SPP: Thanks for being on the show. First I just wanted to give our listeners and everybody a little understanding about what it is you do. I know you’re an acclaimed author and very outspoken when it comes to news and the media. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and your goals.
Andrew: Let’s start from the very beginning I was a slacker, I’ve been described that and I resent it, but in fact it’s true. I went through life as a default liberal in Brentwood thinking that the world owed me something, that my parents owed me something. When I graduated from college with a reinforced sense of victimization, even though I came from Brentwood one of the nicest parts of Los Angeles, my parents said you need to get a real job and start paying for your shoes in here, your rent. I was like what are you talking about?
At that time the media was telling me that anti-heroes such as Curt Cobain and Eddie Vetter were the spokespeople for my generation. I was like yeah, exactly. The world owes me, the world’s mean and why don’t I have everything I want. When I started working I started paying for my shoes I got this weird sense of self-esteem. I’m like wow, that’s kind of cool. I mean I don’t have a lot of money but it’s kind of a cool feeling. I started hating grunge music and I flipped over the channel from FM where I just couldn’t stand grunge. So I was like I can’t listen to this music, and I hated Top 40, so I switched to the AM dial and I started listening to conservative talk radio.
My lessons that I was learning through hard work and perseverance were now starting to be affirmed by listening to people who talked about this in a language I had never heard before, because I’d kind of been programmed to be liberal. The next thing I know I’m in the middle of very, very liberal Brentwood challenging family members and friends to like what’s going on? Why do you think this way? I started to basically deconstruct my entire life. I was like oh my God, I think I’m actually conservative.
At the exact moment that that happened, the internet became a real prominent emerging thing. I met Matt Drudge and for years I worked with him on the Drudge Report. I was at the right place at the right time. That’s it I was at the right place at the right time. At the birth of the internet, at the birth of New Media, it was an extraordinary thing.
Because I was at the right place at the right time and then he introduced me to Arianna Huffington which allowed for me the opportunity to create The Huffington Post with her. I know have a pretty fun resume to throw around because I really expected nothing of myself back in 1991 when I graduated. I had no vision, I had no goals short term or long term, and in 20 years since I graduated from college I’ve been at least at the forefront of a revolution.
SPP: Great. You mentioned that you helped start Huffington Post. What was going through your head when you were doing that? As you mentioned you were liberal and then started paying more attention to these conservative talk shows, and what not. I know Arianna Huffington was conservative at first and then became liberal. What was just going through your head helping her start this liberal Web site where everybody from the left would congregate towards?
Andrew: Yeah it’s a very bizarre story but it’s true. I was Arianna Huffington’s researcher from about 1997 through 1999, and she turned liberal o me. So I left. It was awkward. I worked with so intimately, platonically intimately, but I worked with her. We were fighting the same battles together and she switched. For about a five years we just had this strange, bizarre air test relationship on the west side of LA where her friends thought I was the devil for being a conservative, so I wasn’t at the parties that often but we respected each other.
After the 2004 election Arianna called me up and said “Do you have any ideas for a Web site?” I spent a good period of time right after the election through the launch of The Huffington Post that the next May, May of 2005, created The Huffington Post with her. Why would I do that? Because my entire narrative when it comes to New Media is more voices not left. I tend to think that the Democrat media complex, that’s what I call the mainstream media, it’s the natural alliance of the Democratic Party liberal interest groups and the mainstream media they’re all activists. But the media pretends that its objective. It’s not. It isn’t in Manhattan, it just simply isn’t.
I thought that what the left needed was a place where leftist could admit their leftist in reporting of the news. That it would be more transparent. More like Rachel Maddow is a liberal and she’s doing the news. Keith Olbermann’s a liberal and he’s doing the news. I wanted to create a place where Arianna could be the Queen of the leftwing blogosphere. Then what would happen is, as it has happened, is that if you look at the New York Times and you look at The Huffington Post’s front page it’s the exact same point of view. It’s exposed the allegedly objective New York Times as being partisan.
It’s been a bad exposure for the New York Times because the New York Times its competitive advantage was all the news that’s fit to print. Well it’s all the partisan news that’s fit to print and it’s actually hurt their brand. So I think we’re moving towards a more transparent era in media where you know where a reporter comes from. It’s exactly the model that’s working in the UK what you’re getting when you’re reading The Independent and The Guardian they’re left of center papers. But you also know you’re getting from the right The Daily Mill, The Times of London, and The Telegraph.
