Andrew Breitbart, 1969-2012

Conservative author and publisher Andrew Breitbart died this morning of natural causes, according to a statement published at his website. He was 43. The LA Coroner's Office confirmed to ABC News that he died shortly after midnight.


  1. He is gone. So be it. Let us pay our due respects, but I am not at all perturbed that his intolerable crassness and self-important irrationality are gone.

    1. I’m not much of a death-celebrator, since it happens to all of us sooner or later.  I just regret when it happens too soon to people I selfishly want to stick around longer, like my brothers Craig and George, and Ronnie James Dio.

      Maybe I’d crack more of a merry grin this time, however, if I could actually believe that “his intolerable crassness and self-important irrationality are gone.”

      Breitbart was many things, but as a fount of misinformation, obnoxiousness, and wrongheadedness, he was regrettably far from irreplaceable.  His media empire, such as it is, remains.  His allies and henchmen still fight for his cause.  There will not be a noticeable diminishment in the column inches of flimflammery and bilious noise generated by his wing of the Right.

      Part of me wishes he had lived to see the worst elements of the movement he sponsored wither and die as growing numbers of the electorate turned away from the words of Cain when he asked dismissively, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and remembered how to embrace the Golden Rule.  But most of me is resigned to believing that the twin demons of Greed and Fear will continue to dominate our political society, and a half-dozen new Breitbarts will simply rise up to take his reins.

      Sounds defeatist, I’m sure, but I’m not going to give up the fight.  Whether I expect my side can win or not.

      1. “Dear God, please raise up hundreds of more Breitbarts. I am very thankful for Andrew’s time on earth and his efforts to make things right in our government and country. This is such a sad morning.”


    1. My suspicion is that he was the way he was because he knew he had health problems and decided to be angry and take as many people down with him as he could.

  2. Sometimes, bad things happen to bad people, and if I’m not allowed to gain a sense of comfort from that, there’s something I don’t understand about what justice is for.

    So, I’m getting a piece of cake with lunch. Go ahead and tell me how petty that is. Then go reread what he did to Shirley Sherrod. If I ever do anything that shitty to anyone, I hope people throw a party when I die, too.

    1.  If you make a living saying mean things about people, you sort of leave the window open for people saying mean things about you when you die, you know?

      1.  Maybe. But if we’re better people than Andrew Breitbart — and I’d like to think we are — then we would close the window and not take the bait. He can no longer vex us, and to me, that is enough.

        1.  You can be better incrementally, like you can choose not to be a racist, sexist, homophobe but be equal in terms on dancing on the grave of some shitheel.

          I’m not saying I’m going to dance on his grave, but I’m not going to negate the possibility of someone being better than Brietbart just because they do.

          1.  Reply to NefariousNewt (reply not working as thread gets more dilute):

            I get what you’re putting across, and it’s cool for you to be nice about it and respect the dead, I can dig that. I just don’t share that perspective I’m coming from a place that says: “You would have to do a hell of a lot to actually lower yourself to the level of Andrew Brietbart, and in fact comments he made about the deceased were some of the least offensive things he is known for because (as I state(d) later on in this thread but prior to now) dead people don’t care what you do to them or say about them.

            Plus while BB may not have a solid political masthead it does skew anarcho/liberal/left/progressive/youruephemismhere so it’s not like we’re going over to FREEP and talking shit to people who are likely to, as a group, be big fans of AB (although I’m a dick and was tempted, but I know by now it would be more unoriginal than crass and while I don’t mind being crass I try to avoid that degree of unoriginal crassness).

            But again, I respect what you’re saying while completely (or near enough) disagreeing with you, you’re not being a dick about how you put it across and that is cool.

        2. I would say that the Venn diagram of “better people than Andrew Breitbart” is probably pretty big, yes. Wait, crap, that isn’t helping! This is hard, not saying mean things about the mean guy!

          1. I don’t want people to construe that we can’t state the truth: he was a hypocrite, he was a liar, he was a self-aggrandizer, he was a conservative fanatic. What I think is important is that we don’t turn this into virulent epithet flinging. He must be remembered for a legacy of divisiveness and we must appreciate his passing as an end of his negative effect on society.

        3. You can still be a good person and a critic at the same time. The world is full of them. I do think that the more he is allowed to pass into history without comment, the better. Reward his efforts with indifference.

          Has there been a quote from James O’Keefe yet?

