Defacing 'Occupy Unmasked' – Andrew Breitbart's Final Opus is a Steaming Pile of Propaganda


Imagine that you're making a documentary about baseball. But instead of filming from the sidelines, reading up on the sport, and interviewing players, you boldly bombard the mound, kick the pitcher in the dick, and record the crowd's reaction. You'd probably end up with a movie about angry baseball fans, and perhaps even be able to pepper it with footage of yourself getting tackled by infielders. What you wouldn't have, though, is a complete portrayal of the game itself, or an accurate depiction of the players.

That's essentially the forced approach taken in Occupy Unmasked, a hysterically loaded new film from posthumous provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his cohorts at Citizens United. Rather than tread lightly to capture subjects in their natural routines, here director Stephen Bannon and producer David Bossie poke the hornet's nest, knowing damn well that they'll get some buzz. It's the filmmaking equivalent to, say, dressing up like a pimp to entrap a social justice agency.

Shot from the perspective of an outside agitator, Occupy Unmasked is for the most part an hour-and-a-half long hit job on community organizers, who are broad-brushed as a gang of “anarchists, socialists, and communists” that began planning Occupy and “the destruction of America” while helping with relief efforts in New Orleans. It's not enough that conservative leaders ignored and then abandoned Hurricane Katrina victims; in Breitbart's world, the bleeding hearts who volunteered just did so in order to plot an uprising years later.

It gets better. According to this account, people only occupied Wall Street because organizers promised a Radiohead show. Then there's the impossible claim that Occupy is a “dictatorship” that's run by Anonymous – a statement that reveals not just a loose understanding of facts, but of the English language itself. As icing, there's also an unsubstantiated charge that Occupiers planned assassinations in their tents, plus a whole lot of condemnation for “raping,” “pillaging,” and “pooping.”

Token tall tales aside, Occupy Unmasked is more than just a cornucopia of inaccuracies. Between so much trite baloney – like the lasting line that Occupiers are all “young, white, liberal elites” – there are some actual truths. Narrators state, quite correctly, that protesters don't get much media attention unless there are arrests or violence. That's an unfortunate reality, but one that even few sympathizers would deny. The same goes for a statement that Occupy is “the convergence of disparate groups.” You're damn right it is.

The irony, of course, is that you don't need to employ bullshit to effectively attack Occupy. Especially as numbers dwindle, and as those who remain in the movement tussle over nonsense and seem incapable of moving forward. Not surprisingly, though, the researchers behind Unmasked didn't bother to analyze the actual operations, or to interview some eloquent defenders of the movement who tend to be critical. Instead, they offer cherry-picked bloopers from select participants who are unable to articulate their grievances.

For universal appeal, Occupy Unmasked will certainly incense everyone who sees it. The crowd at the Republican National Convention screening, who already fear that their suburban enclaves will be infiltrated by progressive goons, grew visibly afraid – that's the point of propaganda. On the other hand, anyone who spent significant time at Occupy camps will be aggravated by the deliberate one-sidedness, and by the dizzying repetitive loop of the same few violent outbursts from last fall.

While this film is offensive for its superficiality, the even bigger insult comes from the alleged motivation driving it. “Andrew did not tolerate bullies,” according to Larry Solov, Breitbart's business partner and friend since childhood. “And he saw [those in the Occupy movement] as a bunch of bullies.” That's an especially sick assertion considering how much more the movie sympathizes for the children of despised Bank of America executives than it does for kids who are poverty-stricken.

The notion that this was Breitbart's “last great major work,” as noted by Citizens United president David Bossi at the RNC premiere, truly demonstrates what hacks they both are. Admittedly, filmmakers only went to nine occupied cities in making Unmasked; that despite their bottomless budget, and there having at one point been more than 1500 active camps. This lackadaisical myopia is perfectly exemplified in one Breitbart soliloquy about union involvement, in which he admits, “all I needed to find out about Occupy I learned at Occupy LA.”

But that's Breitbart in the nutshell that was his hard-right bubble, where his legacy is sheathed by countless fluffers who defend his cheap excuse for tabloid journalism. For them, and for anyone else who worships this kind of conspiratorial trash, Occupy Unmasked is tantamount to hardcore porn. In introducing the film in Tampa, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann noted that “everyone who [Breitbart] ever met thought he was their best friend.” I guess you'd have to be to think his final opus is anything but a disgrace.

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