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Breitbart: The website that now rules America

Say goodbye to establishment conservative media like Fox News. This is the new, darker media source of the right—and the White House.


 
Steve Bannon, campaign CEO for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, looks on during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Steve Bannon, campaign CEO for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, looks on during a national security meeting with advisors at Trump Tower, Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

A lot of us were laughing at Donald Trump when he appointed Steve Bannon, the head of the right-wing website Breitbart, to run his campaign. No one’s laughing now. Instead, liberals and Democrats are mobilizing in opposition to Trump’s decision to give Bannon a major White House job, pointing out that Bannon’s site has been associated with encouraging racist nationalism, that Bannon has tried to build alliances with the European far right, and that his ex-wife accused him of being an anti-Semite. But even if Bannon himself can be kept out of power, his website, and everything it stands for, has become one of the key media sources for the U.S. right. Goodbye to establishment conservative media like Fox News and National Review; hello to the site that runs headlines like “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy.”

Breitbart is named after its founder, Andrew Breitbart, who was an assistant to the right-wing news aggregator Matt Drudge. When Breitbart created his own site, he brought with him the techniques he’d learned from Drudge: lurid headlines, easily identifiable enemies like the Clintons and George Soros, and lots of warnings about an impending race war in America. (A typical headline from the site: “Black Dallas cop sues Black Lives Matter, Soros for inciting race war.”) It also had a mix of reporting, clickbait and opinion pieces that made it seem like a right-wing version of The Huffington Post, whose launch Breitbart worked on. And while it isn’t considered one of the fake news sites that may have helped swing the election, it does traffic in the most conspiratorial versions of stories, like its speculations about Hillary Clinton’s health.

One of the big differences between Andrew Breitbart and the contributors to other conservative news sources was that Breitbart was not exactly someone with a coherent right-wing ideology. “I am not a particularly religious person,” he said, and he didn’t care much about policy specifics. His main source of anger was what he saw as a media—news and entertainment—irredeemably biased against conservatives. His mission was to do anything possible to fight back; he said he was at “war” with the mainstream media, and sometimes even the respectable conservative media.

That led to the tone that Breitbart has always had, and continued to have after the founder’s sudden death from heart failure in 2012. The tone can be described as racist, but it’s unquestionably “anti-anti-racist,” based on the premise that racism is basically an imaginary problem in America and that accusations of racism are made to divide and destroy the political enemies of liberals. Many of Breitbart‘s biggest stories have been aimed at accusing liberals of being the “real” racists, like the time they got a black government official fired by using out-of-context comments to accuse her of anti-white racism. And the creators of the site have always taken a fairly indulgent approach to racist or sexist commenters, with Breitbart saying that many of those comments involve “performing an act of agitprop on behalf of the left—being a troll, to say racist things.” The whole ethos of the site is that if you accuse them of racism or hate speech, you’re the problem.

Bannon, who took over the site after Breitbart’s death, has kept the same anti-anti-racist tone but pushed it closer to the white nationalist right and the subculture that has sprung up on 4chan and Reddit. Buzzfeed‘s Joseph Bernstein called this the “Chanterculture,” of people who want to break down social taboos against racist speech (and who consider such speech an act of countercultural rebellion). Breitbart became the news source and gathering place for these people, as well as a voice of near-total support for their hero, Donald Trump. It even sided with Trump against one of its own reporters, Michelle Fields, after she reported being manhandled by Trump’s then-campaign manager. And now, thanks to this constant Trump support, Breitbart will have the ear of the president-elect.

Ben Shapiro, an anti-Trump conservative who quit Breitbart in protest over its treatment of Fields, says he has no evidence that Bannon is personally anti-Semitic but points out that he “has openly embraced the racist and anti-Semitic alt-right—he called his Breitbart ‘the platform of the alt-right.’ ” The ultimate goal of Bannon’s Breitbart, he says, is to “transform conservatism into European far-right nationalist populism,” something more akin to the Le Pen family than the Bush family. Is that what Andrew Breitbart had in mind when he decided to declare war on the mainstream media? No one knows, though mainstream conservatives generally liked Breitbart better than they do Bannon. But one thing we do know: when you decide that no ideas should be taboo, you sometimes find out why those taboos were in place. And that’s what we may be finding out for the next four years.


 

Breitbart: The website that now rules America

  1. Well, Liberals, it was THIS instinct that earned you your abject humiliation Tuesday night: False accusations of bigotry. The 212 counties that Obama carried in ’08 & ’12, that went for Trump in ’16 – which were hailed back then as signalling a new era of enlightenment & diversity across in our great nation – are THE VERY SAME VOTERS you are now decrying as racists & sexists.

