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Inside the Collapsing Media Empire of Deceased GOP Sleaze-Peddler Andrew Breitbart

In the year after Breitbart's death, his heirs have produced a string of grotesque episodes that have embarrassed even their own impossible-to-shame allies on the right.
 
 
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This article first appeared at Not Safe for Work Corporation.

This March was a cruel month for the American press. The 10th anniversary of the Iraq War briefly punctured the country's cultural amnesia, forcing hacks to sweat out another round of cringing mea culpas.

March was also the anniversary of another less epic media failure, but this one came and went without a whimper: The death of Andrew Breitbart, on March 1, 2012.

In the immediate aftermath of Breitbart's death last year, at age 43, the Beltway media reflexively whitewashed and glorified his work and legacy, canonizing a reactionary circus barker as some kind of American Icon, a gonzo iconoclast, a conservative punk rocker, or a "Zany, Magnetic Media Hacker," as Wired's Noah Shachtman put it. Publications ranging from Time, the Washington Post and Slate sang Breitbart's praises; scores of ambitious up-and-coming media figures burned both ends of the candle to compose the seminal Andrew Breitbart funeral tribute.

Some examples:

  • The Los Angeles Times: "His genius was rooted in the realization that in the new media universe, being outrageous often gets far more attention than being authoritative...In many ways, Breitbart was a throwback to the subversive media manipulators of the 1960s, especially counterculture provocateurs like Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. They courted the media with bizarre antics. Breitbart often did the same."
  • Jack Shafer in Reuters: "I admired the way he ignored journalistic convention and the usual ethical standards to pursue the stories that were important to him. I admired his entrepreneurial approach to journalism and his disdain for the credentialed, self-important press corps."
  • Time: "Breitbart gave hard and must have expected to get it back hard. He came out of the American political tradition that if you cared about things, then you fought about them...Part of Breitbart's legacy is a rise in the power of openly partisan journalism outlets and contested news. But if another part of his legacy–as exemplified by the first reaction to his death–is a rise in skepticism, alertness and critical reading of the media, that's not entirely a bad thing.
  • The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: "Andrew Breitbart was complicated. He clearly saw around the corner of where journalism was headed but the ways in which he used that insight rightfully raise questions about his ultimate motives... If you loved him, you really loved him. And if you hated him, well you really hated him. Having met Breitbart on a few occasions and corresponded with him infrequently over the years, I can't imagine he would want it any other way."

This is how the mainstream press describes great iconoclasts, not paid hatchet-men and extraction industry tools like Breitbart. It's uncanny how these major media obits synced with the rebel-washed image of himself that Breitbart pushed on the public, as for example this quote from his book "Righteous Indignation":

"My mission isn't to quash debate — it's to show that the mainstream media aren't mainstream, that their feigned objectivity isn't objective, and that open, rigorous debate is a positive good in our society. Man, how I long for the days of Sam Kinison, Richard Pryor, Abbie Hoffman, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, George Carlin, and Lenny Bruce."

Slate's Dave Weigel quoted that very excerpt in his Breitbart obituary; what's interesting is Weigel's smart decision to edit the next sentence in that quote:

"Today, the only people upholding their free-speech legacies are conservatives like Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh."

Weigel's decision to edit out that sentence from his Breitbart quote changes everything — put that sentence in, and Weigel's Breitbart is suddenly a lot less interesting and unique and trailblazing. That edit was emblematic of the mainstream media's love affair with an otherwise garden variety GOP sleaze-peddler.

Breitbart, of course, had nothing in common with the comedians whose anti-establishment spirit he claimed to embody. Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce came up from poverty and overcame anti-Semitism and entrenched, violently enforced racism to wield their wit against powerful forces. Bruce was hounded throughout his career by the FBI, local cops and eventually blacklisted from nearly every comedy club in the United States. Whereas Breitbart collaborated with the FBI and New York police to spy on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Perhaps the only thing Bruce had in common with Breitbart, who spent his career in a mostly uncritical national limelight, was his untimely death at age 40 while in the throes of paranoia and emotional collapse.

