Andrew Breitbart's Pigford Vision
Many have noted the irony of Andrew Breitbart's tireless work to expose the fraud and corruption in Pigford being vindicated by the liberal New York Times--but it's less ironic than you might think. It actually fulfills Andrew's vision on the farmers' settlement story because Breitbart's long term goal was that the liberal media would validate the story.
I should know; I'm the liberal that Andrew Breitbart hired to investigate Pigford.
I was writing for the Huffington Post when I interviewed Andrew Breitbart. In our first conversation, he asked me if I'd heard about Pigford. Like most people at the time, I had no idea what it was. Andrew sent me a draft of the report that he'd worked on with Peter Schweizer and Gary Hewson and told me to look into it myself. I quickly realized that Pigford was a major political scandal that had gone virtually unreported.
Andrew knew that the Pigford scandal was something that was too big to just be covered by conservative media so when I suggested going on the road to do interviews with some key figures in the story, Breitbart took a leap of faith that a guy he'd just met who wrote for HuffPo and had done work for MoveOn would report the story honestly. Andrew had checked out the work I'd done on the John Edwards affair and could see I placed a higher value on truth than staying in lockstep with liberal messaging but still, it was a risk on his part and an example of his dedication to the truth.
A funny thing happened on the road, though; I stopped being a liberal.
Such is the transformative power of the farmers' settlement story, which lays bare the moral bankruptcy of the left by showing their pretense of altruistic concern on race issues is really just a way to buy votes and line the pockets of lawyers and fraudsters. Knowing what I knew about Pigford, it was impossible to maintain any respect for President Barack Obama and his cohorts in corruption.
People talk about how tireless Andrew was on this story but very few actually saw what that meant firsthand --the late night strategy sessions, the constant batting back and forth of information and the amount of time Breitbart spent on the phone talking to the actual black farmers that were the source of the some of the most important leads on the story. Anyone who knew him well will tell you Andrew Breitbart really cared about these hard working men and their stories of betrayal at the hands of the USDA.
When we lost Andrew, very few of the posthumous accolades mentioned that he had absolutely nailed the Pigford story. The Breitbart News team knew we'd gotten it right but for a long time there was cold comfort in that.
The New York Times didn't just validate the facts of the story, however. The front page placement of their Pigford exposé proved correct Andrew's instinct that this was a major story, worthy of deep investigation.
Andrew Breitbart was larger than life and his influence will continue to grow because of his bravery and dedication to the truth. Pigford is just one example of Breitbart's legacy and the story is just getting started. Those who worked with him and loved him miss him every day. I hope we can do him justice.