Americans have become so accustomed to the free flow of information through the Internet “that if people were to start taking away your freedoms online, you’d see a bloody revolution,” he says.
“I think people take it for granted. I think people should be jumping up on top of their beds, thanking God every single day that this thing was invented,” Mr. Breitbart says. “I went from having a television [habit] to the point where, I don’t have it in me to be able to turn on television to watch regular programming. It’s like, why would I go there, if I can be on the Internet? And I can be a participant in this, and read and see what I want, and not let some executives tell me what to laugh at, and then lead me there with a laugh track. It just seems like the Internet is inherently smarter.”
Mr. Breitbart, who identifies his own political leanings as “center-right,” says he has learned a lot from his association with Arianna Huffington, the ex-wife of former Rep. Michael Huffington, California Republican, who has emerged as a persistent critic of the Bush administration.
“Arianna has her political ideas, but she also has a strong sense of fun. She’s part journalistic pit bull and she’s part party-thrower, and that’s a fun combination, especially for people of an activist bent,” says Mr. Breitbart, who worked as a research assistant for Mrs. Huffington in the 1990s then later helped her develop the HuffingtonPost.com site, which debuted in 2005.
The “HuffPo,” as it is often called, is now the top-ranked “analysis and opinion” site according to the Internet rating service Alexa.
“I think that [Mrs. Huffington] had the vision that the Internet was where the real action was going to be, and that running around getting your column in another dozen papers is a valuable way to spend your life, but that the real action is jumping online and seeing if you can swim — and she did,” Mr. Breitbart says.
His own Breitbart.com site is basically a one-man operation, but he also has created the Breitbart.tv site — in partnership with Scott Baker and Liz Stephans to produce and distribute online video news.
“We launched with an interview with Fred Thompson the day after the first [Republican presidential] debate at the Reagan Library,” he says.
Mr. Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee who is reported to be preparing his own campaign for the Republican 2008 presidential nomination, has been “brilliant” in his use of the online medium, Mr. Breitbart says, citing an incident two weeks ago when Mr. Thompson needed only eight hours to deliver an online video response to criticism from liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
His current status as a player in the world of online news and politics is a source of wonderment to Mr. Breitbart, who recalls his days as a “typical left-of-center college kid,” graduating amid the 1991 recession, feeling “a certain sort of hopelessness” and becoming “a fairly cynical person.”
He says he was diagnosed with attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder while working in Austin, Texas, as a music writer in the early 1990s. “This psychiatrist said to me, ‘You don’t have to come back for the follow-up test, because this is the biggest no-brainer I’ve ever seen.’ “
Looking back now, he realizes that he “made my way through prep school and college without really paying attention to anything,” Mr. Breitbart says. “I sleepwalked and drove drunk through college. I mean, when I wasn’t sleeping, I was drinking, and I was not remotely invigorated by the academic experience. Getting online and having access to all the information I want, all the news wires, all the historical information that I could possibly want, has made me, in hindsight, be very regretful of having treated college the way I did. I wish I’d had the Internet at the time.”View Entire Story
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