So we’re just in a weird adolescent phase of adapting to what is the standard operating procedure in England. So I want to create a more transparent media and I’m glad that I have that on my resume because it speaks to why I’m fighting so hard to create conservative media that tells the truths that the left media that the Democrat media complex want tell. So it looks ironic but to me it fits with what my mission. I’m a free speech, First Amendment fetishist.
SPP: Andrew I got to ask you, so I’m for the aspect of you want to show transparency, you want the media to tell the true or correct story. I think if that’s your ultimate goal I commend you on it. But when you talk about how you want to show the right side, the conservative side, isn’t that just adding to the partisanship?
Andrew: So what? Since when is partisanship a bad thing? The New York Times…
SPP: Oh but I thought you were saying that partisanship is the problem.
Andrew: No. For the New York Times to pretend that it’s neutral, objective and fair, when it’s using news and objectivity as a cudgel against the right, when it frames John Boehner bad, Nancy Pelosi good.
Andrew: Liberals are pro environment, what are the implications, conservatives are against the environment? When they’re able to frame the narrative and they’re pretending to be neutral it’s a big lie. So I’m trying to create more transparency so when you hear – it doesn’t mean that a liberal or The Huffington Post can’t report a story that’s not true. It’s just that the orientation and the motivation of a report, an editor, to cover a certain story is mostly driven by ideology when it has a political component to it.
I don’t think that the Tsunami in Japan is necessarily covered from the vantage of partisanship, but the elections in America certainly are. The choices of the stories of the New York Times runs and its placement and how they’re written is all seen through a partisan agenda and an ideological agenda. When they tell their pubic that they’re neutral they’re simply lying to the public. So I’m just creating more transparency. Since that’s happened, since we’ve moved towards that, 20 years ago when Grunge was the big upcoming thing Time Magazine and Newsweek and all the formerly important News Weekly’s you used to say “Where is this Generation X? Why don’t they care about politics? Why are they so apathetic?”
Well as we’ve moved towards a more partisan media where people are telling you the truth and people have a vested interest in getting out different sides of the same story, we now have a much more engaged electorate. If you saw an article that said that kids don’t care about politics now it would look kind of silly because people are really, really involved in politics and they’re really, really involved in creating the media, and I think those are two inherently good things.
The people who are upset about it are the old guard, the old media, they’re upset because Katie Couric and Art Sulzberger at the New York Times and Bell Keller and Maureen Dowd used to control the national agenda from their offices in Manhattan, or their offices in Washington, D.C. And now a teenage videographer North Carolina can take a photo of a congressman doing something like, I don’t know strangling him, such as Bob Etheridge was caught with New Media it ended up making it so that this guy lost his safe district congressional seat. This is good. This is good that citizens are getting engaged and it doesn’t matter if they have a point of view, everyone has a point of view.
SPP: Right. You’re saying as long as people state beforehand where their bias lies. So with that being said…
Andrew: Yeah I’ve defended Keith Olbermann when MSNBC suspended him. The week before he was rooting to get me kicked off of ABC News Election Night Coverage. But instead of when he got suspended by MSNBC because they found out he’d donated to a liberal candidate, I said “Why are you suspending him that makes no sense.”
Andrew: The whole point of the rule within NBC is upholding the old false order that these newsmen are neutral and that giving money to a certain candidate would show a preference towards one side over the other. Well is that a laughable premise when you’re dealing with Keith Olbermann? Everybody knows that he’s a liberal so why should he not be able to participate in democracy and give money to a liberal. It doesn’t make sense to me.
So I’ve supported he Keith Olbermann’s of the world, it’s Brian Williams who I’d probably get along with a thousand times more that I don’t trust because he tries to pretend like he’s objective. I think he’s lying to himself. I think Katie Couric lies to herself and I think that Charlie Gibson lies to himself. They think they’re neutral but they have a default liberal position set in their mind. And there’s nothing in Manhattan media circles that would allow for them to see the other side. And that is why Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge became so popular and why there’s a market for somebody like me, because we are giving the other side of the story that they refuse to give.
SPP: Okay but in that same token, because you keep mentioning the liberal media, should Fox News then have to change their trademark phrase of Fair and Balance to something like Unfair and Biased?
Andrew: I think that Fox News is pretty – I think that that message when they’re talking about the news division versus the opinion division, Sean Hannity is fair in that he brings liberals on.
SPP: Yeah but so does Bill Maher and so do all of them, but they’re still clearly liberal. They bring conservative on you know.