Breitbart, the adopted son of a wealthy West Los Angeles restauranteur, used his privilege to immiserate the most marginalized, impoverished, widely demonized groups of Americans. He was a faithful errand boy for rich, Scrooge McDuck tycoons like Peter Thiel, Foster Friess, and the Koch Brothers, wielding smear journalism against anyone or any interest that threatened their power — usually African-Americans or groups like ACORN, serving impoverished, neglected inner city communities.

There was nothing innovative or new about Breitbart's smear operation. Indeed, he walked a trail blazed by the now-forgotten snitches and smear artists of the McCarthy era – quasi-eccentric figures like Matt Cvetic and Henry Matusow. Cvetic drank himself to death a few years after McCarthy's fall; while Matusow recanted, was jailed for perjury, and spent the last decades of his life begging for money and working as a clown for children's parties. Breitbart, for his part, collapsed on a sidewalk outside his home in Brentwood at the tender age of 43.

It will never be known if Breitbart's death was brought on by decades of Amy Winehouse-style partying around the glass coffee tables of West Hollywood – exactly the sort of practice that can transform a healthy heart into a dried apricot — or whether he succumbed to a "natural cause" like the hysterical, unchecked hatred that seemed to have consumed his entire, physically precarious being. Though he was the father of four young children, Breitbart seemed to have spent much of his time on Twitter, baiting his perceived enemies with scatological and graphically sexualized taunts. After 25,901 Twitter entries, Breitbart reached his tweet limit, leaving behind a vast right-wing online media empire that still remains largely unexamined.

While pundits gushed over Breitbart's provocations, ignoring race-baiting blunders like the Shirley Sherrod affair and whitewashing his increasingly unhinged behavior – "Stop raping people!" he bellowed at Occupy Wall Street protesters shortly before dropping dead — as a form of "political performance art," no one bothered asking what would come next. Who would take the reigns of Breitbart's websites and how would they preserve whatever undeserved credibility Breitbart managed to maintain in the eyes of the media, which proved to be easy prey to his bullying tactics?

Breitbart's Doomsday Machine

By now, it has become clear that in the months before his death, Breitbart had constructed a journalistic Doomsday Machine and programmed it for an apocalyptic episode of self-destruction. Perhaps it was convenient that Breitbart's heart exploded when it did; as a martyr, he did not have to witness the implosion of his media empire or bear the responsibility he deserved for its rapid demise.

In the year after Breitbart's death, his heirs and associates produced a string of grotesque episodes that have embarrassed even their own impossible-to-shame allies on the right, including:

  • Spreading the lie that Chuck Hagel took money from a non-existent group called "Friends of Hamas." What began as a New York Daily News reporter's burlesque joke-hypothetical question to a Senate staffer was recycled by Breitbart.com editor-at-large Ben Shapiro [see below] and reported as fact from "Senate sources." From Breitbart, the reporter's joke traveled onto the Senate floor and nearly sank Hagel's confirmation as Obama's new Defense Secretary. Even after the story was completely debunked and disavowed even by fellow right-wingers, Breitbart.com remains the only media outlet in the world that continues to stick by its debunked story;
  • In mid-March, Breitbart published a straight news story claiming that Paul Krugman had filed for bankruptcy. The story was sourced from an online news parody site, The Daily Currant;
  • Also in March, Breitbart's most famous protege, video smear-artist and convicted criminal James O'Keefe, wasforced to pay a six-figure settlement to one of the victims of his heavily-edited ACORN videos, which was deceptively re-edited to give the impression that ACORN employees were willing to participate in sex trafficking. ACORN was once a powerful community activist organization working in mostly poor minority communities. O'Keefe's video, which was heavily promoted by Breitbart, helped destroy ACORN and ruin the careers of many of its employees. Other lawsuits against Breitbart associates continue, including one filed by Shirley Sherrod, an African-American employee of the Department of Agriculture who was fired after Breitbart pushed a heavily-edited video manipulated to make Sherrod appear as if she was anti-white. O'Keefe's work has been underwritten by everyone from billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel to the billionaire Koch brothers and the billionaireFoster Friess;
  • At the most recent CPAC conference in 2013, Breitbart.com's sponsored panel bashing Muslims was considered too hateful and extremist by CPAC's organizers and banned from the official CPAC agenda — despite the fact that Breitbart News Network is a major sponsor of CPAC.

