Grant Slater/ KPCC
Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart argues with Occupy Los Angeles protesters in this on November 27, 2011.
Love him or hate him — and there never seemed to any middle ground — the news that Andrew Breitbart had died suddenly at the age of 43 sent the Los Angeles media world into shock. Los Angeles, unlike New York, doesn't really do media (it does, of course, but not at the same frenzied level). And although Breitbart's legion of detractors pointed to his despicable opportunism and seeming lack of an ethical compass that would enable him to take a moderate approach toward...well, anything, they nevertheless had to concede that he had built a minor media empire in the West, after stints with Matt Drudge and Arianna Huffington, two other Left Coast media moguls.
He built up a group of sites that all bluntly targeted what he considered leftist institutions: Breitbart.com, Breitbart.tv, Big Government, Big Hollywood, and Big Peace. Detect a theme there? The ironic thing of course was that Breitbart himself was pretty big, in the sense of being outsized and outspoken (he also didn't lack for physical presence). Tucker Carlson, who knew Breitbart pretty well, had some very nice things to say about the man (see below) — including a bemused yet melancholy recollection of how challenging it could be to get a word in edgewise when talking, or attempting, to talk to him.
The mighty Arianna summarized what, a little closer to our neck of the woods, The Wrap packaged as "Hollywood Exhales: BlackBerry Service Is Back." What happened is that, after seeing its business start to slip through its fingers over the past year, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion encountered a nightmare scenario: its supposedly secure, supposedly bulletproof network has spent three days failing.
It began in Europe and the Middle East but was looking like it wouldn't make it to U.S. or Canada. Today, however, we got hit on this side of the pond. The outage was brief, but the outrage was audible. For one thing, we learned that Arianna travels with three BlackBerrys. She didn't say which one she was tweeting from. Although for all we know, she could have a six iPhones and two iPads tucked in her Vuitton carryon. Maybe even a Vertu.
Arianna Huffington is ticked off that politicians can leap into action when a hurricane is bearing down on the East Coast but stall, stall, stall when it comes to attacking the dull, grinding crisis that is U.S. unemployment. A taste:
With the toll that the job crisis is taking on the lives of millions of people in this country -- from college graduates who can't get jobs to middle class families being thrown out of their homes -- this is a Category 5 disaster. In extreme cases, financial desperation has even been a reported cause in suicides. "We have noticed many more people mentioning the economy," said Eve Meyer, executive director of the nonprofit San Francisco Suicide Prevention, which has seen an increase in suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge. "We constantly hear, 'I'm going to be homeless; I would rather be dead than be homeless.'"