Thursday, March 01, 2012
The insufferable Greg Gutfeld calls Andrew Breitbart the most fearless man he ever met.
It's easy to be fearless when you have no scruples whatsoever -- in fact, it comes somewhat naturally.
I'm not going to be ghoulish and applaud the death of Breitbart, who collapsed suddenly early this morning in Los Angeles and apparently couldn't be revived. It should go completely without saying that I wanted to see him dead as little as I'd want to see almost anyone dead, particularly at the personally disconcerting age of 43. But likewise, I can't in good conscience pay tribute to what had, over the past several years, become his life's work: the infusion of scandal, bile and simple dishonesty and fraudulence into the political discourse, without even a hint of regard for journalistic ethics or a dedication to the truth.
I feel this way not because there was a vast chasm between Breitbart's politics and my own -- for the record, I actually admired him quite a bit as a showman and provocateur -- but because there's a difference between a divergence of opinions and flat-out lying. Lying is cheating. It's stacking the deck, particularly when you're dealing that deck to a group of people willing to take any hand you give them and revel in it without question. Again, I thought the world of Breitbart's passion; the discourse in this country simply would've been far better served had that passion come with an equally robust sense of personal and professional integrity. I don't doubt that Andrew Breitbart did many great things in his short lifetime -- and obviously I offer nothing but the sincerest condolences to the family he leaves behind -- but he also did an enormous amount of damage. To journalism, to civilized debate, and to real flesh-and-blood people.
I mourn him as a human being, one who I have to believe wholeheartedly could be a pretty good guy.
But I also mourn the dedication to the truth in media that he helped to destroy.
It's profoundly saddening that that may be his overarching legacy.
The Huffington Post: Andrew Breitbart Dead at 43/3.1.12