Why Andrew Breitbart Walked into the Fire with Sarah Palin
Whenever Andrew Breitbart saw that somebody was being unfairly maligned by the institutional Left, he became that person's stalwart defender. Sarah Palin, perhaps more than any other person in recent history, endured the full weight of what Breitbart called the "Democrat-media complex," and so Sarah Palin had no more fierce a defender than Andrew Breitbart.
He never explicitly endorsed her for President--Breitbart, as a rule, didn't endorse candidates. He wasn't a policy wonk, nor did he enjoy punditry--Breitbart's sights were consistently set on the media. He understood how the media can shape, influence, or even manipulate the general public's perception of events and individuals. A favorite theme of the Progressive media's smear-machine, and one which was aimed with particular savagery at Sarah Palin, is the notion that Conservatives are, in a word, dummies. One need not look very far for specific examples.
If Barack Obama claims to have visited all 57 states, we are told he was simply tired and misspoke. If Dan Quayle misspells potato, we are told that he is the stupidest man to ever set foot in Washington, D.C.
If Joe Biden asks a man in a wheelchair to stand up and be recognized, we are told that lovable and gaffe-inclined Joe Biden is just being that lovable and gaffe-inclined Joe Biden. If George W. Bush mispronounces nuclear, we are told that he is the stupidest man to ever set foot in Washington, D.C.
If Barack Obama refers to Navy Corpsmen as corpse-men, well, don't say anything about that because shut up and you're a racist. If Sarah Palin ends a sentence with a preposition, we are told she is the stupidest woman to ever set foot outside of Wasilla, Alaska.
In the meantime, and in the real world, Barack Obama has made Sarah Palin look like a prophet:
- In 2008, President Obama said he wanted to close Gitmo. Sarah Palin said it was a bad idea. Five years later, Gitmo is still open. Point: Sarah Palin.
- In 2009, the Obama administration said it wanted to put the September 11th terrorists on trial in New York. Sarah Palin said it was a bad idea. In 2011, the Obama administration concluded that holding the trial in New York was a bad idea. Point: Sarah Palin.
- President Obama and Nancy Pelosi used every trick in the book to force Obamacare, also know as The Affordable Care Act, down America's gullet. Sarah Palin said it was a bad idea. Three years later, we see doctors dropping Medicare patients by the boatload and insurance companies forecasting premium increases as high as 400%. Point: Sarah Palin.
So, who's the dummy?
Many Americans, to this very day, believe that Sarah Palin said, "I can see Russia from my house." I have had to explain, on numerous occasions and to people who are otherwise well-educated and ostensibly intelligent, that it was in fact Tina Fey, a comedienne, who said that. That so many people, years later, continue to mistake an SNL skit for reality is a testament to the power of the media, to the power of manipulating perception--and the abuse of that power is precisely what Andrew Breitbart so passionately resisted.
But if Andrew Breitbart fiercely defended Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin also taught Andrew Breitbart an important lesson--one which he took to heart for himself, and one which he imparted to others wherever he went: refuse to be destroyed. Do not cower before the name-calling. Do not apologize for your beliefs. Do not hide.
If somebody calls you a racist for criticizing the Obama administration, demand that they explain how you're a racist. If somebody demands that you apologize, respond with, "Apologize for what?" If somebody rhetorically attacks you, punch back twice as hard. Breitbart called this "walking into the fire." He observed that Sarah Palin, by refusing to back down in the face of the smears, became stronger--and by refusing to retreat, she became a touchstone for millions who felt that her peril was their own. And so her resistance became their resistance.
Andrew Breitbart, tragically, is no longer here to walk into the fire with Sarah Palin--or any other targets of media malpractice. His legacy, Breitbart.com, and others must carry the mantle forward from where he left it. As the director of Hating Breitbart, which released nationwide May 17th, I had the profoundly unique experience of following Andrew during the closing years of his life, capturing him walking into the fire again and again on behalf of those who believe in a small, limited federal government, sustainable fiscal policy, and above all, those who revere genuine honesty in reporting.
Andrew Marcus is the director of the film Hating Breitbart which releases in theaters and on DVD/VOD on May 17th. For more information visit www.hatingbreitbart.com