffered by a destructive, anti-American individual in order to ensure that even more ground isn’t lost. To his credit, Soros understands that controlling the narrative is key, and media do that much better than the politicians – especially in the twenty-first century, a hypermedia age.’ [Epilogue Pg220]