Updated after the jump with new details about the project — “a total relaunch of all the websites” this coming Sunday.
Originally posted March 1 at 2:30 p.m.
Forty-three-year-old Andrew Breitbart's shocking death in Westwood last night came just days before he was set to unveil a mysterious new project — one he hoped would mark “a transition into a different kind of journalism,” says Joel Pollack, head of Breitbart's blog empire.
For the last several months, “this has been Andrew's obsession,” says Pollack. “He was working incredibly hard.”
But the dream won't die with the man:
His right-hand executive tells the Weekly that “we have a big rollout scheduled for the websites … over the next few days.” (The websites being, for those unfamiliar, Breitbart.com, BigGovernment.com, BigJournalism.com, BigHollywood.com and BigPeace.com.)
More details about the project will be available tonight on The Sean Hannity Show. “You'll see very soon what Andrew's plan was,” says Pollack.
Breitbart had originally planned his big reveal for this coming Sunday.
His father-in-law and daughter tell reporters that he collapsed one month ago, and that last night's fatal repeat was likely due to a heart attack.
The conservative blogger and larger-than-life media personality — who has been immortalized in a matter of hours today, all across the Internet — contributed founding ideas to both Drudge and the Huffington Post, two newsy hit factories on opposite ends of the political spectrum.
However, in making sure he was always at the forefront of new media, Breitbart was known to push himself to the limit.
In BuzzFeed's “How Andrew Breitbart Helped Launch Huffington Post” this morning, HuffPo co-founder Jonah Peretti remembered his go-go-go ambition:
“He taught us a lot of things early on. He explained about looking at the British newspapers late at night because they would sometimes break news before the U.S. papers. He cared about getting links up seconds or minutes faster than other publications and was obsessive about that. … He was just incredibly difficult to have in the office — he was totally ADD and would jump from idea to idea.”
On the contrary, Breitbart was intensely focused on his upcoming project — completely preoccupied, up until the moment he collapsed.
We ask Pollack how the Big blogs will be run, now that their mastermind is gone. He says that although “Andrew's role as a media figure and as a strategic observer will never be equaled,” the many people he has employed and influenced “will take what we've learned from him and apply it to his dream.”
Another of our favorite memorials to Breitbart today (and quickest — a tribute to his obsession with time stamps) was “What Andrew Breitbart Got About the Internet,” by Rebecca J. Rosen for The Atlantic. Its final paragraph:
But for all that Andrew Breitbart got about the Internet, there is so much more to the story. As my colleague Conor Friedersdorf wrote earlier today, “Despite tangling with Breitbart, bitterly at times, over our conflicting temperaments, contrasting approaches to journalism, and almost opposite codes of conduct, I sometimes marveled at his ability to advance a story, even if I'd discourage others from mimicking his approach.” Andrew Breitbart wasn't the only style of journalist online. What he understood is that on the Internet, there's room for many.
Over the next few days, albeit posthumously, this man who changed journalism will gift the world with his parting project. What we do with it is anyone's game.
UP NEXT: Sean Hannity and guests talk on Breitbart's legacy, and Pollack gives us a few more clues.
Well, Hannity didn't reveal much about Breitbart's big posthumous project last night that we didn't already know (the constant cross-promotion continues, even in death!), but his guest, Steve Bannon, a documentary filmmaker and close friend of Breitbart's, did drop some hints on what's to come.
“We spent the last two years working a website that on Sunday night…” Bannon said before he was cut off by Hannity. He later added that Breitbart had “left the office at 10 p.m.” on Wednesday. He had been pouring all his energy into the project, his “obsession,” up until the moment he died.
Here's the full interview:
We asked Joel Pollack, who runs all Breitbart's sites, if the Obama tapes have anything connection to the huge new web project we wrote about yesterday.
“No,” he says. “This Sunday, there will be a total relaunch of all the websites. The tapes are separate, and coming later.”
So keep your eye out for Breitbart's final vision on Sunday — “not first thing,” but sometime before the day ends, says Pollack.
The Blaze notes that conspiracy theories are swirling over whether the Obama tapes, which Breitbart promised would take the POTUS down by showing “why racial division and class warfare are central to what hope and change was sold in 2008,” might have had something to do with the conservative icon's death.
But the way Breitbart was slaving over this website relaunch, it looks like it may have been his own drive and passion that pushed him to the edge.
See also: “Andrew Breitbart's 5 Angriest Moments.”