Andrew: Well I think fair it doesn’t say objective, it doesn’t say that they’re – I think that they’re allowed to exist. You know where Hannity’s coming from, you know where Beck’s coming form, you know. I don’t have a problem with Bill Maher it’s the news division that attempts to be fair. From my personal perspective I think that Fox News leans to the right, I think it’s pretty obvious.
SPP: Right. That’s all I was saying. In that case they would have to show the fact that they…
Andrew: Everybody knows that but fair and balanced means that they show the other side and they do. Fox News puts on more liberals than MSNBC does. So if they said that they’re straight down the middle and they don’t have a partisan tinge they’re not telling the truth, it definitely leans to the right, but they are being fair and balanced by giving people the other side and they do all the time. I was on last night with the Democratic Strategist on Hannity’s panel.
SPP: I wanted to take a step back real quick and kind of go back to what we were just talking about with New York Times and those guys kind of controlling the news that goes out there. I mean you’ve seen print newspaper The Times, other newspapers out there become less and less popular because of, even when I say social media thing such as Twitter and just blogs that are out there. Do you see that this old business model of these companies controlling what news gets out to the people as something that will eventually go away? I mean you mentioned you can have videographers in North Carolina that find stuff and that can make the mainstream news because them publishing it to you YouTube. Where do you see this model going and what do you think is going to eventually happen to the old business model?
Andrew: One of the reasons why I’m not a billionaire or even a millionaire at this juncture in my media mogul status and that I have two car payments and a mortgage because I can’t see the future. All I know is that I’m engaged in something that can do warfare with the old media and we’re changing as it goes along. And it’s a very organic process and I don’t know where it’s going to go because every time that a genius in the computer division of a company comes up with a new piece of software we adapt to it.
And so whether it be YouTube was one of those moments where it was like whoa, we can finally now see video instead of this buffering business that made it impossible. Now we have the ability now to take our BlackBerry our iPhones and our flip phones and to upload stuff immediately so that you can be a video journalist. It’s like the technology is emancipating the news business and making it so that barriers entry is negligible.
So the mainstream media is going to have to adapt to this. If it thinks in terms of this is how it was in the 20th Century and we need to unring this bell or put the Genie back in the bottle, whatever cliché you want to use, I go they’re going to lose because the technology is emancipation and the average person now has the ability to do an expose that probably would have caused a $100,000 dollars 10, 15 years ago. And now Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe took down Acorn in a multicity undercover investigation that cost $1400 dollars. So old media is going to have to embrace New Media and New Media’s going to have to embrace certain standards of what’s expected of a journalist if you’re going to get into this game.
SPP: Do you see that happening now or is it something where old media and new media are just butting heads?
Andrew: I see it time-to-time but they are butting heads. There’s resentment but it’s a resentment that’s mostly based upon the fact that they’re devaluing what it is that Katie Couric, Katie Couric makes $10 million dollars a year. It’s not worth $10 million dollars a year. The value that she holds for our society of piecing together five stories a night, all you have to do is go to YouTube or go to your favorite blogs, and they’re already doing it for you.
So they’re upset that they’re changing the business dynamics out there and they’re also upset that one of the reasons why they got into the business in the first place is so that they can shape the cultural and political narrative, and now that’s being rested away. So they’re butting heads because there’s an economic war and there’s an ideological war. But quietly they’re being forced to adapt to the technological aspects of this. So they’re grudgingly embracing the new media behind the scenes while they’re fighting the war outwardly.
SPP: Andrew you know I have to bring this up because it’s so huge in the news and we’re talking to you about news and all that. Obviously, recently we had the death of Osama Bin Laden and everything. I saw some crazy stuff about how as it was happening, or soon after it was happening, somebody over near him was tweeting that they heard helicopters and things like that. Do you think that those kinds of things help us get the news quicker and more accurately? And then also in regards to their reporting of the death of Osama Bin Laden, did you see any biases you thought of?
Andrew: Well first off, the first thing I did in New Media when I found out about it, before the President even spoke on Sunday night, was to congratulate the President of the United States, our Armed Services and our Intelligence Services. So as a partisan everybody thinks is constantly looking for a space for one-upmanship these people don’t understand who I am then, because I was very proud that the President of the United States made a very difficult decision.
