Big shocker out of the news community today. Andrew Breitbart has died at just 43 of apparent natural causes. What, you haven't heard of him? Trust me, you've heard of his work -- and not just because he's the guy who called Senator Ted Kennedy a "pile of human excrement" when the liberal lion died.
He was a conservative who helped Arianna Huffington launch The Huffington Post way back when she was still a Republican (remember those days?). And the publisher of six -- count 'em, six -- news sites, including two that bear his name (Breitbart.com and Breitbart.tv), has played a role in the news itself. His networks have produced some huge political stories in recent years, the kind of thing that's brought down Congressmen and major social reform groups alike. So what did he do that affected your life?
1. Took Out ACORN -- The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now officially folded in 2010 for a variety of reasons, but it was Breitbart's decision to run heavily edited videos made by activist James O'Keefe to damage the organization that turned the national attention toward the activist group.
2. Gave Shirley Sherrod, Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a major headache on a national scale -- Remember the woman fired by the federal government back in 2010 for video of her making some scandalous statements during an NAACP fundraising dinner ... only to have everyone from the president on down begging her forgiveness when it turned out the videos had been heavily edited and her comments taken out of context? Those edited videos just happened to have been published by Breitbart, landing him in legal hot water when Sherrod later filed a defamation lawsuit -- which is still going through the courts, by the way.
3. Brought down Congressman Anthony Weiner -- When Breitbart's BigGovernment.com first broke the story that the respected Democrat from New York City had Tweeted a photograph of his crotch to a woman who was not his wife, people were taking it with big grains of salt. He was a conservative who wasn't exactly known for being kind to liberals, and Weiner was spinning a good story about a hacker sneaking into his social media account. Only it turned out Breitbart was right all along: the Congressman known for championing women's causes was, in fact, responsible for the crotch shot. It didn't take long before the aptly named Weiner was out of a job.
These are just three of the major moves Breitbart played a role in. I can't say I agreed with him most of the time, but they're certainly evidence that he had a significant effect on American lives. And dying at just 43 is a tragedy any way you spell it.
Were you a Breitbart fan?
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