    They voted against you not because they hate women or black people – how farcically absurd – but because your policies have proven spectacular failures. But that’s beside the point, here.

    Think about this, in the anthropological sense. Take any human being, any race, any gender, & falsely accuse them of bigotry, knowing nothing about them, other than they don’t share all your opinions. That human being will resent you for it. Every one of em. Every last time.

    Multiply this by millions of false accusations. Tens of millions. & you get what we saw last Tuesday night. You get the biggest, most unprecedented electoral ‘Go F Yourselves’ in the history of history.

    Because you’ve instantly alienated all those fellow human beings, who are not the least bit racist/sexist/greedy/homophobic. & all in an attempt to virtue-signal/morally-masturbate before like-minded liberals. To demonstrate how ‘enlightened’ you are, & how hostile to hypothetical intolerance you’re willing to seem. &, of course, to silence any 3rd-party observer, who might dare disagree.

    Well, Liberals, what you’ve actually accomplished is THIS: You’ve lost not just the person you falsely accused of bigotry, whom, as a reasonable human being you might’ve persuaded by good-faith argument, but also all the 3rd parties who’ve witnessed the interaction (overheard in your daily life, or read on forums like this one) – since falsely accusing someone of bigotry is nothing but a vile attempt to force your fellow citizens to self-censor their opinions. It’s a form of fascism, though I’m sure none of you can see it, & I’m glad.

    No human being ALIVE enjoys being morally blackmailed, or having their principled beliefs sanctimoniously impugned as evil/selfish/racist/immoral, in an attempt to dismiss them as unworthy of consideration.

    Thus the electoral bloodbaths you have, & will continue to suffer. For you’ve picked perhaps the most effective way to mobilize against you people you might’ve otherwise won over. & to lose elections.

    Now I’m quite sure the immediate impulse for many of you is to condemn ME as racist/sexist/bigoted/bla-bla-bla-they’re-all-interchangeable-to-you-now. & by all means, I invite you to prove my point. But I can assure you my opposition to Hillary, & to eforced goodspeak/political correctness in general, is reasoned, principled & just – & like the vast majority who oppose them, has nothing to do with race/religion/gender/privilege/pick-your-interchangeable-strawman.

    For as long as you and your fellow liberals fail to recognize this, & fail to engage as one decent human being to another, you will lose. Deflecting from the issues at stake by calling anyone who disagrees with you a bigot is a guaranteed loser. & will be far into the future.

    I only warn you of this because I’m certain you’ll fail to heed. Indeed I encourage you to double-down on this self-destructively-stupid strategy. Go nuts. Please. Go absolutely nuts.

    I’m smiling because I know you will.

          • Good points….but you are missing all of the censureship and lack of intellectual diversity across Universities and Campuses in the US. Expressing right wing views will get you exiled from polite society, risk your job and in the classroom lead to insults and lower grades. Unfortunately, the left is not leading by example in the world of tolerance. It also drives discussion from the other side underground. Example? I have friends who voted Trump and no one knows that they did or the reasons why since they are too afraid to say so. For me, if you asked me why I would have the automatic assumption is that I am racist, sexist and misogynist. What if I told you the same reason I voted for Trudeau is the same reason why I would have voted for Trump (shockingly I am a left of centre liberal). Unfortunately, that no longer matters now as the race is over and the time when these questions would have prevented a Trump presidency has long since passed.

            The other big problem? While the left is agonizing and dealing with a Trump victory and trying to understand how it happened, the right is listening to you and forming arguments. This is the first election where the left has been so thoroughly trounced it hurts.

            If Trump winning shocked you? You have likely been in an echo chamber and were never exposed to the other side of the argument. Remember, if you are caught in an echo chamber, it does not stop the other side from listening in and forming arguments (with statistics and facts) against you. If you beleive there are no reasons for the advantages of a Trump presidency with facts and statistics to support them….please read up on the other side so that when you engage in the debate you are prepared.

  2. I followed Breitbart throughout the election cycle. To summarize, they use solid facts, statistics, and mediocore polling (they were pro Trump inflated polling stats) and present them with some potentially scary narratives. That being said, they crushed the main stream media. Proof? Here is the best example (I cannot vet this myself since I cannot get access to the restricted media areas): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-RtCtD-p7E

    Think of them as a far more factually accurate Fox News. Sadly, when I often source checked they far outperformed CNN on their factual accuracy. I mean one of the writers at Breitbart there even wrote an article how to beat them.

    If you want to beat them, read their articles and counter.

  3. Sorry to break it to you, Fox News is number in Prime Time and Total Day

  4. Well we’ve got TrudeauVision® (CBC) all Lieberal all the time…

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