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Hating Breitbart PG-13
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hating Breitbart PG-13 (the original cut, which was rated R for language, was titled simply Hating Breitbart) is actually an homage to the late right-wing activist and new media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart. The documentary offers an overwhelmingly reverential portrait of the conservative media mogul, who considered it his job to discredit what he considered the liberal mainstream media. It's not an objective film; all but one or two of the people interviewed are friends, family, or admiring colleagues. Where your family stands on the political spectrum will likely determine how much you enjoy this documentary, which portrays Breitbart as a brave, almost heroic figure in American journalism.
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What's the story?
HATING BREITBART PG-13 is ironically titled, because the documentary is actually an ode to Andrew Breitbart, the late conservative activist and provocateur who used his media empire to challenge what he perceived as the left-controlled mainstream media. Through interviews with friends, family, former classmates, and other conservative and libertarian journalists, Breitbart's confrontational, in-your-face style is mostly admired and respected in the film. He's shown speaking around the country, at Tea Party rallies, college campuses, and press conferences.
Is it any good?
Andrew Marcus' biographical documentary of Andrew Breitbart, who died unexpectedly in 2012, isn't the sort of investigative piece the departed media entrepreneur was best known for promoting. It's a straight-up homage to the man, featuring only footage of him and his family, friends, and other conservative journalists or politicians who respected him. By interviewing only people who loved and admired the man, Marcus makes sure that the audience sees only the positive about Breitbart's professional mission -- although very little (outside of interviews with Breitbart's father-in-law Orson Bean and stepmother-in-law Alley Mills) of his personal life.
In fact, only a couple of Breitbart critics are included in the entire 85-minute documentary, neither of whom is well known or particularly eloquent. It's like the documentarian had no interest in providing a counterpoint to all of Breitbart's slick explanations for why he considered the extreme right, like Tea Party supporters, the only voice of truth in America. Whether you agree with Breitbart or not, one thing is undeniably true: The man knew how to stir an audience, how to anger his opposition, and how to be charismatically confrontational.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss Hating Breitbart PG-13's intent: Is it to counter the negative media perception of Andrew Breitbart or to explain why people either love or hate his style of journalism?
What are the differences between fact and speculation or opinion? What tools do we have to help us determine which is which? Do you think documentaries are required to be objective? Why or why not?
Breitbart's untimely death is never mentioned except for a graphic that shows his birth and death years right before the credits. Do you think Breitbart's death and how it affected the Breitbart media empire should have been discussed?
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