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Andrew Breitbart, 1969-2012

Andrew Breitbart, the conservative columnist and impresario, died in Los Angeles early this morning. The news was first reported at his Big Journalism website. Larry Solov writes that Breitbart died of natural causes. ABC News confirmed the report with the LA Coroner’s office.

I met Breitbart twice, once at a train wreck of a panel discussion at the Wilshire Theater, and once at a protest in Rancho Mirage, where the Koch Brothers were holding a weekend retreat. I interviewed him briefly at the latter one, and he noticed my press pass and told me to “say hi to Jane.” In basically all my encounters with Breitbart, I saw someone with a very high motor, an ability to ramp himself up at a moment’s notice. I would hope that this extreme intensity didn’t ultimately cost him his life, but it certainly looks that way.

Somebody has to say this: Breitbart’s network of sites had an impact on the national discourse mainly because he was so good at attracting press coverage. His death leaves a large void there.

I’m sure Breitbart supporters will find a string of hateful comments proving their point about liberals, and I’m sure liberals can go to the archives of Big Government or Big Journalism or Breitbart’s twitter feed and find their own string of hateful comments about the recently dead (Ted Kennedy comes to mind). So perhaps his death can put an end to this cycle of bile.

And lest this become a sewer in the comments, I would advise people that a 43 year-old man left a wife and kids behind today.

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David Dayen

David Dayen