Breitbart.com

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  • The Right-Wing Media’s Government Takeover, Via Donald Trump

    Trump Has Picked -- Or Considered -- Over A Dozen Right-Wing Media Veterans For His Administration

    ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    President-elect Donald Trump has picked -- or considered -- nearly a dozen people who have worked in right-wing media, including talk radio, right-wing news sites, Fox News, and conservative newspapers, to fill his administration. And Trump himself made weekly guest appearances on Fox for a number of years while his vice president used to host a conservative talk radio show.

  • Right-Wing Civil War: Megyn Kelly Trades Barbs With Breitbart Editor-At-Large Over Dangers Of Empowering "Alt-Right"

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak traded attacks about the "alt-right’s" “potentially dangerous” influence in media and their role in the 2016 presidential campaign.

    In a December 7 interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, host Terry Gross discussed the misogynistic attacks and threats from Trump supporters which made it necessary for Kelly to use security for the entire year. Kelly also spoke about the dangers of empowering the "alt-right," and noted the problems one young woman had with Breitbart.com and their "alt-right" supporters when she dared “to say something about the fact that Corey Lewandowski laid hands on her.“ Kelly praised Breitbart’s founder Andrew Breitbart, but said, “if you look at what’s happened to Breitbart over the past three years, it’s shocking:”

    TERRY GROSS (HOST): This is an example of how the “alt-right” -- and the “alt-right” is a rebranding of white nationalists and people who are misogynist, racist -- so, the alt-right has kind of gone after you, ever since your dust-up with Trump at the debate. Are you concerned that president-elect Trump seems to have empowered these people?

    MEGYN KELLY: Well, I do think they are a potentially dangerous force. And you know, even when it comes to the book review -- look, I have a powerful platform. I can come talk to Terry Gross for an hour, but a lot of authors who are on the wrong side of Trump -- take Michelle Fields, right? The one who alleged that Corey Lewandowski had physically assaulted her, Trump’s old campaign manager, she had a book. She doesn’t have the powerful platform.

    She worked for Breitbart, and left when they failed to defend her, and she got targeted by these folks on Amazon, and they killed her book, and that’s not okay. Alright? This woman hasn’t done anything wrong, anything, other than find herself on the wrong end of these folks, for whom she used to work. But even that wasn’t enough to engender any loyalty, or affection for her, because she decided to say something about the fact that Corey Lewandowski laid hands on her. This is a man who threatened me explicitly as well.

    And look, Trump’s got bigger things to worry about than this particular group, but it is also a dangerous game to empower them, as clearly has happened. I mean, Steve Bannon is -- he’s chief advisor to our president-elect. And I understand the argument that he’s just a provocateur, and he comes up with these crazy headlines, and they want clicks, but if you look at what's happened to Breitbart [News] over the past three years, it's shocking.

    I knew Andrew Breitbart very well and he was great. I loved him. He was a true provocateur who would be fun about it, you know. He'd show up at a democratic protest and engage with the protesters and then he'd go have a beer with them. This is something else entirely, and I don't know that Trump can stop it. I don't know who, if anyone, can stop it.

    GROSS: How do you see your role as a journalist in covering the “alt-right?”

    KELLY: It’s precarious, because they will come after you. I mean, they will target you, and they will be relentless about it. But -- so I, again, have this great platform, and I have this powerful company behind me, and I’m lucky to have a company that can look at it with that perspective. I think other organizations need to keep that in mind, that it doesn’t -- when I say you’re going to have to steel your spine, you know, to cover this White House and deal with some of Trump’s supporters, I mean it could affect your pocketbook as a news organization.

    [...]

    KELLY: Look at my case, Terry. If somebody gets targeted by this group physically, and they have death threats, how much money can a news organization expend to provide that person with a bodyguard? At some point, real dollars get involved here in these decisions. And, you know, that’s -- that’s when these news organizations are going to have to find their inner strength.

