I am not celebrating the death of Andrew Breitbart. I do object to his elevation in death, however. If you read the Huffington Post today, everyone from Arianna herself to the staff at Media Matters is expressing sadness at his passing. By this time tomorrow, his martyrdom will be incorporated into the right-wing canon and everyone will forget he was a serial fabricator.
Sure, his family deserves to mourn without answering for his actions in life, but media eulogies will likely gloss over his libelous treatment of Shirley Sherrod or his selective editing of ACORN videos. In a strange cultural inversion of Shakespeare’s take on Julius Caesar, American media tends to minimize the crimes of the recently-living and tell only the good about the dead. This will encourage the martyr cult among his fans, for whom Breitbart will become a greater hero in death than life.
Years from now, right wing pseudo-journalists will claim his mantle and tradition — but they won’t have his bizarre rape accusations against Occupy in mind when they do it. Most of what he did at Big Government and the rest of his websites was the political equivalent of the Weekly World News, with Occupy rape as a kind of disgusting Batboy fabrication that enjoys unquestioning belief from his fans, and always will. Belief in the bullshit will become a necessary part of his cult of remembrance. And expect more of the same committed in his name: call it Zombie Breitbart, still making up crap from the grave.
Furthermore, the same fans beatifying him now were making fun of Ted Kennedy when he died. Liberals are conciliatory at times like this, but it is never returned in kind.