Pull the camera back a bit further, looking back on the year since Breitbart died, and the same pattern of appalling failure, journalistic fraud, and malevolence repeats itself on a broader scale. The actual record of Breitbart's legacy — not the manufactured, iconoclastic legacy cooked up by Breitbart's fanboys in mainstream media, but his real legacy — turns out to be much less than advertised.

What Breitbart really left behind is not so much a media business as an asylum for fringe-right degenerates, a motley collection of depraved losers, beer hall rage-a-holics and downright freaks offering themselves up as mercenaries for the rich and powerful, taking dirty jobs no one with a shred of self-respect would consider. As hired-assassins who couldn't hit the side of a barn if their lives depended on it, the unlikely heirs Breitbart once hired as sycophantic underlings come off as a comedy troupe of slapstick fascists — and it would be funny, if not for the powerful corporate forces sponsoring their attempts at sectarian smears and top-down class warfare.

"A Major Letdown"

The string of Breitbart.com's epic failures began with Andrew Breitbart's final act — what he promised would be his biggest bombshell of all, bigger than the Anthony Weiner boner-tweet, bigger than the destruction of ACORN or Shirley Sherrod. In a speech to the 2012 CPAC conference, Breitbart titillated his conservative groupies with what he said was video evidence that Barack Obama was a Manchurian candidate programmed and set upon America by Marxist Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. "Barack Obama was launched from Bill and Bernadine's salon. I was there," Breitbart snarled.

Looking haggard and swollen as he stood before the CPAC audience, slurring his words, Breitbart described the nefarious plot that his bombshell video would soon expose, bringing down the Obama presidency:

"the rest of us slept as they plotted, and they plotted, and they plotted and they oversaw hundreds of millions of dollars in the Annenberg Challenge and they had real money, from real capitalists. Then they became communists. We got to work on that. That is a parenthesis. Barack Obama is a radical, we should not be afraid to say that!"

The speech was just inane and incoherent enough to be taken seriously by Glenn Beck. It should have been a warning sign; it should have been greeted with derision by everyone in the media purporting to do their job — but they were too enamored of Andrew Breitbart, too easily seduced by his marketing power, his "brand," his celebrity, his vulgar attempt at gonzo-McCarthyism... too intellectually insecure to dismiss Breitbart's fake populism for what it was: race-baiting corporate propaganda, handsomely rewarded.

Less than a week after Breitbart's heart popped like a water balloon, the heirs to his legacy were revealed on Fox News' Sean Hannity Show. Seated together in a remote studio were Breitbart's new editor-in-chief Joel B. Pollak, and his mini-me, a weasel-faced anti-masturbation crusader named Ben Shapiro. Before an utterly underwhelmed and clearly disappointed Hannity, the duo unveiled the dramatic Obama video.

What Breitbart's young heirs delivered — what Andrew Breitbart's corpse delivered, posthumously — turned out to be a monumental dud. The video showed President Obama as a Harvard law student, affecting the same relaxed, monotone-dull, soporific way of speaking that soothed voters in the 2008 election. The video needed explaining — the African-American Harvard Law professor, Derrick Bell, was a race- and class-war radical, Breitbart's heirs tried to argue. And Obama hugged him — and embraced him.

To the average viewer, it was hard to get worked up over an arcane doctrine called "critical race theory," which needed explaining. Jeremiah Wright's rants needed no explaining. But Derrick Bell's did.

