Andrew Breitbart is fueling the strange PizzaGate controversy, even from beyond the grave.
The conservative media pioneer, who died unexpectedly in 2012 at the age of 43, apparently had quite a bit of distaste for Democratic power broker John Podesta in the final years of his life. Breitbart took aim at Podesta, who this year ran Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign for president, claiming that Podesta was hiding a child sex trafficking ring.
To adherents of the PizzaGate conspiracy theory, it appeared to be validation of their claims that Podesta is involved in a secret child sex ring centered on a popular Washington, D.C., pizza joint. But the full context of Andrew Breitbart’s Twitter messages about Podesta were actually related to an entirely different story, one that helped put Breitbart’s conservative website on the map.
First, for those out of the loop on the strange conspiracy theory known as PizzaGate, here is a quick primer. The conspiracy theory claims that there is a network of pedophiles spreading across the political spectrum in Washington, with John Podesta a major player.
In a 4,770-word summary of the PizzaGate allegations posted on Reddit — which has become the major hub for PizzaGate investigators —user DumbScribblyUnctious that pizzeria Comet Ping Pong was the setting for the underground sex ring. “While initially not the central focus of the investigation at the onset, Comet Ping Pong is a much more overt and much more disturbing hub of coincidences,” the post claimed. “Everyone associated with the business is making semi-overt, semi-tongue-in-cheek, and semi-sarcastic inferences towards sex with minors. The artists that work for and with the business also generate nothing but cultish imagery of disembodiment, blood, beheadings, sex, and of course pizza.”
The conspiracy theory has been widely debunked from news outlets across the political spectrum, but it still remains popular in certain corners of the internet.
Now, PizzaGate conspiracy theorists believe they have validation from a message Andrew Breitbart posted to the internet a little more than a year before his death.
“How prog-guru John Podesta isn’t household name as world class underage sex slave op cover-upperer defending unspeakable dregs escapes me,” Breitbart wrote on February 4, 2011.
While the tweet is being hailed as apparent validation of PizzaGate, it was actually related to an entirely different matter. Breitbart’s website reported on a controversial expose claiming that Planned Parenthood was covering up a child sex trafficking ring. The original report, from Live Action, included undercover video that claimed to show Planned Parenthood employees trying to keep the child sex ring under wraps.
The report came on the heels of another controversial report from Breitbart protege James O’Keefe claiming to show that employees at the non-profit agency ACORN helped a self-professed pimp to traffic prostitutes. The video was later discovered to be heavily edited, and O’Keefe paid a six-figure settlement to an ACORN employee who was fired as a result of the video.
John Podesta was a key figure in leading the response to the ACORN video during his time as chief of staff for President Barack Obama. In other tweets that week, it was clearer that Breitbart’s attacks on Podesta were related to the ACORN and Planned Parenthood investigations.
Andrew Breitbart’s bad blood with John Podesta stretched back much longer than the Planned Parenthood spat. As the Breitbart website noted, Andrew Breitbart sparred with Podesta a number of times before that.
“Andrew Breitbart understood that the biggest threats to America were those who pulled the strings behind the scenes to gain enormous personal power, money, and influence,” the site noted in November of this year. “Podesta is a creature of Washington, D.C., driving the leftist agenda for decades with his fingers in every pot, since serving in the Bill Clinton White House.”
Though the context of Andrew Breitbart’s attack on John Podesta is clear to anyone willing to read beyond the tweet itself, that isn’t slowing the PizzaGate conspiracy theorists from citing it as evidence of the bizarre claims. Others speculated that Breitbart’s fatal heart attack might have been murder — even though it happened nearly 13 months after his tweets about Podesta.
[Featured Image by Reed Saxon/AP Images]