          1. I agree. Part of the problem with dancing on his grave is that then the conservative movement makes him into a “martyr” and keeps his spirit alive, when we all just need it to pass on to the stony beyond. I would like to think that in a year or two, few will remember him beyond some casual reminiscences.

  3. He died literally just after a Twitter argument.

    Now, I’m not going to celebrate this guy’s death, because he was a person with a wife and kids, but I’m sure as hell not going to pretend to mourn it, because he was a person who destroyed others with lies and called Ted Kennedy a “pile of human excrement” just after HE died.

    1. I’m going with the idea that someone who’s so abusive and arrogant in public wasn’t probably that much different in private, and that his family may be better off, after the immediate shock goes away, without him.

    1. Truth. I have to ask myself was it possible that our society is at fault in not giving him the tools to develop a wider sense of compassion. I also recognize he may have had access to mind-broadening tools but chose not to use them because he was an asshole.

      I also fear the inevitable tributes to him are going deeply disturb those of us with more peaceful natures.

      1. I would have to think he had plenty of tools, and more of the tools to know and understand compassion than many people, and yet he left that part of himself unfilled, and nearly empty by all standards I can judge. I know people who grew up in lives infinitely worse than anything Breitbart ever had to even countenance in his time who are loving, brilliant people and the simple truth is he was not. He wanted to see the darkness in people and when he did not, he tried to create it.


      “In the hours immediately following Senator Ted Kennedy’s death, Breitbart called Kennedy a “villain”, a “duplicitous bastard”, a “prick” and “a special pile of human excrement.”

        1. So you’re saying Briebart’s remarks about Kennedy are “shitty?” Wow, and just after Briebart died, too. That’s “just the worst kind of thing to do.”

          1. Saying “this person said something shitty” is different from “this person was shitty”. I actually don’t see much of a problem with either Breitbart’s comments about Kennedy or people making negative comments about Breitbart (dying doesn’t magically make you immune from criticism) but I think the distinction here that Darren is making is pretty clear.  

    2. There are certain cases, let’s use despots who are still in power as our example, where is is entirely appropriate to dance in the streets when we hear news of their death, so I think it’s a bit overbroad to say that one should never celebrate, no matter how bad the individual who died.

      Breitbart obviously does not rise to this level, and I will not be cheering, singing, or dancing in the street.

      That said, I don’t feel any worse about his passing than I do about the thousands of other people who die each day.  And I don’t really think it’s unfair or rude to note that this development seems unlikely to coarsen or debase the national political discourse in the US.

  4. Obama’s socialist islamic assassination teams probably did him in . Seriously, like someone else said you do not die from natural causes at 43.

    1. Well, you can, of course….but usually it’s something that’s kosher (hehe, see what I did there?) to put in the media right away: heart attack, cancer, embolism, etc.

      Why they’re not yet revealing the “natural cause” involved makes one wonder.

      1. … or that they do not yet know other than that it doesn’t look like suicide or foul play.

        In the end… it’s nobody’s business other than the family’s.

    2. Huh? Are you serious? People die of natural causes at all ages. My dad died of natural causes at age 46. My sister died of natural causes at age 2 days.

      A sudden death… I would guess heart attack.

    3. People dying from heart attacks or strokes in their 40’s is much more common than most people know. My brother-in-law suffered a brain aneurysm in his early 40’s and died within a week. As someone else said, photos of him do not appear to show someone in outstanding physical shape.

  5. I know several people who have had heart attacks in their early 40s. Might be the case here. I wonder what his family medical history looked like. He appeared to be in sloppy shape.

  6. I won’t celebrate most deaths. The exceptions (Bin Laden, Gadaffi) are special cases. Breitbart was not special in that way.

    Regardless, condolences to the man’s friends and family. That said, I shall not mourn the passing of this particular individual overmuch. He brought a particularly vile and insidious brand of villainy to our public discourse in this country, and collectively we will be better for the lack of it. I loathe to speak ill of the newly dead, but considering that he himself never felt constrained by such plebeian strictures, I shall make an exception in his case.

  7. A tragedy for his family, a boon to American public discourse.

    Like many conservative pundits, he seemed to be a rage-a-holic with a persecution complex — a frustrated and envious eternal high school dweeb whose psychopathy infected the media and political landscapes. Now both he and the country are free from whatever personal demons tormented and drove him.

