Andrew Breitbart, Right Online, and the (Biblical) Spies of Israel
In this week’s Torah portion, read by millions of Jews in congregations around the world, we learn the story of Joshua and the spies. These were twelve representatives of the people of Israel, one from each tribe, sent by Moses to scout out the Promised Land and to report what they had seen upon their return. They were the first reporters, the first journalists in recorded history, and their work would determine the fate of the nation.
The Bible relates that when the spies returned from their mission, they confirmed that the land was indeed one of milk and honey--but that the people in it were too mighty to be overcome. That was, at least, the report of ten of the twelve. The other two--Joshua and Caleb--dissented. Caleb’s dissent was particularly important because Joshua was to succeed Moses as leader, and therefore he was seen as a biased source.
Because of the report by the majority, the people despaired--and they were punished for their lack of faith by having to wander the desert for an additional forty years. None of them would live to enter the Land of Israel. Only Joshua and Caleb would be given that privilege--Joshua to lead the military conquest of the land, and Caleb to live in the holy city of Hebron, where the forefathers and foremothers of the Jewish people are buried.
Andrew Breitbart evoked Joshua. He was not just a reporter, but a general. He sought the truth--even as he fought for conservative values of liberty, faith, and national security. He stated his bias up front--unlike his foes in the mainstream media, who propagandize under the false cover of objectivity--and took on both the media and the left, standing up for those who had been victimized for exercising their constitutional rights.
We know that Andrew won because of the way that President Barack Obama has been forced to talk about the two competing visions of America that voters must choose. Until very recently, the Obama campaign (and the media) seized on every gaffe by Mitt Romney as proof that he is an extremist or an elitist. But because of Andrew’s “Vetting” project, people are waking up to the severe problems in Obama’s own background.
Obama does not want to talk about the ideological contrast between him and the GOP--because the fact is that America is a center-right nation. Conservatives outnumber left-liberals like Obama. So Obama’s only chance is to embrace some conservative ideas--as Bill Clinton did in 1996--but to say that his methods are more humane than those of his opponents. Yet he cannot--because he has a radical record that cannot be buried.
Andrew won--and continues to win--by beating the media at its own game, by telling the truth, as Joshua did, against an overwhelming tide of conformity and lies. When we lost Andrew, we lost that general--in cultural battles as well as political ones. But Andrew’s legacy is a growing army of Calebs--people may not have set out to be warriors, perhaps, but who, from love of their country, feel compelled to tell the truth about it.
Each of the many journalists, bloggers, activists and friends who have gathered at Right Online is a Caleb, a patriot determined to tell the whole truth about our great nation--and the dangers it faces, against the overwhelming power of media bias, political attack and even peer pressure. We do not come together to adopt the same agenda--we are, after all, non-conformists--but the same spirit, which lived in Andrew, and lives and fights still.
(The painting above, by Giovanni Lanfranco, is entitled Moses and the Messengers from Canaan--an image of which was found on this left-wing blog. Interestingly, Moses is depicted--incorrectly--as having horns of light emanating from his head, the result of a familiar--from Michaelangelo--mistranslation of the Hebrew word for "rays," which is very similar to the word for "horns.")