But all the actions that I’ve seen since then speak to my criticism of this President is that he’s a political animal and that it was a grand slam. It seems like he’s tried to walk back the grand slam by politicizing it. He’s trying to use his political operatives to feed and frame the media narrative to try and mitigate whatever George Bush’s place in this success is. I thought that that if I’m willing to give him credit he should be the big man to say of President Bush, I came into office an anti-war President, I got into this realized the severity of the problem that we have with radical Islam and the techniques that George Bush implemented that I excoriated him from, were very central to making it so that we can have the successful mission.
So I’m disappointed in the President and I’m disappointed in the media for trying to make this about President Obama and make this the centerpiece of his reelection campaign, instead of recognizing that no this was a group effort, this was an American effort, and that the much criticized policies that he did were very instrumental in reaching this moment that Barack Obama should very much take credit for.
SPP: Yeah. And to some extent I agree. What I think personally is that if it took, Bush was in office eight years and I think he incorrectly concentrated on Saddam, where Obama’s in office for three and gets Osama, which was our Number 1 target. I think he does deserve the majority of the credit.
Andrew: I couldn’t disagree with you more because to take the media narrative that George Bush had his eye off of the Osama ball is untrue and it’s born of, I would say media bias that they tried to make it appear that way. Nancy Pelosi saying the capture right now is like the greatest thing that’s ever happened, and in 2006 when George Bush was still in office she said “If he got captured it wouldn’t matter whatsoever.” And so people are trying to seize upon these narratives in order to try and grant one person a victory over the other. I don’t buy it whatsoever.
Ultimately our war is not against Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden exclusively, it’s about an overarching premise of radical Islam and its desire to spread around the world and to push for Sharia. And racial Islam is ultimately the problem and Iraq was a central component in trying to create a base where freedom and democracy could flourish in this country. Instead of having these countries one after the other that are controlled by despots and tyrants who put these people into horrible economic situations where the only education they’re getting is a one-sided Sharia based totalitarian mindset.
The American people have been ill educated by the mainstream media to have a politically correct tendency to try and explain away what’s going on with the religion of peace. There are serious, serious issues and George Bush was willing to deal with those elemental issues that the mainstream media didn’t want to talk about it. It wanted to just go to the Council on American Islamic Relations and talk about 9/11 from a perspective of what did we do to deserve this. No when an evil ideology is spreading across the globe that’s bringing on people and organized in a lone wolf fashion to try to take on western democracies because they are free, we have to have a much bigger plan than just going after Osama Bin Laden. It’s a much bigger deal than just Osama Bin Laden.
SPP: But I don’t think it’s really up to us to spread democracy across the entire world. I mean if we do that…
Andrew: Well I mean ultimately that’s your opinion. After 9/11 what are we going to do about this problem? We spent a huge budget trying to deal with these things one terror attack after the other. What’s the best possible way to deal with this? If we’re already giving money to Israel for giving money to Egypt, if we’re already engaged in trying to shape policy around the world with our money, are you saying that we should just divest from the rest of the world and just be purely isolationist? That hasn’t worked in the past.
SPP: No I’m saying it’s kind of egocentric to believe that just because it works for us it’s going to work for the entire world, and then to use our resources through brute force.
Andrew: No it’s not egocentric it’s patronizing to think that the freedom that you take for granted that’s like water to you, that other people should…
SPP: I don’t take it for granted.
Andrew: That you think that other people should live under a tyranny.
SPP: I do enjoy debate and I guess I know we’re getting deep in our time. I do want to talk about and let our readers know you have a new book out called “Righteous Indignation”, which we will link to on our Web site. Do you want to lead them to any other Web sites or places?
Andrew: Yeah. I mean I have a ton of Web sites I should probably be smart like Arianna was and have one portal like www.huffingtonpost.com, but instead I have www.biggovernment.com and www.bigjournalism.com, and I’ve got www.breitbart.tv and I’ve got Big Peace portal and I’ve got www.breitbart.com as well. But my book is what I’m selling right now. I think that it’s a manual for anybody out there that wants to change the world and to do it through New Media. It’s what’s happened over the last 15 years I’ve been there every step of the way.
Luckily, mostly, but my tactics have worked on how to penetrate the Democrat media complex. My skills have taught the American people how they can affect the political narrative. That it’s not done through donating to the Republican National Committee or to different candidates. The best way to affect change is to get involved in the new media game, and that’s what the book is about. And just very excited that it’s out there and getting good reviews and is being well received.
SPP: Well Andrew, again thank you so much. When this episode airs we’ll make sure to shoot you a link and everything so you can check it out. We appreciate you being on.
Andrew: Anytime. Thanks a lot guys.
SPP: Thanks so much Andrew.