The death of Andrew Breitbart, the conservative blogger who single-handedly derailed the careers of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod and U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner with videos that quickly went viral, may not be the end of the media manipulation stunts that target liberal and progressive activists.
The circumstances of the blogger’s death at the age of 43 from a heart attack while walking near his home, are drawing scrutiny.
According to the DailyMail.com, within hours of the death, the internet was awash with gossip invented by conspiracy theorist explaining how and why Obama had the author killed.
Driving these unsubstantiated rumors are discussions of videos of then-Harvard University student Barack Obama which are allegedly to be mounted on the website that Breitbart was redesigning just before he died March 1.
The still unreleased videos are to be a marquee feature on the website, Breitbart.com, according to Joel Pollak, editor-in-chief and in-house counsel for Breitbart’s website, Breitbart.com, which posted a statement at his death.
“We are going to continue his legacy and build on it. It’s business as usual at Breitbart.com. It’s not going to be a memorial to Andrew. It’s going to be a living legacy,” Pollak told DailyMail.com.
Breitbart foreshadowed the release of the tapes in his remarks to Lawrence Sinclair of Sinclair News at last month’s Conservative Political Action Committee. “Wait till they see what happens March 1,” according to lsnewsgroup.com
According to another conservative website, patdollard.com, the footage shows Obama in his college days appearing alongside Weathermen Underground co-founders Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn. Observers speculate that the footage could derail Obama’s hopes for a second term.
Breitbart, who launched a number of sites including biggovernment.com and bigjournalism.com, had a caustic and adversarial style that drew many supporters as well as enemies.
He was an architect of a sting that resulted in the loss of federal funding for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in 2009. Hidden camera tapes appeared to show low-level ACORN employees advising a couple who were portraying a prostitute and a pimp how to hide prostitution activities and avoid taxes.
In 2010, a Breitbart tape depicting a segment of a Sherrod speech to some members of the Georgia NAACP, was taken out of context resulting in her being pushed out of her Agriculture Department job.
The doctored tape drew criticism of Sherrod even from Black leaders. Once the tape’s manipulation was uncovered, however, the Sherrod critics quickly backtracked from their criticism. Sherrod refused to comment on Breitbart’s death beyond conveying sympathy to the family for their loss.
Breitbart was also the first to post then-Congressman Weiner’s infamous Twitter photos, in which the married lawmaker posed in his underwear. The ensuing media storm eventually forced the congressman out of office.