A Bookend: The Andrew Breitbart / Brett Kimberlin Feud

In the scalps that the New Media Right has taken in the last 15 years or so, its arguable that one of the biggest was Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe’s takedown of ACORN. For those unfamiliar with ACORN, it was a large community organizing group favored by the professional left and partially subsidized by the federal government. At the time of its demise, it was slated to also be an integral player in the 2010 census.

However, rabble rousing activist O’Keefe had been secretly entering ACORN offices with a beautiful young woman named Hannah Giles. The duo were entering ACORN offices and secretly recording ACORN employees reactions to an outlandish proposition: O’Keefe and Giles said they wanted to essentially start a brothel with ACORN’s help and import underage girls for their project. Unfortunately for ACORN, a number of their employees seemingly didn’t blink an eye at this request and happily helped O’Keefe and Giles figure out how to make their ludicrous project a reality. It should be noted that Giles and her husband Joe Basel, another long-time O’Keefe associate who was arrested with O’Keefe in the Senator Landrieu debacle, have severed all ties with Mr. O’Keefe. Rumor has it that O’Keefe is a narcissist who brazenly flirts with the law.

It would appear that Giles and Basel know where all the bodies are buried for Nadia Naffe’s attorneys to dig up. Naffe has sued O’Keefe and Patrick Frey (more on Frey later), an L.A, Assistant DA, for harassment and intimidation in connection with this messy story. Naffe was another associate of O’Keefe’s who got too close to his dark side and got burned. Then, in typical fashion, echo chamber bloggers who don’t know O’Keefe the way that Giles, Basel, and Naffe do, decided to attack her relentlessly. Frey was one of those bloggers. He decided to publish Naffe’s Social Security number and her medical records online, but the Assistant DA would have you and the courts believe it was “an accident”.

Ultimately, O’Keefe and Breitbart joined together, with O’Keefe looking to make his name from the exposure Breitbart could give him, and Breitbart in turn hoping that O’Keefe’s ballsy gambit would help the launch of his BigGovernment website.

It worked beyond their wildest dreams. O’Keefe got footage from coast-to-coast of ACORN employees agreeing to the ridiculous plot and Breitbart played the release of the story and firmly established himself as a power player on the right, although his status as a “conservative” were marred by his association with GOProud, a wing of the so-called “Gay Mafia”, and by the fact that he rarely espoused any of America’s founding principles. Andrew was more concerned with fighting leftist hypocrisy than learning, understanding, or promoting conservative principles.

The Left responded predictably, accusing O’Keefe and Breitbart of everything from selective editing to pointing out the fact that it was a different person than O’Keefe in one of the videos for something like five seconds. Oh, and racism, of course.

But the damage was done. ACORN was defunded by Congress, and the organization was forced to dissolve afterwards. A mainstay of the professional left had been slain by a 20-something activist and the media maestro Breitbart. However, some on the left were not quite done with trying to burst O’Keefe and Breitbart’s bubble.

In the first video from the ACORN series, the Baltimore, MD branch was the target. The fatal mistake that O’Keefe, and by extension, Breitbart, made, was apparently not realizing that Maryland is a two-party consent state. For those unfamiliar with the term, a two-party consent state means that when someone is being recorded with either an audio or visual device, they have to explicitly give their permission to be recorded. In most states with such laws, the clear presence of the recording device and the subject communicating with the interviewer is viewed as consent.

However, as anyone familiar with the story knows, the ACORN employees in all the offices were apparently never made aware they were being recorded. In short, in Maryland, O’Keefe broke the law in order to get his damning evidence.

So who was it that realized O’Keefe had broken Maryland’s wiretapping laws? Brett Kimberlin.

In the summer of 2010, Kimberlin announced that his organization, Velvet Revolution, had filed a request for Maryland authorities to investigate O’Keefe and Breitbart for the ACORN videos, citing the wiretapping law as their reasoning. A letter released by Kimberlin was posted to Kimberlin associate Brad Friedman’s blog, BradBlog. A copy of the letter can still be found on BradBlog here.