    In response to Kelly’s criticism of Breitbart and its elevation of “alt-right” white nationalist movement, Breitbart editor-at-large Joel Pollak tweeted Kelly “bashes Breitbart. I’ve never been a critic. Until now, maybe. Would she dare let me defend? I doubt it.”

    The conflict between Megyn Kelly and Breitbart revives long-standing tensions between the Fox News host and the far-right outlet. In March, Kelly invited Michelle Fields, a former Breitbart employee who spoke out against Breitbart leadership’s attempts at “smearing” her reputation. In return, Breitbart has run articles with headlines such as “Steve Bannon: I Warned Roger Ailes That Megyn Kelly Would Turn On Him,” and described Newt Gingrich’s insult-laden rant against Kelly as “Gingrich Slams Megyn Kelly For Treatment Of Trump -- ‘You Are Fascinated With Sex And You Don’t Care About Public Policy.”

  • Meet Charlie Kirk, The “Boy Wonder” Trump Ally Behind A Poorly Sourced McCarthy-Like Watchlist Of Professors

    Blog ››› ››› PAM VOGEL

    A new website called Professor Watchlist is soliciting “tips” to help publicly “expose and document” college professors who “advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” The conservative group Turning Point USA, led by frequent Fox News guest and former Breitbart.com contributor Charlie Kirk, is behind the site.

    Professor Watchlist, which launched on November 21, encourages visitors to “submit a tip” to report professors who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” (The website originally also solicited reports of professors who “promote anti-American values,” but that language has since been deleted.) The submission form allows visitors to identify professors by name and school, and to submit evidence of perceived bias discovered via “Article/News Report,” “1st Hand Experience,” or simply “Word of Mouth.” It also allows visitors to share optional “Video/Photo Evidence” of alleged transgressions. The site’s “About Us” page notes that it will “only publish profiles on incidents that have already been reported somewhere else,” though it does not provide further information on the quality of previous reporting required or the overall vetting process.

    As of noon on December 1, the site lists 143 professors by name, including photos of the allegedly biased educators, brief details of reported incidents that have warranted their inclusion on the site, and links to “source(s)” that reported the incidents. Of these 143 entries, right-wing student reporter website Campus Reform, operated by the conservative activist training group the Leadership Institute, served as the singular “source” for 75. The conservative student blog The College Fix sourced 10 entries, and the anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant David Horowitz Freedom Center’s website DiscoverTheNetworks, which often cites white nationalist groups, accounted for another 12. Other sources included Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, FoxNews.com posts, and edited “undercover” videos from conservative activist James O’Keefe’s discredited group Project Veritas. (Even Bill O’Reilly expressed some concern about the legitimacy of these “third-party” reports in a recent interview with Kirk.)

    Kirk’s Professor Watchlist site mimics the M.O. of other “citizen journalist” vigilantes of the far-right, like O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, by promoting “tips” from the public with little accountability for the truth, yet potential real consequences for those caught in the crossfire.

    In fact, O’Keefe was invited to attend the final presidential debate courtesy of Kirk and Turning Point USA. Last year, O’Keefe spoke about “gorilla journalism” (sic) at a Turning Point USA event in West Palm Beach, FL, and Professor Watchlist cites his videos as the sole “source” justifying four entries so far.

    The “alt-right” white nationalist news site Breitbart.com, now predictably defending Kirk’s dangerous watchlist, has previously aligned itself with O’Keefe via exclusive releases and spirited defenses of his “journalism” tactics. Both Kirk and O’Keefe also appear to support Breitbart mouthpiece Milo Yiannopoulos, a racist and sexist media stunt artist who styles himself as a journalist.

    The 23-year-old Kirk has made guest appearances on Fox Business for several years. Kirk was previously a contributor at Breitbart, and he has written pieces for The Washington Times and FoxNews.com, among other right-wing outlets, beginning when he was in high school. On Twitter, Kirk has pushed Clinton conspiracy theories, repeatedly delighted in the failures of “the media,” and targetedleftist” professors and “likely” professors for perceived bias for years.

