I was in awe of Andrew Breitbart the first time I met him in the fall of 2005 at Restoration Weekend. Listening to his stories and watching him work was fascinating. His job, at the time working for the Drudge Report, was about the coolest gig a young reporter could imagine.
Andrew was incredibly kind, devoted to his family and work, and most importantly, enthusiastic about life. He was certainly an inspiration to me personally and to countless others who have become reporters, bloggers or activists in search of the truth.
His death at the age of 43 is a tragic loss, not only for the conservative movement, but also for our country. Andrew cherished freedom and liberty. His work had a profound impact on American politics, media and culture.
Shortly after meeting him, we corresponded frequently on Instant Messenger. I’d pitch him the latest scoop from Human Events and continued to do so when I was at Heritage. Sometimes he’d bite, other times not, but it was always motivation to try harder.
“Keep IMing me, and thanks for all,” he signed a copy of “Hollywood Interrupted,” his first book.
As we mourn his death, let’s remember the tremendous contributions he made to enrich our lives through the Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Breitbart.com and the Big sites. Take time to read his book, “Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World.”
While on his book tour last year, he visited Heritage to deliver an highly entertaining and educational speech. He began his talk with a story of his own life:
I was a default liberal growing up in West Los Angeles. I listened to alternative rock on K-Rock and I just went to the movies all the time. Once I got into college, I drank a lot, studied very little and I graduated with less skills than when I went to college.
The seeds of my epiphany towards embracing conservatism was my father saying, ‘We’re no longer paying for your absurd lifestyle.’ … When he cut me off, he actually really meant it and I had to get a real job. I believe that walking, for the first time, in shoes that I bought started my path towards conservatism.
It was that attitude that made Andrew such a fascinating person. He had a way of transforming a room when he entered it. And that was certainly the case the last time I saw him, when he dashed into a ballroom at CPAC last month wearing a Guy Fawkes mask to promote a new movie project.
“We all mourn Andrew today, but we can’t allow our sorrow to consume us,” Heritage President Ed Feulner, himself a fan of Breitbart, wrote in remembrance today. “The challenge for us, for all conservatives, is to react to today’s sad event by following his example, by picking up the sword that lies on the ground before us.”
That’s certainly the case for us. Two years ago we were inspired to transform Heritage’s Center for Media and Public Policy into an investigative journalism operation and create Scribe as a result of his example. We will always be grateful for Andrew’s leadership and dedication. Let the same be true for you.