On May 10, writer Andrew Breitbart -- "who works on the Drudge Report from his home in West Hollywood," according to The Washington Post on March 2 -- appeared as a guest on the FOX News Channel's morning show to accuse filmmaker and author Michael Moore of lying about the circumstances surrounding Disney's decision not to allow Moore's latest documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, to be distributed.
But even before introducing Breitbart, FOX & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade offered their own views of Moore:
KILMEADE: Our next guest says the recent conflict between Michael Moore and Walt Disney is a big publicity stunt. We're talking about Michael Moore, the documentarian who makes stuff up?
DOOCY: Yeah, that's right. Here to explain from L.A. is Andrew Breitbart. He is the co-author of Hollywood, Interrupted. And he joins us live from Hollywood, and we are interrupting him. Good morning to you, Andrew.
BREITBART: Hey, good morning. Thanks for having me again.
DOOCY: OK, so Michael Moore apparently is having trouble with Disney, says that Disney is pulling the rug out from underneath of him. But you say this is, this is just a big fat lie, that he's known all along he wasn't going to get a distribution deal from Disney.
BREITBART: Michael Moore's been lying for ten years. Every time that guy lies he gains a pound. He's like a culinary Pinocchio. ...
DOOCY: Well, how is Michael Moore regarded in Hollywood? He -- you know, his movies, his documentaries like Bowling for Columbine -- they've won awards and stuff like that. Do people like that guy?
BREITBART: Yeah, they love him. They love the sort of anti-middle American vibe that the guy gives off because he's from Flint, Michigan, so he can ostensibly claim to be speaking for Middle America. But the guy lives on the Upper West Side, and he's the classic elitist.
KILMEADE: All right. Let's move on. So we know that it's [the controversy surrounding Moore's film] fake -- you know, propagated to distribute it -- because he was on every nightly news show and we were talking about it.
In addition to uncritically affirming Breitbart's assertions about Moore, Doocy and Kilmeade failed to disclose that, as a self-described "righty," Breitbart has an ideological motive for casting aspersions on Moore. *
According to The Miami Herald on September 1, 2003, Breitbart maintains and updates The Drudge Report website when the site's proprietor, Matt Drudge, is away. Matt Drudge once proclaimed, "Screw journalism! The whole thing's a fraud anyway." And according to a February 1999 article in Information Today, "[W]hen Brill's Content [a now-defunct monthly media-watch magazine] reviewed the 51 stories Drudge labeled 'Exclusive' between January and September 1998, it found that of the 31 stories that actually were exclusive, 10 (32 percent) were untrue and/or never happened, 11(36 percent) were true, and the accuracy of the remaining 10 (32 percent) is debatable or still unknown."
Breitbart is also co-author of the recent book Hollywood, Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon -- The Case Against Celebrity (published by John Wiley & Sons in February 2004). In an April 18 review published in the Ottawa Sun, Liz Braun called the book "mean-spirited in the extreme and written in a dishonest and inflammatory fashion." Publishers Weekly wrote, "Not since Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons have two journalists (Breitbart feeds stories to Internet scandalmonger Matt Drudge and [co-author Mark] Ebner wrote for Spy) gathered more mean-spirited gossip about celebrities they condemn as sick and depraved. This diatribe is so unrelentingly negative that it loses all power to persuade." On March 15, Newsday's Liz Smith called the book "an unabashedly right-wing, conservative, one-note samba on celebrity culture."
CORRECTION: On May 12, Media Matters for America reported that during a May 10 appearance on FOX & Friends, "FOX News Channel failed to disclose Breitbart's association with [Matt] Drudge". In fact, the following words appeared on screen (as Chyron text) for four seconds during Breitbart's appearance: "Breitbart is a contributor to "The Drudge Report." We regret our error. [ return to corrected paragraph. ]