Hating Breitbart

Respected by some, reviled by others, conservative publisher/provocateur Andrew Breitbart used combative style and entrepreneurial zeal to counteract the news media he distrusted. Breitbart, who died last year, launched a small army of websites, including BigGovernment, BigJournalism and BigHollywood, each staffed by activists dedicated to the destruction of the old-media guard. More often outrageous than authoritative, he realized sooner than most that creating controversy was the best way to court attention in the new-media universe. His shoot-from-the-hip approach generated genuine scoops, including New York representative Anthony Weiner’s sexually explicit Twitter messages. It also created embarrassments, such as the 2009 hidden-camera ACORN “exposé” that misleadingly portrayed a community worker as being complicit in a sex-trafficking plot. In a court settlement this March, the man in question got a public apology and a $100,000 settlement. Breitbart, who published and promoted the video, and on whose website it remains uncorrected, once said, “I have two speeds: humor and righteous indignation.” Filmmaker Andrew Marcus spent 30 months and traveled to 15 cities to capture that spirit for his 85-minute behind-the-scenes documentary “Hating Breitbart.” (Inver Grove, PG-13 for thematic material and brief strong language, unavailable for review).