    In 2015, Kirk was the subject of several puff profiles labeling him a “major player in conservative politics” and a “boy wonder” set to “energize” the Republican Party. His group also hosted multiple “Big Government Sucks” rallies that year, with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) making appearances. In July of this year, Kirk spoke at the Republican National Convention about Turning Point USA, describing its work to push conservative values on college campuses, which he called “the most treacherous terrain imaginable.”

    Apart from “calling back to McCarthyism and making lists of college professors who have offended their conservative sensibilities,” Kirk’s Turning Point USA is classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose stated mission is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government.” The group claims to have a “presence” on 1,000 college and high school campuses nationally. Another of its projects, Hypeline News, is a “young-adult driven social news site” that employs college-age writers and says it’s “taking back the media.”

    Kirk personally publicly supported Trump for the final months of the election season (although during the primaries he called Trump a “statist” and “demagogue” and was “cheering for a slowdown of the Trump train” in March). In 2011, however, Kirk -- then a high school student -- repeatedly tweeted at Trump, encouraging him to run for president. Last week, Kirk reportedly met with undisclosed members of the Trump transition team at Trump Tower to give “advice on young people and millennials and outreach.”

  • Breitbart’s Climate Science Misinformation Embraced By GOP-Led House Science Committee

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

    On December 1, the House Science Committee -- chaired by climate science-denying “bully” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) -- tweeted out a Breitbart.com article promoting false claims about climate science and castigating “climate alarmists”:

    The Breitbart article was written by James Delingpole, who has previously disparaged climate scientists at NASA, NOAA, and other respected institutions as “talentless low-lives who cannot be trusted." In the article, Delingpole claimed: “Global land temperatures have plummeted by one degree Celsius since the middle of this year – the biggest and steepest fall on record. But the news has been greeted with an eerie silence by the world’s alarmist community.”

    As purported evidence, Delingpole cited an article by David Rose in the British tabloid Daily Mail. But Rose’s article is based on egregious cherry-picking, as climate blogger Tamino explains:

    [Rose] wants you to think that the worldwide heating we’ve seen for decades now has somehow, magically, come to an end … that it has shown some kind of “pause.” To give that impression, he had to search far and wide for one set of data from which he can cherry-pick one span of time in which he can focus on one recent event, so he can blame this year’s record-breaking heat on something other than mankind and our greenhouse-gas emissions. Thanks to the many many organizations that publish climate data, there are lots and lots and lots of data sets to choose from … so it’s no surprise he found one.

    [...]

    It’s global average temperature, not for Earth’s surface where we live, but for the lower layer of the atmosphere … not for the whole world, but for the land areas only … and it’s not all the data, it leaves out the part David Rose doesn’t want you to see.

    [...]

    Data like this, in fact almost all data, are a combination of trend — the long-term pattern that actually has some persistence — and fluctuation — the short-term ups and downs that are only temporary. And there are fluctuations. Plenty. They go up and down and down and up, but never really get anywhere.

    It’s abundantly obvious, resoundingly unambiguous, completely clear, and pretty simple, that when it comes to climate what matters is the trend, not the fluctuations. For climate deniers, what’s abundantly obvious, resoundingly unambiguous, and completely clear is what they want to avoid. Because it’s so simple, they have to bend over backwards to distract you from it. Like David Rose did.

    Breitbart has a long track record of blatant climate science misinformation, and is even considered a go-to outlet for academics who are bought off by the fossil fuel industry. So the decision by the Republican-led House Science Committee to approvingly cite Breitbart on climate change is ill-advised, to put it mildly. Indeed, it prompted a quick response from Democratic committee member Mark Takano (D-CA), who tweeted: “If Republicans on the House Science Committee are getting their science news from Breitbart, that would explain a great deal.”

    Republican committee chairman Lamar Smith, a climate science denier who has taken over $770,000 in career campaign contributions from the oil and gas and electric utility industries, has a track record of harassing and falsely attacking climate scientists -- just like Breitbart does. So it should come as no surprise that Smith has written his fair share of op-eds for Breitbart.

