He has since retracted the headline and the claim, but in publishing it in the first place, it is not quite certain what he intended. I would like to commend him if he meant it in the way I hope he did.
If by “conservative gay activist” he meant it as an acknowledgement of Breitbart’s remarkable friendship with the gay community, then I commend him for it. Andrew has been invaluable in his commitment to universalizing the conservative message in such a fashion that is audible enough to the gay community to break down the sound barrier created by the organized left to strategically sequester gays into a sheltered voting bloc beholden to the Democrats. This is an agitprop tactic the left has successfully used to create a new community out of gays for their organizational purposes; creating counterfeit social issues that have only existed for just under 20 years, and propping up conservative straw men among social conservative voters as a ruse to further divide the country. No one has been more steadfast in bridging the artificial divide than Andrew Breitbart.
If he is in fact recognizing this, then Signorile would be among the first from the left to dismiss the “racist, sexist, anti-gay” narrative against Andrew, which Andrew would minutes later have screamed and chanted at him by #OccupyCPAC.
Breitbart joined the board of GOProud out of support for gay conservatives and even threw a “Big Gay ’80s Party” at CPAC for gays in attendance who may have felt alienated by groups like the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage whichhad boycotted the conference simply over their co-existence there. He was involved up until the moment the group violated the privacy of a gay man in outing Rick Perry pollster Tony Fabrizio, as Signorile himself notes. His reason for joining GOProud was out of loyalty to gay conservatives, and his reason for leaving GOProud was out of loyalty to gay conservatives.
The legions of leftists who have called Andrew a “homophobe” as a convenient shortcut to actually looking at his record also overlook the fact that Andrew has become an especial anathema among the extremist elements of the conservative movement, with one writerhaving even gone so far as to call Breitbart a “going full gay” simply for believing gays have the right to be a part of the conservative movement.
So if the Arabic proverb serves, that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” then “progressives” who call Andrew a “homophobe” have dear friends–amongst actual homophobes.
We genuinely hope that was Signorile’s intention, but if by “conservative gay activist” he intended it as the latest installment in the cultural left’s perennial yet clandestine legacy of using the very gay-baiting tactics they (mostly groundlessly) accuse the “homophobic” right of employing, then he owes not only Andrew, but his own readers, an apology–and not just a correction.
Signorile recounted in the piece an encounter with Andrew last weekend at CPAC, wherein Andrew recognized Signorile as the outer of Malcolm Forbes’ homosexuality in 1990, an incident which opened Andrew’s eyes to the hypocrisy and shamelessness of the cultural left with which he was previous affiliated. Andrew has cited that, along with the Democrats’ high-tech lynching of Clarence Thomas, as examples of the tactics used by a political class that calls its opponents “homophobes” and “racists” even as it uses gay- and race-baiting tactics to defame them.
The left’s gay-baiting tactic has a long and troubled past, from journalist Hank Greenspun attempting to smear Sen. Joe McCarthy by rumoring that “McCarthy has often engaged in homosexual activities,” to the now-disgraced Media Matters founder David Brockwriting in his 2002 book about Matt Drudge bringing him white roses.
If Signorile was, in fact, gay-baiting Breitbart–and let’s give him the benefit of the doubt until he explains further–then little did Andrew know that the very man who would open his eyes to the institutional left’s demagogic amoralism by gay-baiting Forbes 22 years ago would today use the very same tactic against Andrew himself.
As if what is possibly a bizarre lie about Andrew’s sexual orientation wasn’t creative enough, Signorile made sure to recycle cliched narratives about Andrew’s past work. Claiming that “the irony is rich” in accusing him of “distorting the words of Agriculture Dept. official Shirley Sherrod” (which he didn’t), and “attempt[ing] to take down ACORN with undercover videos edited to mislead” (which they weren’t).
The only “irony” is Signorile’s own apparent attempts to mislead in pointing out Breitbart’s fictitious “attempts to mislead.”
Given Signorile’s deliberate distortions of the truth with regard to Sherrod and ACORN, a distortion about to Breitbart’s sexual orientation, while shameful, would only appear typical. Nevertheless, again, let’s grant Signorile the benefit of the doubt until he explains–which he should do immediately.