First, let’s nail down the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a broad-minded person. A conspiracy theorist says, “Of course, Andrew Breitbart was assassinated. Look how many people benefit from his absence. He told CPAC he had videos that could doom Obama’s re-election chances. He told Sinclair News three weeks before he died, ‘Wait till March 1st!’ He died on March 1st. You’re a blind, cowardly idiot if you can’t see he was murdered.”
That’s the conspiracy theorist. The broad-minded person says, “There’s something not quite right here!”
Dr. Michael Baden is a broad-minded person who sits at the tip-top of the medical examiner (coroner) profession. Congress made him the medical examiner equivalent of America’s poet laureate. In addition to being chief medical examiner of New York City for decades, Dr. Baden was called in to do forensic work on the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. He was called into the O.J. case. The Russian government reached across a continent and an ocean to have Dr. Baden determine whether newly exhumed bodies in Siberia were really those of the Romanoff (czarist) family. (They were!) There’s more on Dr. Baden, but that should do.
An article like this takes more character than stopping after one salted peanut. My editors would likely put this column “above the flag” – newspaper-ese for “maximum prominence” – if I could get Dr. Baden to say he suspects foul play in the demise of Andrew Breitbart. However, like a good football referee, let me put the ball exactly where Dr. Baden left it.
It’s known Breitbart had heart problems. And Dr. Baden believes, despite the almost supernatural coincidence of Breitbart dying precisely when his powerful enemies wished he would, that there was no foul play. But Baden doesn’t stop there.
On Thursday, March 1, Dr. Baden’s Los Angeles colleagues issued the terse announcement, “Andrew Breitbart, age 43, died of natural causes.” Every hour that now elapses without further official word bellows oxygen into the already raging flame of the conspiracy-lovers. All we’ve heard from the L.A. medical examiner is: “The autopsy was performed Friday night and the toxicology reports may take weeks.”
Dr. Baden wonders why the L.A. authorities didn’t say, “The patient died of a heart attack. Toxicology studies are under way.” If you’ve ever pursued a woman who really didn’t like you a lot, you learn the hidden meaning of words like, “The toxicology reports may take weeks.” Don’t you feel the difference between that and, for example, “Toxicology studies are under way,” or “We’ll announce the toxicology findings as soon as they’re completed”? This business of “may take weeks” is the lingo of someone who already has a deep rat-hole and is looking for a deeper one.
Besides, Dr. Baden tells us toxicology reports shouldn’t take “weeks.” And if the autopsy were Friday night, why delay preliminary findings? Dr. Baden emphasized that Breitbart’s wife is entitled to know everything the examiners know, and she’s free to speak openly, unless there’s a police hold on revealing information. None has been announced.
Dr. Baden’s mood throughout the one-hour radio interview we did together on the Talk Radio Network seemed to agree that this is one conspiracy theory you can entertain without sullying your reputation. Breitbart did have enemies. He did claim he would release videos harmful to President Obama. His demolition record of those he targeted was close to 100 percent. He was walking home from a bar alone at night. There’s too much here to dismiss with a casual, “I’ll be durned!”
Dr. Baden is quite familiar with the “Two Bulgarians on a London bridge.” In 1978 a Bulgarian Communist agent shot a little pellet from his James-Bond-retooled umbrella into the leg of anti-Communist dissident Georgi Markov. The pellet, completely unfelt, was a deadly poison. A day later Markov was dead. Considering the growth of technology in computers and other fields since 1978, it’s reasonable to conclude there’ve been improvements in assassination techniques, too.
Breitbart’s father-in-law is one of the all-time greatest comics, actors and gentlemen in our national inventory: Orson Bean. Bean emphasizes Breitbart had a history of heart trouble. Here’s where Dr. Michael Baden joins us asking the questions. There are bad heart problems, not-so-bad heart problems and real bad heart problems. How bad was Brietbart’s? Was he breaking doctor’s orders working so hard and sleeping so little?
We have here one of three possibilities. A) Despite the breathtaking coincidences, Andrew Breitbart died a natural death; B) Somebody wanted Breitbart silenced and now smiles “Mission Accomplished.” Option C is yet more dire. Could this be the start of a campaign to silence the right with terror? Could we now be in that period between the first and second planes hitting the WTC?
And, if, God forbid, C is the answer, will we soldiers of media behave like Londoners standing up under the Nazi blitz? Or will we cave, quit fighting for America, paste on a happy face and look for cowardly things to be courageous about?
To tamper with Mark Twain only slightly:
Fear knocked at the door.
Nobody was there.