Thursday, 1 March 2012

Andrew Breitbart Dead: Conservative Blogger Dies Suddenly At 43

Andrew Breitbart Dead: Conservative Blogger Dies Suddenly At 43
Posted: 03/01/12 09:28 AM ET  |  Updated: 03/01/12 11:44 AM ET
Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger and journalist, died suddenly on Thursday morning, according to his website Big Journalism. He was 43.

The site said that Breitbart died of "natural causes" shortly after midnight on Thursday. ABC News confirmed that Breitbart had passed away. Breitbart's attorney also confirmed the news to CNN.
Breitbart's father-in-law told the Associated Press that Breitbart was walking near his house when he collapsed. Someone saw him fall and called 911. Breitbart was taken to UCLA Medical Center, but could not be revived.
"We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior," the post said. "Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love."
Breitbart came to be well-known for his work with the Drudge Report (he also played an early role with The Huffington Post), and would go on to found the Big Journalism, Big Hollywood and Breitbart.com websites. He was also an author, columnist and ubiquitous commentator in the media.
People from all sides of the political spectrum paid tribute to Breitbart.
Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was fired from her job after Breitbart released an incomplete video of her appearing to say she intentionally discriminated against white farmers —she was actually describing how she overcame such prejudices — sent her condolences.
"The news of Mr. Breitbart's death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning," she said. "My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart's family as they cope through this very difficult time."
Republican gay rights group GOProud, of which Breitbart was a board member until recently, released a statement saying it was "stunned and saddened," and calling him an "amazing friend and ally."
Liberal media watchdog Media Matters also issued a statement. "We've disagreed more than we've found common ground, but there was never any question of Andrew's passion for and commitment to what he believed," the group said.
Matt Drudge, editor of The Drudge Report, made a rare personal statement on his website about Breitbart:
DEAR READER: In the first decade of the DRUDGEREPORT Andrew Breitbart was a constant source of energy, passion and commitment. We shared a love of headlines, a love of the news, an excitement about what's happening. I don't think there was a single day during that time when we did not flash each other or laugh with each other, or challenge each other. I still see him in my mind's eye in Venice Beach, the sunny day I met him. He was in his mid 20's. It was all there. He had a wonderful, loving family and we all feel great sadness for them today.
Arianna Huffington, the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, also paid tribute:
I was asked many times this morning for my thoughts on what Andrew meant to the political world, but all I can think of at the moment is what Andrew meant to me as a friend, starting from when we worked together -- his passion, his exuberance, his fearlessness. And above all, what I'm thinking of at the moment is his amazing wife Susie and their four beautiful young children. My love and thoughts are with them right now.
From the Associated Press obituary:
Breitbart was an outspoken critic of the mainstream media but was lionized by his fans for his efforts at exposing government corruption and media bias.Breitbart was at the center of two video controversies in recent years – one that led to the firing of Sherrod, an Agriculture Department employee, over an edited video of what appeared to be a racist remark, and another that embarrassed the community group ACORN when workers were shown counseling actors posing as a prostitute and pimp.
Sherrod, who is black, was fired from her job as Georgia state rural development director in July 2010 after the video surfaced. She is seen telling a local NAACP group that she was initially reluctant to help a white farmer save his farm more than two decades ago, long before she worked for USDA.
Missing from the clip was the rest of the speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing. Sherrod told the crowd she eventually realized her mistake and helped the farmer save his farm. She has since filed a lawsuit against Breitbart.
Breitbart's websites also featured a 2009 hidden-camera sting video that brought embarrassment to the community group ACORN. The videos show ACORN staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp.
Breitbart also sparked a controversy that ultimately led to Rep. Anthony Weiner's resignation. His problems began on May 28 when Bretibart's biggovernment.com posted a lewd photograph of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a Seattle woman.
Initially, Weiner lied, saying his account had been hacked. But he pointedly did not report the incident to law enforcement – a step that could have led the way to charges of wrongdoing far more serious than mere sexting.
Additionally, his public denials were less than solid – particularly when he told an interviewer that he could not "say with certitude" that he wasn't the man in the underwear photo.
Weiner's spokesman said the photo was just "a distraction" and that the congressman "doesn't know the person named by the hacker."
The congressman denied sending the photo and said he had retained an attorney and hired a private security company to figure out how someone could pull off such a prank.
But Weiner dropped that story line on June 6, offering a lengthy public confession at a Manhattan news conference, acknowledging to online activity involving at least six women.
It was a remarkable turn of events for the brash Weiner, who conceded to a "hugely regrettable" lapse in judgment.

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