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The Young Turks: On Breitbart
Michael Shure - Epic Politics Blog
March 1, 2012- I have heard a lot of early commentary about how conflicted people are over the death of Andrew Breitbart. I am not. It is actually pretty simple. Breitbart was a son, a father, a husband, and a friend to many people. Clearly, it is a tragic loss for them. Clearly, too, there was a side of him that they knew that the world did not. It is not unusual that people share themselves in different ways to different people. For Breitbart’s family, friends, and colleagues I have sympathy, as I would for anyone who lost someone they loved in an untimely and tragic manner. That is never fair, especially to young children, four of whom lost a father with his passing.
Andrew Breitbart, though, was a public figure. He belonged therefore, in some measure, to all of those who ingested his public persona. I am one of those people. That public persona diminished considerably the public discourse in this country. He was not a journalist, he was a showman whose work was hurtful not just to individuals like Shirley Sherrod, who he unjustly defamed and hurt, but to whole swaths of Americans who relied upon ACORN as a last hope of staying afloat and being part of a community, and in many cases, society. He wrote on Twitter after the death of Ted Kennedy, “Rest in Chappaquiddick.”
He was a provocateur who demeaned people as sport, not to make a point, but to make a sound bite. He found pleasure in being a hurtful opportunist, and he regularly tweaked the truth in order to reach that end. Disturbingly, but in point of fact, he had many followers; many admirers. Breitbart was a master of taking things out of context to make a point. By doing that he put his scurrilous accusations, his untruths, and his haphazard desire to hurt people, into the public forum. The unfortunate part of his legacy is the indelible damage that this obviously bright and passionate life wreaked upon that very forum.