"I do what I do because the mainstream media chooses not to do it," Breitbart said in a 2010 interview with AP. "The game of the left controlling the narrative ... is ending."
Breitbart played by his own standards. He faulted what he called the mainstream media for all manner of shoddy work and bias, but his aim could go off course, too.
Sherrod, who is black, was ousted from her job as the USDA's state rural development director for Georgia in July 2010 after an edited video surfaced of her making what appeared to be a racist remark. She is seen telling an NAACP group that she was initially reluctant to help a white farmer save his farm more than two decades ago, long before she worked for USDA.
Missing from the clip was the rest of the speech, which was meant as a lesson in racial healing. Sherrod told the crowd she eventually realized her mistake and helped the farmer save his farm.
Once the entire video surfaced, Sherrod received numerous apologies from the administration including Obama — and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asked her to return to the department to work on civil rights issues.
She declined Vilsack's offer but later sued Breitbart, his employee Larry O'Connor and an unnamed "John Doe" defendant for defamation. A lawyer for O'Connor said Thursday it's not clear whether the case will proceed against the other two defendants, who were seeking to dismiss the federal lawsuit.
In a statement Thursday, Sherrod said she was surprised to hear of Breitbart's death. "My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart's family as they cope during this very difficult time. I do not intend to make any further comments."
The 2009 hidden-camera video that eventually brought down ACORN showed staffers offering advice on taxes and other issues to actors posing as a prostitute and pimp — a technique that would be frowned on in journalism schools. Some employees appeared willing to support illegal schemes involving tax advice, misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children. A Government Accountability Office report cleared ACORN of criminal activities.
Even so, public pressure led Congress to block previously approved funds from going to ACORN and to stop future payments. Roughly 10 percent of ACORN's funds came from federal grants and the group eventually disbanded.
Weiner's downfall began on May 28 when Breitbart's website posted a lewd photograph of an underwear-clad crotch and said it had been sent from Weiner's Twitter account to a Seattle woman.
Initially, Weiner lied, saying his account had been hacked. But he pointedly did not report the incident to law enforcement — a step that could have led to charges of wrongdoing far more serious than mere sexting. At one point, he told an interviewer that he could not "say with certitude" that he wasn't the man in the underwear photo.
One of two adopted children, and the son of a Santa Monica restaurateur, Breitbart traced his conservative conversion partly to the 1991 Senate hearings on Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court, which he considered unfair. Before rising to prominence, he was a long-serving underling at the Drudge Report, and was also there during the formative days of the Huffington Post.
Breitbart seldom showed restraint with critics and seemed to savor the negative attention his antics earned him. He once told reporters from the stage at a tea party convention, "It's not your business model that sucks, it's you that sucks."
After Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts died in 2009, Breitbart tweeted, "Rest in Chappaquiddick" and called him "a special pile of human excrement." When critics questioned his tone, he tweeted they "missed my best ones!"
Breitbart is survived by his wife, Susannah Bean Breitbart, and four children.