Update: Within hours of our post, Mr. Joseph deleted the Breitbart Google group.
Five months after the documentary Hating Breitbart premiered, conservative filmmaker Mark Joseph created an email group to manage publicity for the film as it moved to the home market. His name does not appear on the movie’s IMDb entry, but of all the people in the Breitbart Google group, he was by far the most active, writing nearly four hundred posts over the seven months that the group was active in 2013. According to Mr. Joseph’s own IMDb page, this was not the first time he had done uncredited promotion work on a film; he claims to have done the same for Ben Stein’s 2008 anti-evolution documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, among others. But after reading his posts to the Breitbart group, we are quite sure that no project was ever dearer to his heart.
For instance, Joseph personally hand-delivered copies of the movie to a pair of Supreme Court justices.
Dick Morris was too busy making money off of Newsmax to actually watch the film. But Mark Joseph saved the disgraced Clinton adviser-turned-right wing huckster some valuable time by having the team forward Mr. Morris the copy to publish about it. How thoughtful of him!
Mr. Joseph came up with several ideas to promote Hating Breitbart. With the help of our old friend Brent Bozell, this one was supposed to pester the “liberal” media into highlighting the film out of pure annoyance, because there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Mr. Joseph even seems to have seriously contemplated indulging conspiracy theories about Andrew Breitbart’s death to increase sales of the DVD.
We also have the screening copy mailer list. It includes recording artists Pat Boone, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Bono of U2, and Scott Stapp of Creed. Talk radio lunatic (and Breitbart-was-murdered conspiracy-monger) Alex Jones was also sent a copy along with dozens of right wing media darlings like Peggy Noonan, Michael Medved, and pseudo-historian David Barton. We also know whose screening copies were returned undelivered, thanks to their images of the returned mailers. Did George Will, Thomas Sowell, and Frank Luntz ever get their copies after all? We do not know, but misspelling their names and addresses probably did not help the Post Office as they attempted to make delivery.
The Google group did not operate in a vacuum, but acted in full awareness of the news cycle. For instance, as the contrived tea party IRS scandal hit the headlines in the middle of May, Joseph saw it as another opportunity to plug the movie.
We noted that Kevin Vicker of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs was a very active group participant. Closely linked to Tea Party Patriots, S&B Public Affairs is one of the agencies we found over and over again in the Groundswell email listserv, where the IRS scandal was cooked up by tea party activists and then presented to House Republicans, who repeated the well-honed talking points that those professional PR firms had devised for them. Joseph’s executive assistant Bethany Thompson, who also did publicity work for fraudulent author Dinesh D’Souza’s ridiculous conspiracy movie 2016: Obama’s America, was a group participant. Whereas marketing wags like to joke that their business amounts to “gold plating a turd,” these are some of the most accomplished turd-polishers in the right wing universe. The group got upset when Fox News did not like the film enough, then became giddy when Joan Walsh of Salon.com did not hate it as much as they expected.
Hating Breitbart might as well be retitled Breitbart Hating. Its subject had as much rage as charm, and ends the film screaming “fuck you!” and “war!” in defiance of those who called him a racist for all the racist things he did. The film is more of a celebration and hagiography than a documentary or biography, and has been just as polarizing as its subject. As the New York Post reviewer put it,
Much of “Hating Breitbart’’ consists of its subject repeatedly denying accusations that he and his Tea Party colleagues are racially motivated in their unrelenting attacks on President Obama. Maybe so, but the volume of racially charged (and homophobic) comments on practically any article on Breitbart’s Web site certainly seems to tell another story about his readers.
Video: Mark Joseph interviews Andrew Breitbart.