It was, to say the least, inevitable. Hours after the death of Andrew Breitbart was announced on Thursday, his passing gave birth to the newest conspiracy theory. If you couldn’t guess who many are already blaming for his death - it's Barack Obama.
The microblogosphere was aflutter with allegations and accounts worthy of the late conservative commentator himself on Thursday as Twitter users were quick to point the finger at US President Barack Obama for causing the death of Andrew Breitbart. Early Thursday it was announced that Breitbart, 43, died of natural causes in Los Angeles, California.
So says the LA County coroner, that is.
The Associated Press waited until 9:41 a.m. EST Thursday morning before confirming Breitbart’s death, but the first theories were rolling in even before then. Before 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, The New York Times’ assistant managing editor, Jim Roberts, tweeted what was perhaps the first accusation that hinted at Barack Obama’s involvement. “Only a few weeks ago, #Breitbart spoke to CPAC, claiming to have videos of Obama from ‘college days,’” wrote Roberts.
Sure enough, only weeks earlier Breibart, never one to hold back against the president, told an audience at the Washington, DC Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he was close to leaking videos that would end the political career of the commander-in-chief.
“I have videos, this election we’re going to vet him,” Breitbart told an audience of attendees last month. “We are going to vet him from his college days to show you why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008.”
Some people on the Internet are already jumping to conclusions, of course, that the most powerful man in the free world does not respond lightly to threats, especially this from a critical conservative such as Breitbart. The commentator called Obama a radical at CPAC and encouraged the crowd to do the same, insisting, “We should not be afraid to say that.”
Now with Breitbart’s untimely passing, his followers are picking up the torch that was extinguished early Thursday and are carrying on the tradition of tackling the left with allegations of their own.
“Andrew Breitbart threatens Obama at CPAC, then suddenly dies? This MUST be investigated!” reads one tweet that quickly went viral. “RIP Andrew Breitbart. I do not believe that it is an accident that he died less than a month after he said he had college tapes of Obama,” writes another 140-character-commentator.
Those, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Obama is a hit man with an army or parasites!” warns one Twitter user. The account registered under the username @UnitedStates even adds, “Not accusing Obama of anything, but it's very strange Breitbart passed away all of a sudden. Especially after saying he had ‘tapes.’”
Now, if you want to start a real conspiracy theory, Republican Party presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich just so happens to be one of only 2,000 followers of the @UnitedStates Twitter account — but we digress.
Controversial morning-zoo DJ Mancow Muller, the host of a popular radio program which regularly featured Breitbart, even threw his weight behind the allegations. “My friend Andrew Brietbart MURDERED?!?? Or rumor?” read one of his first tweets early Thursday. “He told me RECENTLY he had big dirt on Obama… MANY believe it's murder!” goes another. And then there is even this gem which, keep in mind, comes from the fingertips of a syndicated, successful radio host with an international audience:
“Still don't know what killed Whitney. IMMEDIATELY it's Brietbart dead @ 43 of Natural causes?”
What exactly Breitbart had planned to put out against Obama will remain a mystery unless those elusive tapes eventually do make it to the Internet. Since Breitbart was the broadcaster behind ending the careers of Congressman Anthony Weiner and former United States Department of Agriculture Georgia Director Shirley Sherrod, it’s to be expected that those looking to keep the movement of muckraking from the far-right alive will find a way to release those clips.
“The videos are going to come out, the narrative is going to come out, that Barack Obama met a bunch of silver ponytails in the 1980s, like Bill (Ayers) and Bernadine (Dohrn), who said one day we would have the presidency, and the rest of us slept as they plotted, and they plotted, and they plotted and they oversaw hundreds of millions of dollars in the Annenberg Challenge and they had real money, from real capitalists. Then they became communists,” Breitbart said at CPAC last month. “Barack Obama is a radical, we should not be afraid to say that! Okay? And Barack Obama was launched from Bill and Bernadine’s salon. I’ve been there.”
A tweet from Breitbart himself authored only hours before his death adds to the intrigue of the mysterious footage — and perhaps even his own passing? Responding to someone that threatened to un-follow Breitbart on Wednesday, he replied, “You'll be missing out on quite the upcoming fireworks show. There's tons of unreal, high-level action & intrigue ahead.”
In classic Breitbart fashion, he indeed went out on a high note. Among his final tweets were ones where he discussed his “alleged drinking, coking & homosexualizing” and equated an Occupy Wall Street supporter to imprisoned “al-Qaeda scum.”
In his farewell tweet, Breitbart called one of his followers a “putz.”
Will Breitbart be remembered as more of a controversial commentator with the power and proven success and ending political careers? Or as a right-wing blow hard that by-and-large lobbed the left with allegations while bordering on gonzo and glorifying gusto for going after the dirt of liberals and leaving them left to die? Maybe, actually, a little bit of both.
“PC is bad,” Breitbart tweeted earlier this week. That was nothing new to admit for Breitbart, however, who had condemned Senator Ted Kennedy as a "villain," a "duplicitous bastard," a "prick" and "a special pile of human excrement,” all within mere minutes of the legendary lawmaker’s death in 2009.
Whatever becomes the in-the-end explanation for Breitbart’s passing, lets at least take comfort in hoping that the commentator is keeping an eye on this latest conspiracy theory from beyond the grave, along with Teddy, JFK and the ghosts of every political career that he helped kill.