  8. I don’t really care – I didn’t consider him a particular hero or villain – but, hey, mob? Remember this glee, next time a public figure you like dies, crazies dance on their grave, and you’re filled with righteous indignation over it. Insufferably assholish behaviour is still insufferably assholish when you think you’re justified.

    1. I’m not a philosopher, but I believe that there are still some universal, and somewhat sound notions of ethics and morality that you can be judged by. 

        1. And that’s just what the people who hate your heroes think too, and exactly how they’ll justify acting abominably when one of them dies. Will it make you feel better then to believe that their hatred is unjustified, but yours totally was?

          1.  You’re really trying to tempt me into invoking Godwin to make an obvious point.  I won’t say anything crass, but I won’t feel bad either, or be tied down to any notions of  “respect”.   Respect is earned, and raging bullies exist.  Like somebody said already:  False equivalency is false. 

          2. You’ve convinced me. Nobody’s actually any better or worse than anybody else, they just have different fans. Awesome moral compass you’ve got there.

          3. The actual rational thing to do at that point is to evaluate each of the deceased based upon what they did in life, not to just say “You cheered when Hitler died, so some other guy is justified in cheering when Gandhi dies.” 

        1.  I think it’s pretty interesting that you can be “indifferent to the death of someone I consider a bad person without becoming a triumphalist, raging asshole about it” but you can’t read the comments of people who are not indifferent to the deaths of people they dislike without being a triumphalist condescending (albeit you don’t seem to be raging) asshole about it.

          So it’s not a thing that you react to, it’s the reaction to a thing that you react to. It’s like you’re the unknown creature that eats Ouroboros’ vomit.

          See how I’m being an asshole now? It’s ok because I’m just reacting to you being an asshole.

    2. Because you can’t even be bothered to form an opinion on his lack of ethics and poisonous effect on public discourse (not to mention the lives he’s harmed–Shirley Sherrod for one, nameless poor families for others)–your thoughts on proper behavior around his death are pretty worthless.

      In fact, it reminds me of something I recently read: “Insufferably assholish behaviour is still insufferably assholish when you think you’re justified.”

      1. Yup, I’m the asshole here. My opinions are necessarily worthless because I don’t agree with your justification; you’ve sure got me. By not jumping on the corpse-kicking bandwagon, I have exposed myself as being 100% on board with everything some jerk ever did.

        1.  No, calling for decency isn’t making you an asshole. Honestly I have no problem with that. I agree with you that my enjoyment of this dude’s death isn’t my best feature (I mean it’s still who I am, and fuck it feet of clay and all that):

          What it is is the constant condescension and fake moral superiority (I call it “fake” because you’re being a dick in how you go about it so you’re no better than us assholes you’re just being a different asshole) you’re using to go on about it. That is what is making people call you an asshole. I don’t even honestly know that you’re actually an asshole, you might just play one on the internet and that’s cool.

        2. You have no interest in finding out why people would have such a reaction to his death, choosing to play the scold instead, then doctor heal thyself.

    3.  Do you really think you can take the spectrum of human behavior and decide that so long as group a does something group b might do then both groups are the same?

      So you have a guy Let’s call him Smandrew Smeatmart who advocates armed conflict against political opponents, lies about people to the point where they lose their jobs, attempts to use fraud to sway voters, and also enjoys the death of someone he is politically opposed to and if a group or an individual does none of those things other than the last one then they are equivocal.

      This is what you want tp put out there as an example of how your brain works?

      I hear Charlie Manson breathes air and likes sandwiches, so I guess I’m the same as Charlie Manson.

      It is symptomatic of anti-intellectualism to try and simplify thoughts to this absurd degree.

      1. You forgot:  Was instrumental in destroying a community group that helped lots of poor Americans.

        Wow, the more I reminisce on this dude, the more I DO want to say something awful…

        1.  God, if I tried to catalog all of that guys douchbaggery I’d be here all day. I mean I will still be here all day, but I don’t want to do that much typing.

      2. Reductio ad absurdum. You’re not making a shining example of your brain yourself, friend.

        Cheering the death of a political opponent – not a mass murderer, not a brutal dictator, but just a guy who did a bunch of shitty, unethical things in the course of participating in politics in a democracy – diminishes the person cheering and diminishes civil discourse further than he did. If you want to believe it makes you a hero because he was just that bad, go for it, but don’t think it makes you a good person.

