My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘Breitbart’

The first MyTwoCensus eulogy: RIP Andrew Breitbart – The only publisher who gave MyTwoCensus.com a chance at syndication and finding a larger audience

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I woke up this morning to an e-mail from a friend that informed me of Andrew Breitbart’s untimely death. At first, I thought it was a joke. But when I learned that it wasn’t, I came to the solemn realization that a difficult-to-fill void had just been created in the American journalism landscape.

That Breitbart was only 43 makes this situation even more tragic, because I pictured Andrew being a ball-buster and rabble-rouser for another 50 years. Whenever I reached out to Andrew to give him updates about the 2010 Census, he always took my calls, which is rare in a day and age where people are generally too busy for in-depth communication with one another. Typically, we chatted while he was driving his four children around LA. But he even made time for me between television interviews as he was breaking Page 1 national news. Though he had no reason to, Andrew Breitbart gave me his ear, listening to whatever I had to say.

As a journalism entrepreneuer, Breitbart was like no other. From his days at the Drudge Report, he realized the direction that journalism was headed, and, ironically, helped Arianna Huffington start The Huffington Post. But he also had the foresight to realize that a liberal aggregator needed a conservative counterbalance. And poof, BigGovernment.com was born.

While I certainly do not agree with many of the tactics that Breitbart sometimes condoned (specifically, the shoddy editing techniques used by James O’Keefe in his “undercover sting” videos and the whole Shirley Sherrod affair), Breitbart created a strong outlet for investigative journalism at a time when such a practice was vanishing under financial constraints. He did his best to provide an alternative voice to what is dubbed the mainstream media. Breitbart was not afraid to take journalistic risks, and for that, he reaped many rewards in the form of powerful scoops, the value of which he was well aware of.

Yes, he was outspoken, but yes, he had many valid points. Andrew Breitbart did not always agree with the Conservative establishment, as demonstrated by the fact that he joined (and within a year resigned) from the board of GOProud group of homosexual Republicans.

Admittedly, I am yet to read his recent book,  a critique of celebrity culture titled Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon — The Case Against Celebrity, but based on the title alone, it seems like something that I will enjoy (and I will now find it for my Kindle).

I personally appreciate Andrew Breitbart because he took a chance on me as a 24-year-old reporter covering a beat (the 2010 US Census) that the mainstream media failed to see as important. Even though few mainstream news organizations have reporters covering demographics issues on a regular basis these days, none of the mainstream media organizations that I reached out to wanted to take a chance by partnering with MyTwoCensus.com, even though it may have filled significant gaps in their reportage.

But Breitbart was different. He took me in board and permitted me to publish whenever I wanted. MyTwoCensus.com has certainly been critical of both Democrats and Republicans, but Breitbart never attempted to censor my critiques of the GOP in any way, shape, or form.  (Some people misconstrued this syndication on BigGovernment.com as proof that I was “Conservative”  even though I was simultaneously working at ultra-liberal Mother Jones magazine while publishing on BigGovernment.)

Andrew Breitbart, you will be missed. Your vision, strategy, and tactics led journalism into the 21st Century. Your feistiness, entrepreneurial spirit, and willingness to take risks will be difficult to replicate. And on a personal level, I will never forget that you you gave me an audience to publish for and a sounding board to speak with.

Another look at James O’Keefe

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Yesterday I was accused of a Conservative bias simply for publishing the James O’Keefe video. Well, here’s the response from Media Matters for a left-wing perspective on the issue:

Surprise! O’Keefe edits out inconvenient footage from new BigGovernment video

June 01, 2010 12:02 pm ET — 59 Comments

In a video posted on BigGovernment.com, conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe claims that he has uncovered census supervisors in a New Jersey office “systematically encouraging employees to falsify information on their time sheets.” Following his pattern of selectively editing videos, O’Keefe excluded a clip — which was subsequently aired by ABC — of a census leader telling workers that they must carefully and accurately report on their time sheets the number of miles they drive when they are doing their enumeration work.

O’Keefe removes relevant information from video posted on BigGovernment.com

ABC airs additional clip showing census crew leader stressing need for accuracy in time sheet reporting. On June 1, ABC’s Good Morning America interviewed O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart. From the June 1 edition of ABC’s Good Morning America:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (host): But this was the training program. And you concede that in the actual Census program, they were holding workers to much stricter standards. We have some video tape of that as well.

CREW LEADER (video clip): This is not a big issue here, but when you start doing this enumeration thing, you want to make sure you are watching your miles, OK? Set the odometer and every day record it. Don’t estimate it, don’t guess it. That’s part of their ability to audit you, would be to look at your miles, take a look at the places you went to, if it didn’t add up, you know, they’ll go crazy.

BigGovernment video omits this relevant clip in claiming that “Census supervisors” were “systemically encouraging employees to falsify information on their time sheets.” In the ten-minute video posted on Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, O’Keefe stated that he had been hired as a Census worker and attended two days of training. He said, “What I found were Census supervisors systematically encouraging employees to falsify information on their time sheets.” The video includes clips of census leaders, who according to O’Keefe, “didn’t seem to have a problem with the discrepancy” of the hours recorded on his time sheet versus the hours he claimed to have worked. O’Keefe omitted the clip aired by ABC, which shows a census leader emphasizing the importance of accurately reporting on miles driven by census enumerators.

Breaking News from Breitbart: Census waste caught on tape in undercover sting operation

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Conservative activist James O’Keefe (of ACORN fame) has produced the following video. It will be aired on Good Morning America later today: