William Alfred "Bill" Whittle (born April 7, 1959) is an American conservative blogger, political commentator, director, screenwriter, editor, pilot, and author. He is best known for his PJ Media internet videos and short films, one of which, "Three and a Half Days", has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on YouTube as of June 2016. He is currently the presenter of Afterburner and The Firewall, and co-hosts Right Angle with Stephen Green and Scott Ott, his former fellow co-hosts of "Trifecta." In addition, Whittle has interviewed a number of political personalities as a PJTV.com commentator.
He is a former National Review Online contributor and has been a guest on the Fox News Channel, The Dennis Miller Show, Sun TV, and national radio programs. His first book, Silent America: Essays from a Democracy at War, was published in 2004. Since 2009, Whittle has been a featured speaker at universities and a number of Republican and Tea Party events throughout the United States. He is also the co-founder of Declaration Entertainment, an independent film studio, and a narrator for Encounter Books.
Whittle was born in New York City to a British stewardess and William Joseph Whittle, a hotel manager. He is the oldest of four children. Whittle spent his youth in Bermuda, where he attended Warwick Academy and Saltus Grammar School, and later moved with his family to south Florida in the early 1970s. At age 13, he began working at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and was made a console operator by its director Jack Horkheimer after a few months. As a teenager, sometimes called "The Wizard" by co-workers, he wrote and directed the planetarium's light shows.
He had long dreamed of becoming a test pilot for the United States Air Force after watching a Thunderbirds air show at Kindley Air Force Base as a child. At age 17, he applied to the U.S. Air Force Academy, but narrowly failed the preliminary medical eye examination. He developed an interest in filmmaking while helping friends make Super 8 short films and formed a short-lived studio, Mindfire Films, Inc., in the late 1970s. He named Mike Jittlov's The Wizard of Speed and Time as one of his early influences. In 1979, Whittle began attending the University of Florida as a theater major. While there, he wrote and directed the short film The Pigeon Hole which became a national finalist in the Student Academy Awards competition. Whittle was forced to drop out of college when he did not maintain the required GPA and consequentially lost his financial aid. In the summer of 1983, Whittle was part of a volunteer company of actors, directors and set designers which put on stage performances to sponsor a fundraiser for the Boca Raton Hotel's Caldwell Playhouse. Whittle was one of the show's directors and his scene, "Going Too Far", was called an "understated and entertaining pitch for funds" by the Miami Herald.
After leaving the University of Florida, Whittle moved to Los Angeles where he worked in a number of occupations including a waiter, temp, rent-a-car agency, and limo driver. He eventually found employment as a freelance editor during the late-1980s and 1990s on television series and specials for The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, and NBC. In 1996, Whittle returned to his alma mater for the Florida Gators' victory over the Florida State Seminoles to win their first national championship in its 90-year history. At a post-season celebration held at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium weeks later, he produced the university's video tribute to the team which played before an audience of 65,000 fans.
Whittle briefly ran a video editing company during this period but he was forced to close down in 1998. He then went to Australia, where he stayed with his uncle in Brisbane for three months, before returning to Los Angeles. He continued working in the TV industry as an editor on the Turner Classic Movies special Movie Monsters Revealed (1999), House Calls (2000), Ed McMahon's Next Big Star (2002), Movie Obsessions (2002), AMC's Sunday Morning Shoot-Out (2007–2008), and Shatner's Raw Nerve (2008). Whittle is among the Shootout staff members that executive producer Jacquie Jordan thanked in her first book "Get On TV! The Insider's Guide To Pitching The Producers And Promoting Yourself".
On July 4, 2010, Whittle announced the creation of Declaration Entertainment, an independent film studio, which used "citizen producers" to finance its projects. Co-founded with Jeremy Boreing, the two had guest hosted for Larry O'Connor's BlogTalkRadio podcast The Stage Right Show earlier that year. Its first feature film, The Arroyo, completed filming in August 2012, and is awaiting an official release date. Whittle is also working on a space adventure film called Aurora.
