Posted on | December 22, 2012 | 45 Comments
“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.”
– Andrew Breitbart, May 2007
“He had so much energy. He was so positive. . . . He was definitely a mentor. He was great to his employees. . . . He leaves behind a huge legacy.”
– Dana Loesch, March 1, 2012
“This case concerns a poorly managed but well meaning relationship gone tragically awry, resulting in the attempt by one vindictive party to sabotage the reputation and career of another. . . .
“For reasons that may just as easily be attributed to basic ideological conflicts, the working environment for Loesch became increasingly hostile.”
– Dana Loesch v. Breitbart.com LLC, December 2012
Generally speaking, when a routine personnel matter at a political news organization turns into a federal lawsuit that zooms to the top of Memeorandum, we might suspect that editorial management practices are not optimal, to say the very least.
Look, I once worked for the
legendary notorious Otis Brumby, the pluperfect stereotype of the temperamental domineering publisher.
Otis recently did the world of journalism an enormous favor by dying, so that he can’t sue anyone for libel. Then again, truth is the ultimate defense and there were alway plenty of witnesses willing to testify that Otis was one evil, mean and crazy son of bitch.
A certain level of “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” in the newsroom therefore seems entirely normal to me, experience that came in quite handy during my decade at The Washington Times, another news operation where the words “commitment” and “institution” have special significance.
Megalomania as a managerial principle is perhaps a suitable topic for a graduate thesis at the University of Columbia J-school, but I digress . . .
- Andrew Breitbart never would have let this happen;
- There’s much more to the story; and
- Dana Loesch has already won.
Whatever happens to the lawsuit, Dana is and will remain a person much beloved by the conservative Tea Party grassroots, whose light cannot possibly be kept hidden beneath a bushel.
The problem for the defendants in this lawsuit is that there is now blood in the water and the sharks — TPM, ThinkProgress, Media Matters, Mother Jones, Slate, Salon, Politico, Gawker, etc. — are going to insist on having themselves a feeding frenzy.
When McKay Coppins did his little “sources say” story in October, it pissed me off, because institutional loyalty and staff morale are essential to any news organization. It was shocking to think anyone who worked for Breitbart would have anything to say to McKay Coppins that did not begin with “fuck” and end with “you.”
Now, however, in my mind’s eye I’m seeing a 4,000-word article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, or an equally in-depth cover article in The New Republic — written by liberal journalists who despise everything that Andrew Breitbart believed — and there is nothing anyone can do at this point to prevent that from happening. Too many people are already talking, and the inherent news value is too great, to convince an editor that it’s not worth reporting at length.
Go read Dana Loesch’s lawsuit and ask yourself what is meant by such phrases as “poorly managed . . . vindictive . . . sabotage . . . basic ideological conflicts . . . increasingly hostile.”
Well, these are merely allegations, eh? So far as we can claim to know, all these things are wholly imagined by the plaintiff, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
I first met Andrew Breitbart at CPAC in February 2007, and interviewed him for a feature profile in May 2007. I hung out with him many times over the years, including at the Michigan AFP event in February this year, just a few days before his untimely death.
And I think everyone involved in this unfortunate mess — defendant, plaintiff, and the horrified witnesses — can agree with this four-word sentence: Damn, I miss Andrew.