The anti-Obama right was visibly angry. Hannity tried his best to contain his anger at Pollak and Shapiro, but fellow Fox commentator Juan Williams, the network's token liberal, called it a clunker right on the program:

"I must say, I thought this was going to be so much more," said Williams. "I thought this was going to be a smoking gun... But it really didn't come to much."

Even Glenn Beck was sorely disappointed — and his bar is notoriously low — telling his radio listeners:

"The Obama college tape — wasn't that a major letdown? I mean I feel bad for Andrew that that was the thing that came out right after [he died] because it was a little disappointing. I think that's because, you know, if you die you say to your wife, ‘Oh honey, I have something really important to tell you, don't let me forget.' And then you go and die. And then she finds the note. And it's like, ‘Please remind me, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow.' That's really kind of disappointing, you know. Because you're like, ‘I thought he had something really important to tell me.' ... This thing came out and it was like, ‘The. Last. Story. Andrew. Breitbart. Did: Very. Important. Video.' And you're like...[shakes head ‘sadly, no'] ‘Not so much.'"

And from there, it's been all downhill for Breitbart.com.

Indentured Servitude Limbo

Part of the problem was the "talent" charged with pitching and selling the video to the public. Leaving aside whatever demons Breitbart battled with and lost, his legacy is a company racked with infighting, lawsuits, scandals, embarrassments, and is staffed at key levels with sexual predators, police informants, and genocidal sociopaths.

Right-wing radio host Dana Loesch, editor-in-chief of Breitbart's "Big Journalism" site, would have been the closest thing to a number-two presentable face after Breitbart himself. But weeks before Breitbart died, Loesch had been put out to pasture from her brief stint as a CNN contributor after she came out in support of defiling enemy corpses. Early in 2012, US Marines in Afghanistan photographed themselves defiling and urinating on Taliban corpses, in violation of American military and international law; Loesch went on the air supporting the soldiers, adding that she too would gladly pull her pants down and defile their corpses if given the chance:

"I'd drop trou and do it too."

Andrew Breitbart stood by Loesch, but he was alone; even Rush Limbaugh denounced the corpse defiling.

Problems with Loesch only got worse after Breitbart's demise, culminating in a lawsuit she filed in late 2012, accusing Breitbart's heirs of "forcing her into ‘indentured servitude limbo.'" Loesch's lawsuit asked for a relatively modest $75,000 in compensation (given Breitbart's billionaire sponsors), and demanded that Breitbart.com LLC release her from her contractual duties.

Loesch's lawsuit, filed at the end of 2012, offers a rare insight into the chaotic and poisonous corporate culture that Andrew Breitbart left behind.

The lawsuit describes Breitbart.com LLC as "poorly managed" and describes Breitbart's heirs as a "vindictive party" determined "to sabotage the reputation and career" of Dana Loesch.

Claiming that she'd been identified as "the face of the Breitbart empire" in the fall of 2012, Loesch's lawsuit alleges "internal difficulties the new company had with managing the media ‘empire'" and claimed "the working environment for Loesch became increasingly hostile."

Loesch claimed her contract allowed her to terminate their agreement with a 30-day written notice; Breitbart.com LLC responded that she was bound by the contract to continue with Breitbart.com, yet at the same time, denied her access to the website, effectively muzzling the media company's only media semi-celebrity.

With Loesch out of the picture, the "face of Breitbart.com" title has mostly gone to the same two clowns — Joel Pollak and Ben Shapiro — who botched the Obama student video on the Sean Hannity Show, and started Breitbart down the long slide into the fringe-right margins.

And that is just how Pollak and his little sidekick Shapiro, a pair of ambitious celebrity-seekers, like it. Pollak and Shapiro both harbor deluded fantasies of becoming the telegenic faces and voices of the conservative movement. The only thing holding them back: their faces and voices.

The Dorm Troll

Joel Pollak was born in South Africa, and moved to suburban Chicago at a young age, becoming a US citizen by age 10. Pollak enrolled in Harvard in the mid-90s, telling a local paper that his dream was to become the Ted Koppel of his generation, with his own TV program like Nightline. It explains a lot — as the idealistic part of that dream soured, all that has remained is the childhood ambition to be a TV talking head; the content is fungible.

