Right Wing blogger Andrew Breitbart is now dead. The notorious founder of the website, BigJournalism.com, found himself at the center of numerous controversies, most notably, the misleading smear of Shirley Sherrod of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Although I am sure Mr. Breitbart has done some good things in his life, it was his effort to unfairly ruin the career of a dedicated Black civil servant that forever sealed his legacy in the African-American community. What Breitbart did to Sherrod was simply unforgivable, we know that. While it is unfortunate that Breitbart died with such a terrible stain on his legacy, this must be compared with the fact that the aging Shirley Sherrod could have easily died with the world thinking that she was an irresponsible racist.
But dying at the age of 43 is not a fate deserved by any of us, and it is entirely inappropriate to pop champagne bottles over the untimely death of Mr. Breitbart. Death is never something to celebrate or even smile about. There were millions of Americans who appreciated Breitbart’s passion, and we should respect anyone willing to fight day and night for what they believe in.
Breitbart’s achievements do serve as an example for many African Americans seeking to create voices of truth in a country that doesn’t always allow it. Breitbart didn’t own a television or radio station, just a website. He put together a solid strategy for marketing his platform and getting into important conversations. He also worked together with other conservatives to create a unified voice to help them achieve their objectives. So, while none of us will be putting Mr. Breitbart’s picture on our living room wall, we should remember that we can even learn something from our adversaries.
At the same time, there is no reason to pretend that Breitbart was not an obstacle for those who seek racial progress and equality in America.
He will be remembered as a member of the conservative machine, which seems to view the truth as optional, and is willing to engage in unethical tactics to keep power in the hands of the few. Such aggressive and misleading tactics are necessary when the facts are often your enemy.
May Andrew Breitbart rest in peace. But I won’t be the one giving his eulogy; I’ll just leave that one to Rush Limbaugh.