‘Hating Breitbart’ Sheds Light on Final Years of New Media Warrior’s Mission to Fight Media Bias

October 10, 2012 - 2:50 PM
Andrew Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The creators of a new 90-minute documentary had no way of knowing that their film could be the final record of a self-proclaimed media bias warrior who used his new media savvy to bring down ACORN and end a congressman’s career by uncovering a suggestive tweet.

But after the project wrapped up and just weeks before his death from heart failure at 43, Andrew Breitbart got to see the film that captures his passion for his cause and the reaction from the “mainstream media” – as evidenced in “Hating Breitbart.”

“I'm not sure what thoughts would have haunted me for the rest of my days if I had to wonder what Andrew would have thought,” director Andrew Marcus told CNSNews.com. “As it is, he fell in love with it.

“Sure, he didn't love how he was depicted in every scene, and he might have appreciated us not showing him in his underwear, but he understood that we had captured the fight, as well as the man,” Marcus said. “I think he also felt and appreciated that we had endeavored to capture the truth about both.”

In fact, Marcus set out to document the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009 and what he perceived as negative coverage of the anti-government spending and socialized medicine movement by the major news outlets.

“I quickly saw the disconnect between what I was witnessing on the ground and the picture the progressive left was painting of a racist and potentially violent group,” Marcus said.

But when Marcus saw Breitbart speak at a Tea Party convention in Nashville in 2010, another idea took shape – an idea he shared with his production team, Maura Flynn and Evan Maloney.

At the convention, Breitbart spoke about the media attacks on himself and James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, the pair that secretly filmed ACORN staff condoning prostitution and child sex trafficking and the breaking story about it posted on the Breitbart TV website.

“What Andrew said during his speech was tantamount to declaring war against the media who were attacking him, James and Hanna,” Marcus said. “But he also declared war on behalf of the Tea Party.

“He knew that their fight was his fight and his fight was their fight,” Marcus said. “By the end of that speech and four standing ovations later, the Tea Party had found their general and the general had found his army.

“Witnessing Andrew's declaration of war, and the overwhelming reaction to it, I turned to my producers and said, ‘This guy's our story.’” Marcus said. “My producers had a look in their eye that told me they already had the same thought.”

Marcus and his team convinced Breitbart to allow them exclusive and broad access to tracking him as he ran his website operations and spoke at conservative events across the country.

“I pitched my vision as a cross between U2's ‘Joshua Tree’ and ‘Spinal Tap.’ ‘You're a rock star who doesn't take himself too seriously,’ Marcus told Breitbart.

“With that, Andrew took a leap of faith that I wasn't full of crap and that I and my producers knew what we were doing,” Marcus said.

The film follows Breitbart as he traverses the country to rally the troops who supported his mission and running his Internet operations from hotel rooms. The film footage includes Breitbart’s trademark confrontations with liberal journalists and other critics.

The film provides some biographical information, including Breitbart’s time spent working for Matt Drudge and the Drudge Report and his stint helping then-conservative Arianna Huffington launch The Huffington Post.

The film also gives viewers a glimpse into Breitbart’s personal life – in particular his close relationship with his father-in-law and fellow conservative, actor Orson Bean, a man Breitbart claimed was a strong influence in his evolution from left-leaning ideologue to conservative activist.

And although Breitbart did not have any control over the film’s content or production, he was protective of his family’s privacy no matter what the circumstance.

“My feeling was that Andrew's wife, Susie, wanted as normal a life for her family as possible and having cameras in the house documenting them would not aid in that endeavor,” Marcus said.

“I always hoped that we would be able to sit down and interview her for the film, but as it turned out, the pressure never let up on their family, and we respected their wishes to be left alone,” he added.

Now, this documentary will perhaps unwittingly serve to preserve the legacy of a man who helped launch a media revolution that his fans and colleagues will now have to carry on without him.

“Since Andrew's death, I have witnessed Andrew's detractors attempt to rewrite history, claiming he was a fraud, liar, racist, etc.,” Marcus said. “I hope that this film will defeat anyone's ability to rewrite who he was and what he was fighting for.

“I also hope that one day his children will see this film and understand why their dad was so frequently on the road, fighting the fight of his life,” Marcus said.

“Hating Breitbart,” which is rated “R” for language, opens in theaters on Friday.