How Andrew Breitbart Stopped Occupy

How Andrew Breitbart Stopped Occupy

Where is Occupy Wall Street today? Where are the thousands of demonstrators they promised to bring to the Republican National Convention? If Occupy Wall Street was ever a movement–and not just a mainstream media-created, union-mustered, Barack Obama-endorsed Astroturf community organizing scam–then it was the first movement in history to be stopped by one man with a website. That man was Andrew Breitbart.

The film that premieres at the RNC today, Occupy Unmasked, is a serious documentary.  Yet it is important to remember that when Andrew first confronted Occupy, he did so with humor. 

When Andrew and I went to Occupy LA last October, we captured the movement in all its totalitarian lunacy, complete with a pony-tailed SEIU “minder” who followed us around and a grad-school socialist whose inspiration was a friend in prison for robbery.

Andrew took the measure of the Occupy movement right away, and made it a priority for Breitbart News to expose what the protests were about and who was behind them. 

At first it was a media story, pointing out the hypocrisy of the mainstream media as it celebrated Occupy after smearing the Tea Party as violent and extreme. Our John Nolte began compiling a rap sheet of Occupy arrests that soon ran into the several hundreds. Then Lee Stranahan discovered that a New York Times journalist arrested at the critical Brooklyn Bridge protest was in fact a self-declared anarchist deeply involved in planning the protests. 

Soon our army of citizen journalists began going into Occupy camps and reporting what the media would not, live-streaming from Occupy riots and embedding in the Twitter and Ustream feeds of Anonymous hackers and Occupy activists worldwide.

We soon discovered an archive of emails among Occupy organizers that revealed both their revolutionary ambitions and their cynical tactics–such as using children, veterans, and the disabled as human shields in clashes with police.

And Brandon Darby, who had helped the FBI prevent anarchist violence at the 2008 RNC, soon alerted us to a pattern of sexual assaults at Occupy camps being covered up by organizers and the media. That story, more than any other, became Occupy’s undoing, because it showed how a movement supposedly representing the oppressed was hurting the most vulnerable. 

It was Andrew himself who finally broke through the mainstream media’s wall of silence. When he shouted “Stop raping people!” at Occupy at CPAC, some of us thought he was crazy–until we realized his spectacle had forced the media, finally, to cover the story.

It was Andrew’s genius to use the full arsenal of Alinskyite tactics–satire, street theater, sensationalism–to defeat the left’s Alinskyite attempt to create a movement that could match the authenticity of the Tea Party. His next step would have been to show how the Hollywood elite was not only supporting Occupy but bankrolling it. The day before he died, Andrew nearly had a call with Michael Moore. It would have been interesting.

Andrew defeated Occupy. But if it failed as a movement, it survived as a meme–the “99%-vs.-1%” that the Obama campaign has made its focus. 

Andrew predicted that Obama’s support for Occupy was an effort to preempt Mitt Romney. He also believed Americans would reject Obama’s tactics if they knew the true nature of Occupy, and if conservatives were willing to fight back against the media. 

That #war continues today.

Rep. Michele Bachmann and members of the Breitbart team will introduce Occupy Unmasked on Thursday at 4 p.m. EDT at the Citizens United Theater at Liberty Plaza at the Republican National Convention.


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