WASHINGTON -- Conservative media pioneers Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity used radio to reach their audience. Now, a new generation is making their presence felt across the Internet.
You've probably heard of Matt Drudge and his influential "Drudge Report." Now, there's a new Internet force and he's taking on the left with a vengeance.
His Political 'A' Game
At his home in Los Angeles, Andrew Breitbart occasionally takes to the basketball court to practice his outside shot. But he saves his in your face "A" game for political opponents off the court.
That style was clearly on display in a nearly one-hour interview with CBN News. A quick sampling from Breitbart: "I play a scrappy game."… "I was meant to take on the left."… "I've had enough with the type of games that they play."... "The left does not fight fair."…"We can take these people on."…"I'm there to win."
Breitbart's arsenal against the left starts with a growing number of influential websites with names like Breitbart.com, Breitbart TV, Big Government.com, Big Journalism.com and Big Hollywood.com.
The man who started behind the scenes at the powerhouse Drudge Report has now moved in front of the curtain.
"I am loving it because I get to be me. I'm not hiding behind somebody else," Breitbart told CBN News.
He's also raising the bar by encouraging bloggers with flip cam videos to break stories and uncover potential scandals. Breitbart then challenges the media to report them.
His first big get was the ACORN scandal, where employees were caught on tape offering advice on how to set up a prostitution ring and avoid the Internal Revenue Service. The video had the media paying attention.
Breitbart was driving the conversation.
Disrupting the 'Media Storyline'
He is also questioning media reports that the "N-word" was used by the Tea Party crowd against Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., during a rally on Capitol Hill. He is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can produce evidence proving that accusation. So far there's been nothing.
"We have proved that that did not take place but the media went with it," Breitbart said.
Disrupting the conventional media storyline is something he relishes.
"By aiming everything at the media, I've pretty much done the one thing that they ask you not to do (which is) 'please accept the premise that we're fair and let's move on,' Breitbart said. "No. I am not going to accept that premise."
That style has led to on-air skirmishes with media types and even some confrontations with liberals at events around the country. But Breitbart wouldn't have it any other way.
"I like to get into the gutter with these people," he said. "I derive a sick pleasure from it."
When asked what the upside is to his in-your-face tactics, Breitbart responds simply and emphatically, "Victory."
For Breitbart this isn't just about fighting liberal politics or fighting the liberal media. He has his sights set on liberal Hollywood as well.
A 'Secular Jew' Turned Conservative
As a conservative in the Los Angeles area, he's pretty much outnumbered. But is, nevertheless, committed to fighting the culture war and winning it -- although he says he doesn't necessarily fight the stereotype.
Breitbart describes himself as a "secular Jew" who grew up in liberal circles.
"My commitment to the left was about an inch deep, but it was a fashion to wear," he said.
But his fashion taste took a conservative turn during the congressional hearings on then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.
"I went in with popcorn on my lap with a big diet coke," Breitbart recalled. "They're going 'Lets take this guy down.' And by the end of the hearing I went from rooting for this guy to be taken down to throwing my shoe at the television set, outraged."
He was angry because the liberal left was exposed as trying to take down a man who was living the great American dream. "They were willing to destroy him because he didn't have the right political view," Breitbart said.
There were also other changes ahead in his life. Breitbart acknowledges that he had a conversion process on his attitude towards Christians, too.
"I grew up loathing the religious right to the core of my being. But it wasn't a thought process," he explained. "It what was handed to me."
When he traveled south to study at Tulane University in New Orleans, he says he started to think for himself. Those he met helped transform his worldview.
"I am not Christian but I love Christian people," Breitbart said. "I've come to realize that if they did not exist, this country would not exist in the form that exists."
A Mouse, Modem, and Megaphone
Through his Big Hollywood website, this unlikely culture war hero is on a mission to change the celebrity conversation and stereotypes.
"I'm a defender of Christians because I think they are unfairly maligned," Breibart said.
Consequently, Breitbart sees it as a badge of honor to fight back against leftist Hollywood, the media, and politicians.
"I tend to think that Christians are too decent and too charitable to deal with this type of behavior," he said. "These people play for keeps."
So does Breitbart. He said his instigator-type trait came from being the youngest kid on the block and always trying to keep up.
"When I'm smaller than everybody, how could I compete with these people?" he asked himself. "I had to figure out skills in order to win."
That strategy has made him enemies and an outsider, but he's used to it. Breitbart acknowledges it.
"I'm a Jewish conservative. I understand what it's like to be looked at weird at a Passover Seder because you voted for George W. Bush," he told CBN News.
If it weren't for the Internet, Breitbart might just sit around all day watching his beloved Dodgers. But instead he has found a mouse, a modem, and a megaphone in this new media environment.
"This is the same battle that Ronald Reagan and many millions of other people fought in the 20th Century," he said. "It just has a 21st Century new media battleground. The Cold War is now a new media war."
And as Breitbart would say: Game on.