What Killed Andrew Breitbart? - Page 2

By Maer Roshan 03/04/12

Mainstream reporters have jumped on rumors that the conservative icon was assassinated by the President. So why are they ignoring a far likelier scenario?

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Breitbart's death provoked a rash of conspiracy theories—and exposed
a media double standard.
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(page 2)

Last May, during an appearance on C-SPAN to promote the publication of his memoir/manifesto Righteous Indignation, host Peter Slen asked Breitbart what he had learned at college. “I learned to drink,” he quipped. Later, Slen asked Breitbart to describe his current relationship with alcohol. “Why do you ask?” said Breitbart. “You write in your book that you had an alcohol problem at Tulane,” Slen replied. Breitbart brushed off the question: “I didn’t have an alcohol problem.”

But as C-SPAN noted, Righteous Indignation suggests otherwise. “I thought I could drink when I came to Tulane,” Breitbart writes. “I had some hard-and-fast rules to prevent becoming an alcoholic, such as: don’t drink during sunlight hours. By the end of my time at Tulane, I was going to bed so early in the morning and waking up so late in the afternoon that this rule was almost impossible to break. Thank God I wasn’t developing a drinking problem.” Breitbart also mentions growing into his fraternity brothers’ Hollywood-native image of him as a “hard-living, cocaine-fueled man of a thousand lovers.”

But there has been some public speculation that Breitbart’s drug use didn’t end in college. A source close to the blogger told The Fix on condition of anonymity that he'd done cocaine with Breitbart as recently as last October. On the day after his death, Anthony Cumia, of the radio show "Opie and Anthony," said of Breitbart, “I went out drinking with him, and boy, can he party.” “He liked to stay awake," added Anthony. "That’s all I’ll say.” Other friends maintain that Breitbart regularly took high doses of Adderall and other stimulants to counteract his lifelong ADD. (Both cocaine and Adderall, an amphetamine, can increase the risk of a heart attack. The FDA even warns that Adderall can cause “sudden death in patients with heart problems or heart defects.”)

Asked about these allegations, many of Breitbart’s associates firmly deny that he was using drugs in the time period leading up to his death. Mark Ebner, a longtime friend and colleague of Breitbart’s—and a contributor to The Fix—insists that he stopped using drugs after college. “I knew him very well and I can say with certainty that Andrew did not do illegal drugs. He had ADD and he was a manic guy, but he cultivated a kind of persona. He was a genius about media cycles and how to feed them. He was brilliant about building himself. Everything he did was really thought-out and in service of his public image.”

Breitbart made no secret of his penchant for partying. He was well-liked in media circles and had friends on both sides of the political spectrum. He liked to hang out in bars and clubs with his friends. He liked to drink. He enjoyed having fun. But the issue of his drinking really went public just three weeks ago.

But if reports of Breitbart’s recent drug use are in dispute, his fondness for alcohol is not. He was a frequent patron of the bar at The Brentwood, a tony restaurant a few blocks from his home, and other local pubs. When in New York, he often turned up at Langan’s, a Midtown Manhattan watering hole frequented by reporters from Fox News and the New York Post.

“The last few times we hung out he was running a million miles an hour,” says a friend who has known Breitbart since the mid-Nineties. “His whole disposition had really changed. He was charged up and angry and relentless. He was missing his shoelaces, and his hair was a mess. He spent the night lecturing me and going off on these endless tangents. It was like he’d become another person.” 

In a eulogy posted by the conservative American Spectator, Robert Stacy McCain, author of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, paints a similar portrait. “The last time I saw him, at the [Americans for Prosperity] Michigan event Saturday, he arrived at the last minute, unshaven, with his hair uncombed, having stayed until the wee hours hanging out in the Marriott lobby.”

Breitbart made no secret of his penchant for partying. He was well-liked in media circles and had friends on both sides of the political spectrum. He liked to hang out in bars and clubs with his friends. He liked to drink. He enjoyed having fun. But the issue of his drinking really went public—in the viral-video way Breitbart himself helped popularize—just three weeks ago, when he appeared as a headliner at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. (It was at CPAC that Breitbart announced he had obtained the incriminating Obama tapes, promising to release them on March 1—which turned out to be the day he died.)

One video shows Breitbart taunting “Occupy CPAC” demonstrators from the balcony of a restaurant of a Marriott hotel that hosted the conference, shouting “Behave yourself, you freaks!” and other epithets at the crowd below. A fellow attendee tentatively called him out on his behavior. “Do you realize how bad it looks that … you guys have got a glass of wine in your hand?” “So what?” Breitbart shot back. “We’re allowed to drink wine in America. I’m not living by their 1 percent/99 percent bullshit.” Their exchange was punctuated by the sound of breaking glass.

An even more unsettling clip, shot a few hours later, shows Breitbart engaged in a screaming match with a swarm of protesters at a nearby park. “Behave yourself! Behave yourself! Behave yourself!” the red-faced, disheveled provocateur kept screaming, as a cop and an unidentified civilian tried to hold him back. “Stop raping people! You filthy, fillthy, filthy, murdering freaks!”

The two videos, widely disseminated on the Internet, left many observers wondering whether the ranting Breitbart had been drunk or high—or perhaps bipolar. Writing about the incident on the political-news blog American Times, frequent Forbes contributor Erik Kain wondered,  “Do we know if he has a drinking problem? Because I just cannot for the life of me fathom what he was thinking here.” His point was echoed by hundreds of commenters across the web. 

Typically, Breitbart took to Twitter to deny the allegations: “To those falsely accusing me of ‘drug use’, I’m willing to take a drug test,” he declared on Feb. 13. (In the same missive he also directed his detractors to an expose published by a right-wing website concerning David Brock, alleging that Brock was a cocaine user who had spent time in a psych ward. Brock, a onetime conservative activist who wrote The Real Anita Hill, denounced his conservative past several years ago, and went on to start a liberal media-watchdog group, Media Matters, and write several books, including his latest, The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network Into a Propaganda Machine. The drug allegations against Brock were heavily promoted by Fox News, which dispatched a camera crew to his ex-boyfriend’s home in rural Massachusetts to investigate.)

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Maer Roshan.jpg

Maer Roshan is an American writer, editor and entrepreneur who has launched and edited a series of prominent magazines and websites, including FourTwoNine.com, TheFix.com, NYQ, Punch!, Radar Magazine and Radaronline.com. You can find him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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Hunter Slaton is the esports managing editor for Blizzard Entertainment. You can find hunter on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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