Posted on | March 1, 2012 | 38 Comments
Aleister at American Glob shares a memory of being an unknown blogger in fall 2008 when he learned that Andrew Breitbart was launching Big Hollywood:
Without expecting much, I emailed him. All I said was that I heard about Big Hollywood and I liked his idea. How can I help?
Less than ten minutes later, he wrote back.
“Thanks for writing. Here’s my cell number… call me.”
You have to understand, as a blogger I email other bloggers and media people all the time. I never get a response like that so quickly. I was a little stunned but once I had a chance to gather my thoughts I called him and he answered.
We talked about his background and mine, what he was trying to do and the people he had already recruited to help him. I remember thinking at the time – I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.
A short time later I was contributing material to a nationally recognized blog. I’ll never forget my gratitude for being allowed to be part of something so special.
“I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.”
That story captures the essence of what was so amazing about Breitbart: He was always open to everybody. How many hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people had his personal cell-phone number? He would talk to anybody. Merely by talking to them, and more importantly, by listening to them, he would make them feel important, make them believe that there was real value to whatever it was they were doing for the cause.
A few months ago, I’d called or texted Breitbart about something and left my cell-phone in the kitchen, plugged in to re-charge, while I worked in my home office. So the phone rang and my son Jefferson answered, then brought the phone to me. Andrew and I talked a while and, after I’d hung up the phone, Jefferson said: “Wow, Dad, you know Andrew Breitbart?”
A lot of people knew Andrew Breitbart. He loved to meet people, to hang out and socialize. Among those whom you could call “celebrities” in the conservative movement, he was the most accessible person I knew, no matter how famous he became.
I first met him at CPAC 2007, shortly after he’d launched Breitbart.com, when he was still known mainly to news junkies, as Matt Drudge’s longtime right-hand man and the guy who had helped Arianna Huffington launch HuffPo. And a few months later, I interviewed him while he was in D.C. for a Reason magazine event:
“The idea that I could do for a living that which I would do in my free time, for free, is the single greatest thing on the planet,” he says.
“I realize that my entire brain was meant to be connected to the Internet — it is my Ritalin. I don’t feel that I have a disease now. I really don’t. I’m like, ‘Oh, finally the device has been invented.’ That’s why I call it a panacea. The Internet is the greatest single invention, to me, ever.”
You can read the rest of that. Breitbart was a visionary — inimitable and arguably irreplaceable. Michelle Malkin says, “If he were here, he’d be retweeting all the insane tweets from the Left rejoicing over his death.”
Of course, he would. He was fearless like that, and took an ironic pleasure in being hated by the Left. He was extraordinarily generous with his time, and lent his support to many good causes.
Andrew had agreed to be a board member of the National Bloggers Club, whose co-founder Ali Akbar is now organizing a Saturday night memorial in Breitbart’s honor in D.C. Just send Ali a Twitter message if you’re interested in attending.
So many people like Aleister had the same experience: “I can’t believe I’m talking to Andrew Breitbart.”
And now they all have the same painful feeling: “I can’t believe I’ll never talk to Andrew Breitbart again.”
Saturday, 7:30pm until 10:30pm
722 12th ST NW Suite 400 Washington? DC 20005
All friends are invited to attend and honor Andrew’s accomplishments in journalism. We expect several members of Congress, bloggers, and journalists who knew Andrew as a visionary and a warrior for the conservative movement.
ATR is graciously hosting this event.
UPDATE II: This is typical Breitbart: A few hours before his death, he stops into a bar, finds himself debating a total stranger, and doesn’t mind at all:
“He was friendly and engaging,” Sando recalls. “I said, ‘You can’t be very happy with the slate of Republican candidates’ and he said, ‘Why would you say that?’ I said, ‘Well, they’re talking about contraception,’ and he said, ‘The conversation is being framed by the liberal media.’ I said, ‘Well, the media isn’t writing Rick Santorum’s speeches for him.’ We had a back-and-forth for awhile until we said we weren’t going to agree on some things.”
The friendly debate continued in the bar as Breitbart sipped red wine, says Sando. “We just hit it off, he was delightful. There were other people who sat down and joined the conversation.”
Notice how Breitbart responded to Sando’s provocation with an open-ended question: “Why would you say that?” A tiny glimpse at Breitbart’s brilliance — rather than go immediately on the defensive, make your antagonist explain his challenge.