In every way Joel Pollak of the 1990s was a different creature, conforming to the politics and mood of the Clinton era: Photographs of Pollak as an undergrad show him proudly sporting an expansive "Jewfro" — he looks much happier and almost likeable, if not human, in his Jewfro. Pollak was a Democrat student activist in his undergrad years. Another photograph shows young Joel Pollak, with his Jewfro cropped, smiling as he screams in unison with other pro-Clinton activists protesting against the Clinton impeachment hearings.

We spoke to several former Harvard classmates of Pollak. Each offered a uniform description of an extremely aggressive, often blundering, always self-promoting character who knew no shame. One former classmate who knew him during his undergraduate years and then during his time at Harvard Law School told us the young Pollak idolized Cornel West, the former Harvard African-American studies professor, socialist activist and critical race theory proponent.

"He absolutely loved Cornell West. He would try to present himself to us as West's darling. Some Harvard students like to collect relationships with famous professors so it was also part of that."

In 1999, Pollak graduated Harvard, and moved back to his native South Africa, where he remained until at least 2006, working as a speech writer for a controversial white, Jewish South African politician, Tony Leon, who was accused by top ANC politicians,including former President Thabo Mbeki, of racism. Leon inherited a party that had been known for its comparatively progressive politics during the apartheid-era, merged it with the pro-apartheid National Party, and made race-baiting and fear a cornerstone of his politics.

It was while working for Leon that Pollak met his future wife, Julia Bertlesmann.

Bertelsmann was the daughter of Tony Leon's close friend, Rhoda Kadalie Bertelsmann, herself a well-known columnist and political activist with neoliberal leanings. After apartheid collapsed, Rhoda Kadalie turned against the ANC and "majoritarian" politics, favoring instead the neoliberal politics of Tony Leon's party, and its alignment with Ariel Sharon and George Bush. As the ANC veered the country away from the special alliance it enjoyed with Israel during the apartheid era, Kadalie Bertelsmann emerged as one of South Africa's most fervent apologists for the Israeli government, authoring a series of op-eds condemning critical comparisons of Israeli policies towards Palestinians to those of apartheid-era South Africa.

Before falling under the sway of Tony Leon's race-baiting neocon politics, Pollak was a Clinton Democrat. When he left South Africa in 2006, Pollak says, he had become an opponent of the concept of majority rule — which in the context of South Africa means opposing black rule.

No surprise then that Pollak explicitly equated his opposition to majority rule (i.e. black rule) to his opposition to America's first black president, which he describes in "Proud To Be Right":

"I saw in Barack Obama's presidency the roots of a cult of personality. I recognized in the Democrats' eager rush to consolidate political power, and to expand rapidly the role of the federal government in the American economy — adangerous majoritarian impulse that our Constitution, and my experience in South Africa, warned against."

Pollack's return to the US coincided with Bertlesmann – then 18 or 19, and Pollack a decade older – enrolling in Harvard. Pollack didn't just follow his future wife to Harvard, but according to former classmates, he also moved in to her dormroom, along with her teenage friends.

As one former Harvard student described the situation to us:

"When she was an undergrad, they were living together in her dorm room. From what I heard, it was something that people in the house there thought was kind of strange. An older law student always being there all the time with these younger students—and being his usual obnoxious self who was not even low key.

"I know a few people who know Julia [Bertelsmann]…and the consistent theme is there was this really smart, promising, beautiful high school student and somehow she ended up with this guy. Dot, dot, dot, question mark – what's up with that? It might be part of [Pollak's] personality. He sees something he wants and goes for it."

It was at Harvard, where he had enrolled at law school, that Pollak authored a new book denouncing Obama's election victory, "Don't Tell Me Words Don't Matter: How Rhetoric Won The 2008 Presidential Election."

"He goes up against someone big and tries to puff himself up," the former classmate told us. "That's kind of his formula."