        1.  No, it doesn’t. I can’t be diminished from what I am to begin with, which is someone who enjoys the deaths of bad people. You can’t divide me by zero, you can’t decide what constitutes a “right me” or a “wrong me”.

          You can’t even compare my enjoyment and public statements to that effect to what Andrew did because my “public voice” is inconsequential compared to his.

          Of course my reductive argument  was absurd, that’s the fucking point innit’? All you’re doing is picking your own ethos and trying to force it on others, and being a right asshole about it while calling everyone else assholes. And frankly you want to play the “words hurt us all” game consider that dead people don’t give a slim fuck about words, Brietbart is no more it’s a great time to pile shit on him because he’s incapable of caring. Meanwhile you’re being a shitwhistle to people who are very much still alive.

          So excuse me if I don’t take my ethical or intellectual cues from hypocrites.

          Ok, dearie?

          /See how grating that “dear” shit comes off?

    1. Technically death is when people cease earning respect and admiration, not necessarily when they cease to get it. Revisionists may continue to grant it or take it away for centuries.

      1. Marry, ’tis true.  Ever heard of Stieg Larsson?  Had you ever heard of him while he was alive?

        Same thing happened with Keats, van Gogh, Poe, Kafka, Socrates, and Emily Dickinson, among many others who did not achieve much fame during their lifetimes.

        1. And some continually cycle between fame and infamy depending on the particular revisionists of the day. The UK still hasn’t made up its collective mind whether Oliver Cromwell was a national hero or one of history’s greatest monsters.

  9. I had no idea his father-in-law was Orson Bean until I read a news report about his death… crazy..

  10. I just got a healthy dose of finger-wagging on Facebook for not expressing an appropriate amount of sadness at his passing. As though his death is supposed to make us all forget the horrible things he did in life.

    I did not (and will not) say anything so crass as “I’m glad he’s dead.” I am NOT glad he’s dead, as my values do not allow me to be. But it is not the same thing to say I won’t miss his sorry ass one bit, and my conscience is perfectly OK with that.

  11. I make no apologies for reveling in the deaths of those  who wish me ill.

    My only regret is that this sanctimonious blowhard’s death didn’t involve crystal meth and male hookers.

    1.  fingers crossed, developing story and all that.

      Sadly, his family (who AFAIK haven’t done anything that bugs me other than to fail to abort him) will be the only ones to suffer something like that. His fans and various FREEPers are immune to anything other than their own insanity, even if someone unearthed a journal with corroborating documents proving he banged turtles while binging on dope they would just choose to believe it was a conspiracy (the would cleverly call it an “Obamaspiracy” or a “Libspiracy”).

  12. To borrow several quotes from Breitbart himself on the occasion of Ted Kennedy’s death: “Rest in hell, you special pile of excrement”.

    Hey, if he can dish it out, he can take it. I felt sorry for his family while he was alive.

  13. Hey everyone: If I’ve been extra-dickish I’m sorry about that. I mean I’m still pretty glad that this dude is dead and all, and I still think people being jerks about smugly waving some moral superiority thing is worth calling out for hypocrisy, but if I’ve been unnecessarily a dick or hurt anyone’s feelings who was not themselves being a dick I want to say I’m sorry.

    I think I’m still pissed about yesterdays thread on sexist racist jerkwads in video games (here and elsewhere) and I might still have some hulk-rage left over from that.

    /btw: This comment was not prompted by any mods or any kind of threats of censorship or banning (although I haven’t checked my mail in a bit) so nobody who wants to “white knight” me get all riled up, k?

  14. I don’t believe in celebrating any person’s death, so I’ll just say this:

    During his brief life I’m sure Andrew Breitbart embodied a number of admirable qualities, and it’s a shame that he died before I had a chance to see him demonstrate any of them.

  15. For folks like Andy whose lives have a net negative effect on their community, not thru serious illegal acts but thru lots of unethical ones, isn’t this generally jubilant reaction to his death the only punishment he will ever receive? Isn’t this reaction possibly a small warning to others of his ilk that perhaps they should lighten up a bit? Do they want their children to grow up with the stigma, unjustified as that may be for the child, of a connection to such a vile human? Personally, I’m fine with the general reaction. Its called the judgement of history.

    1. There’s a school of thought that says when a good person passes we shouldn’t use the occasion to mourn their death but rather to celebrate their life. I think the reverse holds for people like Breitbart: don’t celebrate his death, mourn his life.

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