The Shirley Sherrod Controversy – In July 2010, U.S. Agricultural Department employee Sherrod was forced to resign from her job after Breitbart’s website published snippets of a speech she gave at an NAACP chapter. Breitbart, media figures, and even national NAACP president Ben Jealous, initially called Sherrod’s speech racist, until the full speech was released and the Obama administration, the media, and everyone — except Breitbart — apologized. Sherrod was offered a new job, but declined. She later sued Breitbart.
The ACORN takedown – In September 2009, two young, conservative would-be investigative journalists, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, backed by Breitbart, conducted a “sting” operation in which they dressed up as a pimp and a hooker and allegedly were given advice on how to establish a brothel for underage girls at an ACORN office. Conservatives pounced, and Congress later stripped the low income assistance and voter registration organization – which was seen as benefiting Democrats — of federal funds.
Defending the tea party movement – Breitbart became one of the most outspoken media/online voices defending the tea party against charges of racism, often taking to his Twitter account, and using his site, BigGovernment.com, to lambaste those who tarred the movement, by calling THEM racist.
Van Jones – Breitbart led the conservative attacks on then-White House environmental adviser Van Jones, over derogatory comments Jones had made in the past about Republicans, and his name appearing on a petition questioning whether the Bush administration had foreknowledge of 9/11. Jones, who co-founded the advocacy group Color of Change, later resigned, citing a right wing smear campaign against him. Two years later, comments Breitbart wrote about Jones in the Huffington Post got him axed as a contributor.
Denying members of Congress were spat on, called the n-word – Breitbart took the lead in <a claiming to have evidence that members of Congress, including Georgia Rep. John Lewis (pictured) lied about being spat on and called the n-word as they walked a gauntlet of tea party protesters opposed to healthcare reform legislation, in March 2010. Breitbart’s evidence never proved definitive.
Anthony Weiner – Breitbart was credited with hyping the scandal that took down Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, after Weiner tweeted a picture of his private parts to a woman who was not his wife. Breitbart posted the lewd pics, and threatened to release even more salacious ones if the Congressman didn’t resign. He did, in a press conference at which Breitbart grabbed center stage.
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Andrew Breitbart, the fiery conservative media activist, has died at age 43. Breitbart made a career of pushing the envelope, and he had a particular focus on African-Americans, whether it was criticizing the NAACP, or defending Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, or going after former Agricultural Department worker Shirley Sherrod.
Here is a list of Breitbart’s biggest crusades.