Ignored even by fellow right-wingers, Pollak's book on Obama was published by an obscure, Illinois based company specializing in medical textbooks, HC Press — which happens to be owned by Joel's parents, Raymond and Naomi Pollak. The future heir to the Breitbart empire was over 30 years old, living in his girlfriend's college dorm, and tapping his parents' money to attack welfare and Big Government handouts.

On campus, Pollak took on the role of ultra-Zionist enforcer, working closely with the pro-Israel super-lawyer and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz to stamp out any iterations of Palestine solidarity activity. Pollak's pro-Israel histrionics were on most vivid display in a class taught by Harvard law professor Duncan Kennedy, one of the most influential and renowned legal theorists of the past few decades.

Pollak and Dershowitz both loathed Duncan Kennedy's politics, a loathing made clear by Pollak's own personal blog rants at the time. Despite that hostility (and the waiting list) Prof. Kennedy made sure that Pollak was enrolled in his class, and he hired Pollak his research assistant. On his personal blog "Guide To The Perplexed," which still stands as a record of his strange college years, Pollak blogged critically, almost obsessively about Kennedy.

Fellow law students recalled how a class debate on whether armed resistance by a theoretical occupied population was permissible set off Pollak into one of his notorious fits of histrionics.

According to one classmate, "He came back to class a week later and slammed a hunk of metal on the table and started shouting, ‘This is what you people are justifying! You are supporters of terrorism! This is piece of a Qassam rocket that's fallen near [the Israeli city of] Sderot!' Basically his behavior was embarrassing even to the other Zionists in the course."

The classmate added, "[Pollak] is just someone who, in everything he did, speaking as someone who's known him over the years, the persistent characteristic is a very, very deep lack of inhibition or shame." He added, "I don't know if it's because he received too much positive reinforcement as a child or what. And in a way, it's kind of admirable – he's always willing to say something no matter how ridiculous or inappropriate it might be in the circumstances."

In 2010, after graduating from law school, Pollak declared his candidacy for Congress as a Tea Party challenger against Democratic, Chicago-area stalwart Jan Schiakowsky. Despite an endorsement from his former taskmaster Dershowitz, a desperate deployment of his mixed-race wife to brand himself as an enlightened moderate, and an embarrassing but highly entertaining song routine (imagine a Teabagger's version of that folk singer from Animal House), Pollak was trounced. He failed in an election where nearly every half-baked Tea Party challenger destroyed Democratic opponents. That should have been an ignominious end to his career, but then Breitbart came along with a liferaft.

From Harvard Law graduate to abject political failure, Pollak was recruited by Breitbart to help edit his growing portfolio of right-wing smear sites. And it is there that Pollak's story of shamelessness, bizarre twists and ethically dubious behavior reached wild new lows.

Genocide Ben

Since Breitbart's death, Breitbart.com has been defined almost as much by Pollak as it has by his tightly wound little sidekick, Ben Shapiro, now the site's editor-at-large.

"I know this sounds pathetic, but I've never been to a rock concert" --Ben Shapiro, June 17, 2011

Ben Shapiro — known variously as "Virgin Ben," "Tali-Ben," or simply "Genocide Ben" — has constructed for himself a biography that makes him look like some sort of prodigy wunderkind. One thing Ben wants to stress is that he was 16 years old when he started college at UCLA.

"I'm twenty-one years old, a heterosexual red-blooded American male, a graduate of University of California at Los Angeles, a student at Harvard Law School, a nationally syndicated columnist, a bestselling author...and a virgin. And I'm proud of it." —Ben Shapiro, "Porn Generation"

Ben Shapiro's most useful talent is that he makes Joel Pollak look sane, cool and relaxed. Shapiro's job is to fidget nervously while holding his tongue, like his bladder's about to explode through his nose — providing needed contrast to Pollak.

As boy-wonder prodigies go, Ben Shapiro sure picked a shitty career path. A real prodigy would've pursued a mad artistic or science dream, or cashed in by taking a job in finance or management consulting; but Ben chose to be a lowly Republican errand boy instead, taking an almost masochistic pleasure in making as much of an ass of himself as is humanly possible.

