The TV cameras at the Beverly Hilton Hotel’s ballroom on the evening of June 12 were there to cover a foreign policy speech by Newt Gingrich, but during the cocktail hour, all eyes at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s (RJC) Summer Bash were on Andrew Breitbart.
While Gingrich was mingling privately with big RJC donors, Breitbart, the self-described “biased journalist” who broke the still-brewing Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, was working the main room, drinking in adulation from fans who had paid a mere $250 to attend.
Two women in cocktail dresses asked Breitbart to pose for a picture with them. He obliged, putting his arms around their shoulders. “Don’t use this against me,” he quipped as the cell phone camera clicked.
With “Weinergate,” the story of the New York, Democratic congressman’s fall from grace, still in the news, Breitbart’s name was on everybody’s lips. Breitbart’s Conservative website, BigGovernment.com, was first to publish an explicit photograph sent from Weiner’s Twitter account that turned out to have been sent by the congressman. He also orchestrated the release of additional revealing photos taken by Weiner of himself, and made an appearance just before the Congressman’s confessional press conference. Breitbart was a late addition to the RJC event’s lineup, which already included Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R - Fla.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Cal.). Breitbart took the stage at the end of the evening and showed himself to be completely at ease.
“My first event was held here,” he told the audience. “Not in this esteemed room, but in the bar downstairs.” Since then, Breitbart said, he’s had the chance to speak to RJC gatherings numerous times, and he acknowledged that he has financial backers from the ranks of the RJC.
“What a lucrative alliance we’ve created,” Breitbart said.
Beforehand, Gingrich, in his keynote address, had attempted to dismiss the reports that his run for President might be on the skids in the aftermath of the simultaneous resignations of many core members of his campaign staff.
“I knew full well the rigors of campaigning for public office. In fact, I’ve had some recent reminders,” Gingrich said. “I will endure the challenges.”
Breitbart, seemingly unchallenged for the moment, spoke glowingly of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, but, in an interview with The Journal, he dismissed the keynote speaker, saying he’d like to see Gingrich become “the top adviser to the next President of the United States.”
In marked contrast to Gingrich, who offered nine separate policy recommendations about the Middle East, Breitbart painted his support for Israel as simply—and with as broad a brush—as possible.
“I just don’t understand how an inherently decent and free people could be ‘the bad guy,’” Breitbart said of Israel. “I’m glad I’ve become a journalist, because I want to fight on behalf of the Israeli people.”
After telling the mostly Jewish audience that he was kicked out of University Synagogue’s Hebrew school as a child—“that’s where the battle started with the liberal Jewish community”—and dismissing his undergraduate degree from Tulane as training in “moral relativism,” Breitbart rejected the notion of journalistic objectivity in covering Israel.
“You cannot be objective when it comes to right and wrong,” Breitbart said. “And Israel is in the right. So I’m a biased journalist, and I’m having a great time doing it.”
Breitbart’s words were missed by most of the media who had come to cover the event but exited after Gingrich spoke. Breitbart, who grew up in Brentwood, lives in Westwood and has worked for the Web sites of both the Conservative Matt Drudge and the Progressive Arianna Huffington. At the RJC event, he held forth on his preferred target—what he calls “the Democrat-Media-Complex” and seemed as happy that the Weiner scandal was causing difficulty for its subject as he was excited at his own ability to direct the narrative of the mainstream media.
“This is a citizen movement,” Breitbart said of those who contribute to his multiple conservative websites, which are aimed at forcing the media to follow—or at least address—his attacks on the Left. “If you’re not going to cover this truth, every second that you don’t cover this truth, you’re going to look more and more stupid and you’re going to lose more subscribers,” Breitbart said.
Breitbart said he sees evidence of liberal biases everywhere—not least in Hollywood, and he is launching BigHollywood.com to continuously report on it. He professes disappointment with Jewish liberals in Hollywood and the stories they choose to tell.
“I wish [Steven] Spielberg, [David] Geffen, and [Jeffrey] Katzenberg, as representatives of that realm, would invest more in creating content that reflects American values,” Breitbart said.
“‘Munich’ was a paean to moral relativism,” he said, referring to Spielberg’s 2005 film about the Mossad’s hunt for the perpetrators of the attack on the Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972. Breitbart said he liked Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” better. That movie, Breitbart explained, also featured Jews hunting bad guys—but without guilty consciences.
Until this month, Breitbart was best known for his involvement with James O’Keefe’s controversial undercover videos of employees of ACORN, a nonprofit community-organizing group. He also helped circulate footage of a speech given by Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, which turned out to have been misleadingly edited to portray remarks she’d made as racist.
Breitbart described his ongoing plan to create a BigJerusalem.com website to tell Israel’s side of the story in a news landscape he sees as biased against the Jewish State. The online magazine Tablet has reported Breitbart saying he has not yet found a donor to support the project.
Nor would he reveal if BigGovernment.com has any new scoops on Democratic elected officials in the offing.
“If they’re not doing anything wrong, they’ve got nothing to worry about,” Breitbart said.