I just finished Andrew Breitbart’s book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World!. (The words “Right” and “Nation” are placed in red print in the title, so that the title carries a nice double meaning. Hence the odd capitalization of the title of this post.)
This isn’t going to be your standard book review. It’s going to be a little more personal. I hope that’s OK.
Many of you know that I know Andrew personally. I met him at a monthly Los Angeles gathering that was for years hosted on the first Friday of every month by Scott Kaufer, a reader of the site and one of the greatest human beings I have ever met. Scott provided me with the key to a world of fascinating people too lengthy to list, but which has included Cathy Seipp, Mickey Kaus, Ann Coulter, Tammy Bruce, Jill Stewart, Amy Alkon, Dale Launer, Michael Walsh, Steve Oney, Matt Welch, Tim Cavanaugh, Mike Sullivan, Bruce Feirstein, Bob Sipchen, Ben Sheffner . . . the list goes on and on. And that list includes Andrew Breitbart, through whom I “met” (in some cases virtually) Larry O’Connor, Larry Solov, Adam Baldwin, John Nolte, James O’Keefe, Alex Marlow, Kurt Schlichter, Liberty Chick, Dana Loesch, and so on. Scott has called off the monthly gathering, and I am desperate to find some way to revive it. It enriched my life immeasurably, and I miss the meetings terribly.
For some reason Andrew eventually took to me, and started giving me inside information on what was going to break next on his Big sites — whether it was the NEA scandal, the next step in the ACORN scandal, a new victim of Roman Polanski — the stories seemed endless. And whatever the latest story was, it was always fascinating. Andrew would always swear me to secrecy, sort of . . . but he would permit me to drop vague hints. Long-time readers will remember me issuing knowing pronouncements about what might be the next shoe to drop. (Always trust content from Patterico!) Well, as I think many of you already suspected, 98% of the time I wasn’t guessing. I knew what was coming next.
I will never forget pacing in my back yard, shouting excitedly into my cell phone as Andrew was laying out the plan for releasing ACORN videos out of Los Angeles — and asking my advice about the best way to do it. We had been exchanging e-mails, and at some point I suspected that the woman he was describing on the main L.A. ACORN video — happily offering advice and counsel on how to further a house of child prostitution, according to Andrew — was the same woman who had told the ever-gullible L.A. Times columnist James Rainey that she had angrily turned O’Keefe and Giles out of her office.
If Breitbart had a video of that very same person actually helping O’Keefe and Giles, we had damning evidence of a columnist for a major daily newspaper — a media critic, no less! — accepting the bogus story of an ACORN shill without even having checked with Breitbart. Breitbart said the name “Lavelle Stewart” sounded familiar, but he had to go check. I kept prodding him. In one reminder, I sent this e-mail:
If you get a chance to call me, call the cell: [redacted].
I’m dying to know if “Lavelle Stewart” is our woman in L.A.
Andrew’s response was succinct: “YES!”
In no time flat, we were again on the phone. (Andrew is not big into e-mail. When you e-mail him asking for an important status update on a big story, usually the reply is a terse one-line e-mail asking you to call him. Which is way more fun anyway.) We knew we had a great story that would, once again, discredit the partisan media scoundrels who are responsible for shaping the narrative in this country. We were absolutely giddy. The story led to a series of posts on this site in which I danced with unabashed glee on the grave of James Rainey’s credibility. If you haven’t read those, do yourself a favor. I have almost never had this much fun as a blogger.
Breitbart’s book abounds with this kind of joyous storytelling, of taking on the Big Media goons — a lowly David facing down the Goliath Media Complex, armed with nothing but the truth.
Which, as it turns out — especially when leavened with a little humor — is all it takes to win the day against the biggest liars out there.
But it helps to have a camera in hand. Just today I read some of the best passages in the book. They have to do with Andrew’s efforts to debunk the lie that the Tea Party is racist. Much of the story is recounted in a legal filing (.pdf), highlighted here by Lee Stranahan, against the would-be speech-stomper Shirley Sherrod. I still hope to summarize that legal filing soon, as it recounts the context of the Sherrod lawsuit: namely, the B.S. accusations of racism against the Tea Party. The filing reminds us how Andrew and Larry O’Connor did yeoman’s work to prove that Congressmen were not spit on and called the “N” word. And then, as Andrew’s book so well documents, it all culminated in an incredible story in which Nevada union thugs pelted Breitbart’s group with eggs — and then damn near got him arrested by claiming that he was the guy throwing the eggs!!! I had read bits of this story online before, but it was very clarifying to soak in the entire narrative in the book. The fringe left did what they specialize in: attack you in the nastiest possible way, and then accuse you of doing precisely what they just did to you. Thank God Andrew had a cameraman recording everything, or he probably would have gone to jail — and Eric Boehlert would still be talking about the time Breitbart egged those poor union guys in Nevada.
(To be fair, I have run into people on the right who employ this precise tactic: attack you in the nastiest possible way, and then accuse you of doing precisely what they just did to you. Long-time readers know just what I mean. This tactic is, unfortunately, not limited purely to the left.)
Let me close by saying: I bought the book because Andrew is my friend. As I began reading it, I enjoyed it because I could hear his voice as I read it. But now that I have finished it, I am convinced that every single reader of this site would love it.
There are parts you will disagree with. I did. That’s fine. Andrew would tell you the same.
But if you share the belief that Andrew and I hold, that the real problem in this country is Big Media and its distortion of the basic facts of life — and that the proper way to combat this scourge is with a joyous, unblinking march straight towards the conflagration — you will love this book.
Buy it now. I promise you won’t regret it.