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Incorrigible conservative Andrew Breitbart passed away earlier this week, the victim of a massive karma heart attack.

The coverage of Breitpart’s untimely passing demonstrates that nothing moves journalists and political commentators more than reminders of their own mortality. His allies (and, frankly, some of his enemies) have spent the last several days recounting charming stories about Breitbart’s escapades, all of which seem to involve his making someone – usually someone whose political ideology differed from his own – feel uncomfortable. Or baselessly fired from their job. While I’m very sorry for his family, particularly his children, it’s a crying shame how easily people have forgotten the legacy that Breitbart leaves behind. Like serving on the board of an organization that outed a Rick Perry aid. True, he stepped down in the ensuing outcry. What a guy.

Breitbart’s allies point to his role in the Shirley Sherrod escapade – in which he deliberately edited a video of an African American USDA official to make it appear that she had intentionally declined to help a white farmer – as a prime example of the kind of right-wing muckraking that Breitbart loved. I call it lying. Lying and not caring how many people’s lives you ruin as you step on their backs on your way up to a million-dollar Fox News consultant contract. 

So yes, it’s sad for his family and for the politicos who caught a glimpse of Christmas future this week. But not for civil political discourse in America.

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