As the director of “Hating Breitbart,” which was released digitally and in theaters last week across the United States, I had the distinct and unique privilege of following Andrew Breitbart during the closing years of his public life, documenting his speeches, conversations, ruminations and mischief — we even shot one of his haircuts. He was a great guy, an important guy, and I miss him. I’m excited to finally be able to share what we captured of him with a national audience. Making people aware that the film even exists, however, has been an uphill battle.
It’s not that I don’t have a good marketing team — I do. In fact, I have an amazing marketing team — I even have two publicists who regularly book their clients on “Good Morning America,” “Piers Morgan Tonight,” “Today” and other big shows that reach millions of viewers. The funny thing is, they can’t seem to book me on any of the big shows, despite the fact that my film is being released from coast to coast.
It’s not as if Andrew Breitbart isn’t a newsworthy figure — he is. He worked with Matt Drudge for years, as far back as the Monica Lewinsky scandal, contributing to The Drudge Report, which has become one of the most influential websites on the Internet. He helped Arianna Huffington establish The Huffington Post, another influential political and cultural presence on the Web. He played a major role in the defunding and subsequent collapse of ACORN; he forced a sitting congressman, Anthony D. Weiner, New York Democrat, to resign his seat. He built, by the age of 43, a huge media empire on the Web and had a profound effect on our national conversation while he was alive — and continues to, even in death. The film is as controversial as its subject, filled to the brim with news-cycle fodder — but nobody wants to talk about it.
It’s not as if “Hating Breitbart” doesn’t feature big-name media personalities — it does, and some are featured quite prominently. Terry Moran from ABC News has an entire scene. Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper and Chris Matthews make a number of appearances. Piers Morgan, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, Toure, Dylan Ratigan, Contessa Brewer, Wolf Blitzer, Cynthia McFadden, Norah O’Donnell, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Schieffer and Martin Bashir all appear at least once. Others, like Susan Roesgen, David Shuster and Keith Olbermann have all moved on to greener pastures, but they all make, in their own way, important contributions to the film.
Quite often when a media personality appears in a film, they will mention the appearance to their fans on their show — it builds their brand, increases their market exposure, and has the overall effect of reinforcing their relevance in the popular culture. Oddly enough, not a single person listed above has uttered a single word about the film. Not even a tweet. There was a report that Mr. Olbermann was spotted a few weeks ago mumbling something to himself about “hating Breitbart” while walking down the street, but we haven’t been able to independently confirm that.
Please don’t misunderstand: This isn’t sour grapes; it’s vindication. The reason the folks who are in it don’t want to talk about it is because “Hating Breitbart” exposes their racket. If somebody produced a documentary that explained all the secrets of David Copperfield’s illusions, the last person who would be talking about that documentary would be David Copperfield. The media assault on “Hating Breitbart” makes perfect sense — because the film lifts the curtain and shows how the media, rather than conveying the genuine news of the day, is actually a highly manipulative enterprise that seeks to shape opinion when it ought to be informing opinion. We show how it’s done. We name names. Andrew Breitbart took no prisoners, and neither does our film.