Obviously this had the potential to be incredibly damaging to both O’Keefe and Breitbart. Their direct hit on the left could finally be discredited all because of an apparent oversight on O’Keefe’s part that he couldn’t do his unique style of investigation in the state of Maryland. So what happened next?

In October of 2010, Breitbart’s Mandy Nagy seemingly dropped a story out of left field on Kimberlin’s checkered past. Titled “Progressives Embrace Convicted Terrorist“, it outlined the man’s serious run-ins with the law. From everything to being the prime suspect in the murder of an older woman in Indiana, to Kimberlin being convicted of being the “Speedway Bomber” for setting a series of bombs throughout the town of Speedway, IN, to his outrageous claims that he once sold pot to Dan Quayle, Kimberlin is, without a doubt, a piece of work. Nagy focused mostly on his issues in Speedway, and also on the fact that respected journalist Mark Singer had also been conned by Kimberlin at one point.

Acting in a support role, apparently, the unfortunately influential Patterico (the aforementioned Patrick Frey) also weighed in, giving some additional steam to the story with his own post in October of 2010. This becomes relevant in just a few sentences here.

So what do we have so far with Kimberlin? Another leftist with a criminal past that the left overlooks because he holds the “correct” views, and now holds a minor place of prominence in the world of leftist politics. Nothing too startling or interesting.

Until Kimberlin exposed his penchant for suing people.

According to both Nagy and Patterico, Kimberlin sent them cease and desist/remove immediately orders shortly after their posts were published in October of 2010. Patterico made a brief post about this  that same month. The first kernel of the “Kimberlin uses lawfare to silence critics/conservatives” was born.

So far, Kimberlin, through Velvet Revolution, is suing O’Keefe, Hannah Giles (O’Keefe’s femme fatale from the ACORN videos) and Breitbart. Nagy writes the post about Kimberlin in the fall of that year, as the apparent main thrust of Breitbart’s counter-offensive against the diminutive jackass. Patterico adds on to Nagy’s work, building up the narrative that the wiretapping case is pure bunk, simply because it’s being brought by Kimberlin.

Somewhere along the way, the blogger Seth Allen, who writes at davefromqueens2.blogspot.com, is put on Nagy’s radar, at least. According to Allen, much of the research and investigating Nagy did for her piece, came from his work, especially the parts linking Kimberlin and Friedman together. Unfortunately for Allen, he has a real penchant for poking at Kimberlin, and ends up in court himself. That case reveals one strange, sordid tale, with Kimberlin contending Allen is a famous Internet troll who has used dozens to hundreds of accounts over the past decade at least, to screw with people across the Internet

While somewhat irrelevant, Allen ends up in jail because of Nagy. Allen had, according to him, made some kind of joking reference about killing Kimberlin. Nagy didn’t see it that way, contacted the authorities, and Allen ends up in jail. A strange interlude in a story full of strange interludes. Maybe Nagy’s snitching was retribution for Allen making waves over calling Nagy out over her lifting his work with no attribution. Two wrongs and all that.

Also in the 2010-11 time frame, another blogger who wrote about Kimberlin extensively ends up on the wrong end of a lawsuit from Kimberlin. That blogger is Aaron Walker, although most people knew him as Aaron Worthing on the Internet. Walker ran a blog called Everybody Draw Mohammed. That blog, and his involvement with it, was what led to him using the pen name Aaron Worthing. As part of Kimberlin’s lawsuit against Walker, Kimberlin was able to force Walker’s name out into the public sphere.

According to Walker, this outing, and Kimberlin’s subsequent alleged harassing of Walker at his workplace and elsewhere, lead to Walker getting fired from his job. That claim has been refuted here and elsewhere, when a leaked e-mail cache was sent to a small circle of people proving that Walker’s employer fired him for his actions, not Kimberlin’s.

