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Having followed Andrew Breitbart since the birth of the Tea Party movement in 2009, the filmmakers got behind the scenes access to Andrew Breitbart and the many media controversies in which he was a key player. From the ACORN take-down to Congressman Anthony Weiner's crotch shot Twitter scandal, Hating Breitbart tells the amazing story of how one man conquered and helped to shape the world of new media as we know it today. Written by
Don't hate the player, hate the crooked, biased, lethal, unrelenting, oppressive, predictable, unfair, and unbecoming game
If you don't know Andrew Breitbart and why he's so controversial you'll find out why in the first few minutes of Andrew Marcus's Hating Breitbart, a breakneck documentary that profiles the left-wing whistleblower and documents just a few of the number of cases he took on in his career. The film begins by addressing the controversy that surrounded the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) when two conservative activists secretly filmed themselves posing as a prostitute and a pimp and discovering the organization offers advice on how to evade paying taxes and keep their prostitution career discreet. From there on out, we see just how big of an impact Breitbart had on exposing organizational lies and media bias through the use of his own tactics using the "new media," such as cell phones, computers, and video cameras.
Some will call Breitbart blatantly hypocritical for addressing and slandering the apparent media bias in the news and then opening up several websites with larger-than-life names boasting an unmissable conservative bias. I must admit the truth and say this is precisely what I thought going in. But the more time you see Breitbart on screen and the more time you listen to his lectures, it becomes clear that himself, personally, having a bias isn't contradictory to his philosophy at all. He despises the idea that the "left wing" media proclaims to be balanced and objective when they hold a bias that fits their agenda. Breitbart's several websites holding a conservative bias is the main point of the argument; he has a bias and he admits to it.
Hating Breitbart takes a rather questionable look at the title-figure because instead of giving a biographical take on the man, they judge him solely on his methods of activism, his fans and detractors, and his fiery debates held with those he doesn't agree with photographed and observed by a countless slew of people. I would've preferred a focus conducted in a more linear, "rise to fame" style, but unlike most documentaries this one seems to be brewing its own suspense, especially for someone like me who didn't foresee the outcome to many of these cases (I was ignorant to most news until around 2011).
Consider the segment Marcus devotes to Breitbart trying to prove the mainstream media wrong when they claimed that racial epithets were shouted at Congressman John Lewis by Tea Party protesters when he walked through the nation's Capital. Breitbart, who analyzed several videos taken from protesters from several different angles, offered $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if they could provide that this was true. It never came to fruition and this, if anything, woke people up to the thought that Breitbart was more than a self-proclaimed "biased ***hole,* but a man driven to dig up the real, indispensable truth.
I suppose another reason why he obtained such a large cult following was just the commonality he shared with so many of his followers. He didn't seem like a well-to-do man who put himself on the frontline to make a buck first and expose an institution second. He states in a casually-conducted interview that he has "two car payments and a mortgage he can't pay." It didn't seem to people that he was in it for the fame and wealth but the fact that he believed that a transparent government was what the people needed and deserved. I couldn't agree more.
Hating Breitbart is a good documentary that, while neglecting the critical side of Breitbart like we kind of expected, illustrates terrifically why he was so controversial, loved, adored, hated, and talked about. The film plays like one of the most exciting journalistic crime dramas ever to hit the screen. It shows the fiery and unmistakably brutal routes the first amendment granted the American people with, and the extreme controversy that surrounded whistleblowing journalism. Regardless whether it's a conservative, religious school or a creative-minded, liberal arts institution, I'd call this documentary a must in English courses just for the value in its depictions of bravery and deviance.
I always thought that if the conservatives wanted to put themselves ahead in the game in terms of getting their ideology out in a catchy way, rather than hiring the interchangeable talking head on Fox News, they could find someone like Bill Maher, who can recite talking points with not just a spin but a witty sense of humor. It turns out that, up until 2012, the conservatives had their guy, only he went a lot further. Rather than joking and making sly remarks on his TV show, he went out to try and prove that what he was saying was correct and what we were being fed was categorically wrong. In a way, both men are just trying to show the same country a set of "new rules."
Starring: Andrew Breitbart. Directed by: Andrew Marcus.
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