In December 2002, Whittle started his first blog, Eject! Eject! Eject!, writing personal narratives and long format essays which discussed current events and political philosophy. He was inspired to start writing following the death of his father earlier that year. He soon developed friendships with fellow bloggers Frank J. Fleming, James Lileks, and P.J. O'Rourke who praised his unique writing style. Whittle has credited O'Rourke, in particular, for "bringing me home to conservatism". In 2004, a collection of his essays was published in Silent America: A Democracy at War. They were also quoted in several newspapers across the country.
Six years after starting Eject! Eject! Eject!, Whittle began writing as a guest columnist for the National Review Online. Both his original essays and National Review columns have been cited by authors William DeMersseman, Jim Geraghty, Laura Lunsford, Frank Miniter, and Jim O'Bryan. Crime fiction author Robert Ferrigno used an excerpt from Whittle's essay "The Undefended City" for the introduction of his 2009 novel Heart of the Assassin.
In December 2008, Whittle moved to PJ Media where he continued blogging and hosted several of its video segments:
- Afterburner (2009–): A weekly three-minute editorial challenging conventional wisdom about politics and society from a conservative perspective.
- Trifecta (2009–2016): A weekly program, co-hosted with Stephen Green and Scott Ott, which offers political commentary on current events.
- The Firewall (2010–): A series of independently produced video essays based on his early political writing.
- Klavan & Whittle (2011–): A Q&A video series with Whittle and author Andrew Klavan discussing various political and social topics.
His first official Afterburner segment was broadcast on May 7, 2009, as a rebuttal to Jon Stewart's assertion on The Daily Show that the atomic bombing of Japan in World War II was a war crime. One of his first videos to gain media attention was "A message to the Rich" which discussed the Obama administration reducing charitable tax deductions for the wealthy. A June 2009 essay entitled "The Michael Jackson Effect" attracted some criticism from the Toronto Star when he suggested that the federal government used the coverage of Michael Jackson's death to push through cap-and-trade legislation. WorldNetDaily recommended his video on American exceptionalism two months later. In October 2010, Joe Newby of the Spokane Examiner called his "What We Believe" series "a must-see for anyone who does not understand what the Tea Party is all about". In February 2011, Laura Baxley of the Atlanta Examiner wrote that Whittle's "The Narrative" was "a brilliant discourse on this Marxist underpinning of critical theory".
Whittle's videos were heard by a national audience for the first-time when "Eat the Rich", explaining the consequences of high taxation on the wealthy, was played on Glenn Beck's radio talk show in April 2011. He was also on The Rusty Humphries Show that month and has filled in as a guest host for Rusty Humphries multiple times since his first appearance. His politically themed videos, initially released through PJ Media and Real Clear Politics, attracted a strong following on video sharing websites such as YouTube. His most watched video, Afterburner's "Three and a Half Days", went viral on YouTube shortly after its release on October 12, 2011, and has since been viewed by over 2.4 million viewers.
Later that year, Whittle was hired by Encounter Books to narrate a series of animated "whiteboard" videos featured on TheBlaze. In November 2011, the Spokane Examiner reviewed one of these videos, based on the 2010 book "The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power" by Melanie Phillips, which examined the reasoning behind Communist, Islamist and Neo-Nazi support of the Occupy Wall Street protests. The newspaper complimented the video stating that it "ties the groups together rather nicely".
In his role as a commentator for PJTV, Whittle has interviewed a number of personalities including Ed Klein, Ayn Rand Institute fellow Don Watkins, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, Andrew Card, David Frum, Lord Monckton, Investor's Business Daily editor Terry Jones, Tim Cavanaugh, and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Other PJTV segments featuring Whittle have included:
- Finding Common Ground (2009): A panelist show filmed at CPAC 2009: Conservatism 2.0 with guests Glenn Reynolds, John Avlon, Scott Ott, Alonzo Rachel, and moderated by Whittle. He also conducted interviews with Amil Amani and Nonie Darwish, founders of Former Muslims United, and activist Wafa Sultan at CPAC 2010.
