This week my new film, "Hating Breitbart," about the life and contributions of the late self-described conservative “middle class” media mogul Andrew Breitbart, opens in theaters across the country.
Like many, in his youth Andrew didn’t self-identify as a conservative. He grew up in a very liberal section of a very liberal city inside a very liberal state: Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, respectively -- an ideological trifecta that does a pretty thorough job of eliminating any competition of ideas.
One of the key scenes in "Hating Breitbart" comes when Andrew’s father-in-law Orson Bean, describes the genesis of Andrew’s political transformation from typical Brentwood liberal to a warrior for the conservative cause and a tireless critic of the left-wing media.
Bean recounts how Andrew scoffed at him for having a book by Rush Limbaugh on his desk. “You have a book by Rush Limbaugh?” Andrew incredulously asked.
In what would prove to be one of the transformational moments of Breitbart’s political coming of age, Bean gave his future son-in-law his copy of that Rush Limbaugh book and said, “Why don’t you take it home and read it.”
Thanks to Orson Bean, Andrew read that book and thus began his journey of transformation from that of default liberal to purposeful conservative.
In the film, Breitbart also talks about the impact that the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings had on him, just as they did on millions of Americans.
Like many, Andrew describes being giddy with anticipation of the epic takedown of this evil conservative villain. Popcorn in hand, he sat down to watch the spectacle unfold, and soon found himself confronted with a personal crisis of conscience.
Much to Andrew’s surprise and horror, not only was Clarence Thomas decidedly not a monster, he was being judged from on high by a panel of old white men, Senator Teddy “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy among them.
The optics of the hearings made Andrew sick. He saw it as a hypocritical, televised lynching of Clarence Thomas’s reputation.
Andrew Breitbart’s fierce passion for the conservative cause, and its treatment in our nation’s mainstream publications, was powerfully nurtured by these stalwarts of the conservative movement.
And while Andrew’s path to conservatism might have been unique, the journey was not. Every day, the mainstream media and the institutional left behave in ways that serve to awaken the consciousness of default liberals who’ve been fed a steady lifetime diet of liberal narratives.
Andrew knew he was not alone in what he believed, or in the disillusionment he felt for his former preconceived notions. In fact, he banked on there being a whole community of like-minded fellow travelers who were also disgusted by what they’ve seen from our modern Progressive movement.
Those people became Andrew’s contributors and readers. In the film, Andrew confidently declares to a crowd of thousands outside of our nation’s Capitol building, “My media empire is you!”
"Hating Breitbart" documents the battles Andrew and his empire waged on the media stage as they fought for a voice, and the right to have their voices heard in a body politic dominated by one party rule of thought.
No doubt Andrew’s mentors should be proud of the beneficiary of their inspiration and what he represents. Because of them, there is an army of Breitbarts, and it’s here to stay.
Andrew Marcus is a filmmaker and writer/director of " Hating Breitbart" which premiers in theaters and on DVD/VOD on May 17.