CHAPEL HILL — Dressed in faded jeans, a t-shirt, and a dark sport coat, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart looked the part of the disheveled academic at a speech Monday night in the heart of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But his message, filled with Tea Party values, was markedly different from the typical approach taken by liberal professors.
Best known for breaking the ACORN prostitution scandal in 2009 and releasing a lewd photo of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner earlier this year, Breitbart devoted the lion’s share of his lecture to ripping what he called “the rot” of liberal arts degrees.
“Our children are graduating with the worst degrees in the history of humanity,” he said. “If you have a humanities degree, take your comparative literature degree and try and get a barista job in 2011. There is going to be a line around the block.”
Breitbart said he was raised a secular Jew in the west side of Los Angeles, a region he described as “Dennis Kucinich bumper sticker” country. He arrived at Tulane University in New Orleans with only one firm belief — that everyone in the South, and in middle America, was stupid. He graduated with a B.A. in American Studies.
“My parents spent $100,000 in 1991 money, and many of you are spending $200,000 in 2011 money, in order to get an education in the humanities department that deprives you of even understanding or even knowing what conservatism is on purpose.”
In 1992, Breitbart tuned into talk-radio hosts Dennis Prager and Rush Limbaugh, and his views began to change, as did his life.
“I was a default liberal until a few things started to happen in my life when I realized there was a different way to look at things,” he said. “I had been an insomniac my entire life, and once I stopped embracing moral relativism and started believing in right and wrong, it just solved my insomnia.”
Breitbart is the linchpin of several top-level right-wing websites, among them Big Government, Big Hollywood, and Breitbart.tv. Big Government is ranked 39th out of Technorati’s 100 top new media websites. Big Government trails the conservative blog Hot Air and the No. 1 ranked Huffington Post.
Breitbart has been at the center of several recent scandals that brought down left-wing politicians and causes. In 2009, he joined forces with James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles to release a series of undercover videos showing ACORN employees’ willingness to help establish a brothel.
He’s become a very public target of liberals, a role he seems to relish by reposting, often without comment, virulent personal attacks against him from his Twitter account (@AndrewBreitbart).
In 2011, Breitbart was the first to release a compromising photo of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York, obtained from the lawmaker’s hacked Twitter account. Weiner resigned from office in June of that year.
During his speech Monday, Breitbart praised the Tea Party movement and advocated a return to Judeo-Christian ethics. “The left has stacked the deck, shut people out,” he said. “There is finally a robust, conservative rebellion against the status quo.”
He also praised conservative inroads into the media through non-traditional means, like blogs.
“The strength of what I do comes down to one trait that I’d like to teach all of you — and that is to be very petty,” he said. “There isn’t a kindergarten teacher, a corrupt union member, a congressman, a city council member, a corrupt toddler that I’m not willing to out, because it’s fun, quite frankly. I’m petty, and I do it because it’s fun.”
David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.
Editor’s note: This article was edited after initial posting.