- LunarPalooza (2009): A 3-part video series celebrating the 40th-anniversary of the 1969 moon landing.
- The Islamic Infiltration (2010): A 3-part investigative report examining the influence of radical Islam in the federal government and accessibility to classified information as claimed by two anonymous whistleblowers.
- PJ Pop Quiz (2012): A light-hearted quiz show which has occasionally featured Whittle and other PJTV personalities.
- Election Hot Seat (2012): Official coverage of the 2012 United States presidential election.
Whittle also became friends with Andrew Breitbart. After Breitbart's death in March 2012, he participated in a round table discussion with Roger L. Simon, Lionel Chetwynd, and Stephen Kruiser in addition to dedicating an entire episode of "The Afterburner" to his memory.
The Stratosphere Lounge
In May 2012, Whittle started his own weekly podcast, "The Stratosphere Lounge", in which Whittle takes questions from his Facebook friends. It currently airs live on Wednesday evenings via Ustream and is later uploaded on his official YouTube channel. He has expressed interest in developing the podcast as a talk show for broadcast television.
Whittle is currently engaged to Russian photographer Natasha Melnikova.
Whittle is an instrument-rated pilot of glider and light aircraft. Having studied aviation as a teenager, with the intention of entering the U.S. Air Force Academy, it is a subject he has discussed extensively in both his essays and videos. His EjectEjectEject.com essay "Courage" had been quoted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Author and screenwriter Michael Walsh, in his 2009 novel Hostile Intent, credited Whittle for teaching him the OODA loop.
On July 9, 2005, Whittle was involved in an incident while attempting to land at Visalia Municipal Airport when the front landing gear failed. The airport's runway was closed for an hour, however, neither Whittle nor the other passenger were injured. Whittle has described similar incidents in his flying career.
Whittle is a supporter of Veterans Airlift Command, a national organization of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots, which provides free air transportation to wounded American servicemen, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate grounds.
An early supporter of the Tea Party movement, Whittle has been invited as a speaker at major political rallies and other public events. On September 12, 2009, Whittle was among the featured speakers at the 912 West Rally which saw the Los Angeles and Orange County Tea Party combine to create the largest Tea Party group in the West Coast of the United States. A few months later, he was part of the 2010 Tax Day Freedom Rally at the Indiana State House.
He was also a guest speaker for Republican groups at Flag and Lincoln Day celebrations. Whittle's appearance at the Orange County Republicans' annual Flag Day dinner in June 2011 inadvertently found him opposing co-speaker New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez who advocated that California Republicans should be focusing its efforts on winning over Hispanic-American voters. Weeks later, he spoke at "Troopathon", a charity event which sends care packages to soldiers serving overseas, held at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California. That same year, he was part of Eagle Forum in San Diego, California, Tax Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota with Sue Jeffers and Ernest Istook and, with Tammy Bruce and Krista Branch, the 2nd-annual Patriot Banquet in Scottsdale, Arizona.
In 2012, Whittle was a featured speaker at RightOnline 2012, Oberlin College, and the Wake Up America rally. He subsequently discussed his experience at Oberlin, which has a history of student protests against conservative speakers, comparing it to his own years as a college student in Florida. On September 10, he spoke at St. Michael's College in Toronto; he was interviewed on Byline with Brian Lilley during his visit to Canada. On October 22, 2012, the Southwest Metro Tea Party held a "Bill Whittle Movie Night" showing his "What We Believe" and "Dishonorable Disclosures" videos in Chaska, Minnesota.
|1999||Movie Monsters Revealed||Editor||Also camera operator|
|2002||Ed McMahon's Next Big Star||Editor|
|2007–2008||Sunday Morning Shoot-Out||Editor|
|2008||Shatner's Raw Nerve||Editor|
|2011–2012||Red Eye||Himself||Episode: "March 15, 2012" |
Episode: "June 4, 2011"