  • Breitbart Uses Nazi-Inspired Anti-Semitic Rhetoric In George Soros Attack

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Breitbart News’ Twitter account used anti-Semitic rhetoric, commonly used in 1930’s Nazi propaganda, to attack philanthropist George Soros’ efforts to combat voter suppression laws. The anti-Semitic attack is in keeping with a troubling pattern of anti-Semitism from Breitbart, which President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon formerly ran and has bragged is home to the “alt-right,” a racist white nationalist movement.

    Linking to a “flashback” story about Soros’ financial role supporting “legal battles against state voting laws,” the Breitbart Twitter account tweeted on November 28, “Like an octopus.”

    The “octopus” wording is overt anti-Semitic rhetoric dating back to at least the 1930s, when it was a common theme in Nazi propaganda. The imagery of a Jewish octopus engulfing the globe or ensnaring political institutions can be found on other white supremacist and neo-Nazi online forums, as well as on Fox News’ airwaves.

    That Breitbart is attacking Soros with anti-Semitic rhetoric is not surprising -- the white nationalist site was formerly run by Bannon, who has bragged that Breitbart News had become home to the “alt-right” -- which is merely a racist code word for white nationalists. In 2007, Bannon’s ex-wife swore in court that Bannon “said he doesn’t like Jews” and didn’t want his children to go to school with Jews. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart attacked media and political figures using anti-Semitic rhetoric, to the point where a former Breitbart employee accused the website of embracing “a movement shot through with racism and anti-Semitism.”

    Major media outlets are already whitewashing Bannon’s history of white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Given that Trump also has an extensive relationship with the white nationalist movement and Bannon’s extreme influence in Trump’s White House, media efforts to identify and criticize anti-Semitic rhetoric are more critical than ever.

  • Congressman Promotes Breitbart Poll Asking If He Should Be Trump's Secretary Of State

    Media Matters Urges Senate Press Committee To Reject Credentials For Breitbart

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    A Republican member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), is urging his supporters to vote for him in a new Breitbart.com poll asking readers who should be secretary of state. The poll and the congressman’s subsequent email to his supporters are further evidence that Breitbart lacks the editorial independence to receive the permanent Senate press credentials the site is seeking.

    Breitbart.com has reportedly requested “permanent Capitol Hill credentials” from the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery, which regulates congressional press access. According to Rule 4 of the standards for issuing a permanent press pass, “publications must be editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government.” In an open letter to the members of the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery, Media Matters laid out several reasons that Breitbart fails to meet the Senate’s press standards for receiving permanent congressional press credentials, including Breitbart’s strong connection to President-elect Donald Trump, which could potentially allow the site to serve as a state-allied propaganda outlet.

    Now, Breitbart.com is conducting a poll asking readers who they would “prefer” to have “serve as the country’s chief diplomat.” The choices include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former CIA Director David Petraeus, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

    Rohrabacher, apparently believing that his bid for secretary of state will be improved by his position in the Breitbart poll, sent an email to his supporters encouraging them to vote and noting that “it would be a privilege and an honor to serve as [Trump’s] Secretary of State.” Rohrabacher is best known for his service on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and for his various affiliations with the Russian Federation.

    Breitbart.com’s poll -- and Rohrabacher’s reaction to being included in it -- underscore the site’s total absence of editorial independence, bolstering Media Matters’ argument that the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery should not grant permanent credentials to the outlet.

  • Open Letter: Senate Press Gallery Should Reject Breitbart’s Application For Permanent Credentials

    Breitbart Violates Rules On Editorial Independence

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    To the members of the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery:

    Breitbart.com has reportedly come before the Standing Committee of the Senate Press Gallery seeking permanent Capitol Hill credentials. We urge you to reject the request based on Breitbart’s disqualifying inability to demonstrate editorial independence as required by your rules.

