You are hereForbes: Andrew Breitbart Wielded The Internet Like a Shotgun
Forbes: Andrew Breitbart Wielded The Internet Like a Shotgun
-By Dave Thier
March 2, 2012- Andrew Breitbart’s death came unexpectedly Wednesday, but his legacy will be debated for years. I didn’t agree with his politics, but one thing was clear: Breitbart was probably the best manipulator of the new internet era, and he’ll forever change the way that the blogosphere interacts with government and public opinion.
Breitbart was a pioneer of new media before he became a public figure, as a founding employee of both the Huffington Post and the Drudge Report. When he set to building his own empire, he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt what he had learned from his time at both those organizations: he had seen the way a story travels through the internet, and he understood how to make people say what he wanted whether they knew it or not.
Take the Shirley Sherrod case – when Breitbart “leaked” a video of USDA employee Shriley Sherrod appearing to make some racist remarks. It was a non-story through and through: just a clip taken out of an old speech with all the qualifiers removed so that it became about something it wasn’t.
But he made it a story. He knew how to edit the video, he knew where to publish it, he knew how to circulate it. He knew it would be corrected a day or two later and he knew how to handle that, as well. He didn’t just make the internet dance to his drum, he had people all the way up to the Secretary of Agriculture enslaved to the script he had written for them.
Once Sherrod resigned, it slowly became clear that the entire situation had unfolded exactly to Breitbart’s plan.