We have four bloggers who have all felt the brunt of Kimberlin’s wrath in the form of lawsuits, or threat thereof, being used. While many involved in this story have no regard for this site or the people involved with the site, we will begrudge them that it is a correct assessment that Kimberlin uses the courts to shut people up about his past. Breitbart himself, who possibly had the most at stake in Kimberlin’s wiretapping case in Maryland, also added to this narrative. While Breitbart never directly wrote at length of Kimberlin, he mostly added to the narrative through his Twitter feed:

We’ve written about Neal Rauhauser on this site, and there’s still no proof of his “crimes” that has been presented anywhere by those who malign him as a criminal. Supertroll? Maybe. Criminal? Show us the proof.

Needless to say, Breitbart did his part in shaping the narrative about Kimberlin. And like all things Breitbart did in the media, he did it with grandiosity, building a sense of mystery and menace around the three men mentioned in those few tweets.

But then, Breitbart died.

What he built up, and the people he left behind and in charge, seemed to be floundering in the months after his death. Breitbart had made bold promises at CPAC just the month before, saying he had video tapes of President Barack Obama that would be incredibly damaging and able to sway the election. While the video of President Obama and Professor Derrick Bell that was released was provoking, it wasn’t the smoking gun people expected.

There was allegedly another video, as yet to be released, that either Breitbart claimed showed President Obama and another former domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers, theorizing and/or outright plotting about how to pull off a revolution in the United States.

Regardless, this left the Kimberlin narrative somewhat fading, except for Aaron Walker, who continued to blog about Brett Kimberlin and fight online with various Twitter profiles about Kimberlin. Then, in the spring of 2012, Breitbart blogger, and rape fetish pornographer, Lee Stranahan came up with the idea of “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.” He pitched the idea, using the old adage about sunlight and disinfectant and whatnot. Crazily enough, purely based on his position as a Breitbart blogger, Stranahan managed to get many of the most popular and influential blogs on the conservative side to participate.

It’s unknown whether Stranahan’s idea was prompted by something going on in the legal arena, or whether it was some weird tribute to Breitbart. But, when you get right down to it, what “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day” really was, was simply a google bomb. It was a manipulation of search engine optimization, so that when anyone searches Brett Kimberlin, all they’ll find is a raft of stories about the darker parts of Kimberlin’s life and not the mentions about the lawsuit or other legal issues that were headed Andrew’s way.

Not only did it continue the narrative of how AWFUL Kimberlin is, it also insured that any non-negative posts about Kimberlin were buried under a mountain of other results. Results that might link to URLs related to the aforementioned suit against Breitbart maybe?

The other effect of Stranahan’s ploy was that it pushed the story out of the blogosphere and into the greater media world. Both Walker and Patterico ended up on Glenn Beck’s radio morning show. That, coupled with Erick Erickson’s alleged “swatting“, a few short days later on May 28, and the story hit the mainstream for a decent period of time – due, in part, to Erickson’s Senator, Saxby Chamblis, being looped in to the story by Erickson. Erickson, the editor of the popular conservative blog RedState and a CNN contributor at the time, cited his involvement with “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day” as the reason for his alleged swatting. The totality of the narrative remained the same: that leftist activists are using “lawfare” (i.e. Kimberlin’s excessive use of cease/desist court orders etc) and high-tech pranks like swatting to shut up conservatives. Again, keeping all the negativity on Kimberlin and thrashing the guy in about as public, and brutal, way as possible.

And instead of anyone wondering or thinking about the pretty straightforward wiretapping case Kimberlin had against O’Keefe and Breitbart, everyone was focused on Kimberlin. Our takeaway: during the last couple years, many participants wasted a lot of energy, and some conservative dupes were suckered out of money over several “conservative” bloggers’ hyperbolic nonsense, all due to O’Keefe’s wiretapping blunder in Maryland. It’s time to move on. If ever the law of diminishing returns applied, it’s now with respect to this worn out story.

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  • http://twitter.com/RubyRedVette AmyB

    Good grief, what a cluster fluck. Now, please fill us in on the Loesch/Breitbart lawsuit. Please?