"There are at least 100,000 child pornography websites available on the Internet. Also available: incestuous porn, bestial porn, and with extreme commonness, ‘virgin' porn — for those guys who like to pretend that their fetish girls really haven't done anything before taping a hard core sex video. ‘Schoolgirl' porn is especially typical — from ‘first-time lesbian' schoolgirls to ‘organ' schoolgirl porn. The ‘college roommates' idea is also big; lesbian porn between co-eds is insanely popular. The idea that the porn industry doesn't push men to look at fifteen- to eighteen-year-old girls as sex objects is ridiculous." —Ben Shapiro, "Porn Generation"

Some of what Ben Shapiro publishes is fascinating for the sheer Freudian freakshow entertainment value. Some are downright bizarre and raise all sorts of obvious questions, as in "How did Harvard let a deranged lughead like the author of this piece into its esteemed law school?" For example, this Ben Shapiro-authored attack on the Supreme Court. It's a piece of pure meatheadery, beginning with the headline, "When Justices Become Dictators." It begins:

"This week, the Supreme Court of the United States once again proved that it is a feckless, dictatorial and altogether ridiculous body. Its latest spate of decisions reveals legislative usurpation, disingenuous deference and silly inconsistency. But, of course, what else should we expect from the court that tells us our Constitution protects pornography but not political advertising, sodomy but not the Ten Commandments, and mentally disabled murderers but not private property?"

Prose that deranged and clunky wouldn't grade a "C" in your average Californian community college expository writing course. But apparently Harvard Law School's admission committee read that and thought, "We have our new Oliver Wendell Holmes!" Either that, or Harvard Law has a quota for fringe-right nutcases like Shapiro.

That's the black comedy side of Ben Shapiro's punditry. But there's a darker side to Shapiro's writing that reveals him as much worse than a mere silly nutcase. Ben Shapiro is on record advocating genocide against Palestinian Arabs in Greater Israel. Advocating genocide is considered a war crime — Nazi journalists were hung in Nuremberg for advocating genocide, and Hutu media personalities who advocated genocide in Rwanda have also been charged with genocide.

Yet that didn't stop Harvard Law School's Ben Shapiro from penning a column, "Transfer Is Not A Dirty Word," calling for ethnic cleansing — which is legally classified as genocide and a war crime under the Geneva Conventions.

Here is Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large at Breitbart, advocating genocide:

"Here is the bottom line: If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It's an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. Any time the Jews get wise and threaten mass expulsion of Arabs, the Arabs pull out their big stick, equating Nazism with Zionism... Their spokespeople cry 'Genocide!' And the Jews cower in fear that they could be equated with their parents' murderers. The Jews don't realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. It's time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn't a solution."

Actually it is genocide. And it's the reason why Ben Shapiro came to be known as "Genocide Ben."

Here, then, is Andrew Breitbart's true legacy: His two leading heirs, Joel Pollak and Genocide Ben Shapiro, stepping in as the new faces of Breitbart.com to unveil the Obama student video that Andrew himself promised would bring down Obama's presidency, just as he helped bring down ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, Andrew Weiner, and a handful of tweedy NPR executives.

But without Breitbart's privileged Brentwood demeanor to make the smearing appear vaguely respectable, the Breitbart.com operation is being pushed further into the margins of its own conservative movement, as evidenced when CPAC banished this year's Breitbart hate seminar to the unofficial margins of the CPAC convention, which already had enough hate and racism on its agenda.

Last Refuge Of A Daily Caller Scoundrel

What's most fascinating about Breitbart's legacy is that these two central characters — Joel B. Pollak and Ben Shapiro — are the best they have to offer. Look at the layer below them in the Breitbart media group, and it's like pulling up the rotted, vermin-infested floorboards in a rotted old swamp shack —where degenerates and quasi-fascist maniacs permeate the entire Breitbart culture. Here you get a look at the late Andrew Breitbart's true personal sensibility, through the pathological tendencies of his chosen heirs. The minions who comprise the Breitbart community include:

  • John Nolte, Breitbart.com editor and blogger. Has repeatedly called for murdering teachers and mothers. During Occupy protests in November 2011, Nolte tweeted, "Teachers who take kids to protests without parents' permission should be murdered." In April 2012, he responded to an HBO comedy show gag involving a young girl bywriting, "whoever this little girl's stage mom is… she should be murdered." When police violently cracked down on Occupy protests, Nolte was sexually aroused: "Dirty, filthy #OWS hippies getting what they deserve from cops = MY PORN"; "Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Dirty, filthy hippies arrested with bruises and gashes…"; "sniff sniffThere's just something about a police baton swung towards the skull of #OWS that sniff chokes a man up.#ItsSoBeautiful".
  • Jeff Dunetz: Breitbart.com blogger nicknamed "Yid With Lid," Dunetz, has accused practically everything alive or dead of "anti-Semitism", from Media Matters and George Soros, toPresident Obama, and even corporations like Delta Airlines.
  • Kurt Schlichter, Breitbart.com columnist. Advocated mass-murdering peaceful American protesters on board a flotilla sent to Gaza to protest Israel's blockade; urged conservatives to arm themselves and prepare for war against the left because "Leftists want us dead. D-E-A-D."
  • Ali Akbar, Breitbart columnist and head of Breitbart.com-associated outfit the National Bloggers Club, is a convicted felon who was jailed and put on probation for four years for credit card fraud, vehicle burglary, and intent to commit theft.
  • Brandon Darby, FBI informant who infiltrated young anarchist protest groups and ratted them out, leading to arrests and jail time for his former friends. Darby also spied on an Arab-American school teacher and peace activist, Riad Hamad, whom Darby claimed had asked him to launder money for Middle East terrorists. Not long afterwards, Hamad's corpse was fished out of a lake, his arms bound and his mouth duct-taped; police ruled it a suicide. After Darby outed himself as an informant, Andrew Breitbart brought him into his close circle of friends, and had Darby accompany him in public demonstrations in support of the Koch brothers.
  • James O'Keefe, convicted of attempting to illegally spy on a US Senator and forced to pay large settlements to victims of his manipulated videos which destroyed the livelihoods of several people.
  • Lee Stranahan: Breitbart.com blogger who spent years peddling photographs specializing in many of Genocide Ben's favorite fetishes, including bondage and S&M, and Ben's fave,schoolgirl lesbian fetishes. Stranahan covered the Steubenville rape trial for Breitbart.com, tweeting out his belief that the rape of the 16-year-old schoolgirl was not "brutal" and that many women tell him that their rapes are not "brutal" but merely "non consensual." During the Trayvon Martin murder trial hearings last summer, Stranahan outed the name of a witness who claimed she'd been sexually abused by Martin's killer.

If there's one thing Breitbart's heirs can be thankful for, it's that there'll always be an endless stream of degenerate right-wing failures looking for an asylum they can call home. And Breitbart.com will be there to welcome them in, weaponize them for the wealthy right-wing, and turn them on the rest of us.

Recently, the Breitbart.com Asylum welcomed another inmate:Matthew Boyle, the discredited author of the Daily Caller's fraudulent smear articles against Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. Boyle's article for the Daily Caller alleged that Sen. Menendez paid Dominican prostitutes for sex. That story was subsequently completely debunked by The Washington Post, after the prostitutes confessed that they were paid to lie about Menendez.

A Dominican prosecutor accused the Daily Caller of paying the prostitutes $5,000 to lie about Sen. Menendez and the site has since distanced itself from that fiasco.

The author of that smear, Matthew Doyle, today proudly describes his current job as "investigative journalist for Breitbart News Network."

Max Blumenthal is a senior writer for AlterNet, and the author of Goliath and Republican Gomorrah (Basic/Nation Books, 2009). Find him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

 
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