    According to Rule 4 of the standards for issuing a permanent congressional press pass, “publications must be editorially independent of any institution, foundation or interest group that lobbies the federal government.” In rejecting the application of the Supreme Court reporting outlet SCOTUSBlog, the committee explained that editorial firewalls are insufficient when personnel are inextricably connected between the federal government and an applying publication.

    Breitbart fails this standard in several ways:

    1. Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon is on leave while working as the top adviser for President-elect Donald Trump, and he has been appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to Trump once he is sworn in as president.

    2. Even if Bannon completely severs his position with Breitbart, his likely financial interest and the possibility that he could return to his position after serving in the Trump administration suggests that Breitbart News cannot be editorially independent.

    3. Numerous media observers and former employees suggest that given Bannon’s position in the Trump administration, Breitbart could serve as a state-allied propaganda outlet.

    4. Rebekah Mercer, daughter of a major Breitbart investor, is reportedly serving on the executive committee of the Trump transition team, and could end up serving in the Trump administration.

    5. Breitbart has already engaged in similar conduct internationally. Notably, Breitbart London editor in chief Raheem Kassam left the website to become chief of staff to UK Independence Party’s Nigel Farage during the 2015 UK General Elections; rejoined the website following the elections and spent the next year using his editorial post to support and advocate for UKIP’s signature policy initiative, Brexit; then briefly ran for UKIP leader.

    It is simply not credible for an outlet to claim the editorial independence required under your rules given that their longtime executive chairman is about to become the closest advisor to the president.

    In addition to these documented, inextricable, and disqualifying links between the outlet and the Trump administration, Breitbart has secretive business ties that it refuses to disclose as a matter of policy, including financial ties to foreign businessmen that are kept equally secret. The Committee should also be wary of granting additional credibility to an extremist website -- Bannon himself called it “the platform of the alt-right,” an ideology that features white nationalism.

    Given these facts, we urge the Standing Committee to reject the Breitbart application.

  • VIDEO: Trump And The Power Of Fear

    Blog ››› ››› CARLOS MAZA, COLEMAN LOWNDES & JOHN KERR

    Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency was defined by fear, paranoia, and a distrust of the government and mainstream media. And it succeeded thanks, at least in part, to right-wing media outlets, which have spent the past few years competing for Republican voters’ attention by terrifying them with increasingly apocalyptic horror stories about the state of the country.

    This brand of right-wing paranoia poses a real threat to American democracy -- radicalizing voters and lawmakers alike. And if journalists can’t figure out how to effectively dispel that paranoia, Americans are going to keep seeing their government hijacked by hucksters who are more interested in profiting from a shtick than they are in actually improving lives.

    Researcher Dina Radtke contributed research to this report.

  • A White Nationalist Who Hates Jews Will Be Trump's Right-Hand Man In The White House

    Stephen Bannon, Head Of White Nationalist “Alt-Right” Website Breitbart News, Becomes Trump’s Senior Counselor

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

    President-elect Donald Trump’s first White House hire tells you everything you need to know about his commitment to his campaign’s bigoted message. Stephen Bannon, an anti-Semite who ran the white nationalist “alt-right” website Breitbart News before taking a leave of absence to become the Trump campaign CEO, will be Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor.

    On November 13, Trump released a statement announcing Bannon’s hiring. The same statement noted that Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus would become Trump’s chief of staff. While White House chief of staff is typically the most senior position in the White House, the press release named Bannon first and described the two as “equal partners” in the Trump administration.

    Bannon has been a key figure in leveraging this bigotry to aid Trump’s rise to power. Bannon bragged during the Republican Convention to nominate Trump that Breitbart News had become home to the “alt-right” -- which is just a racist code word for white nationalists. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News has featured racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and anti-LGBT rhetoric. The site recently made a “noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas -- all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right’” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Before he died, Andrew Breitbart himself reportedly called Bannon “the Leni Riefenstahl of the tea party movement.”

    Bannon’s Breitbart News especially has come under fire for its rampant anti-Semitism. In May, contributor David Horowitz wrote a piece calling The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew.” In September, Breitbart News writer Matthew Tyrmand called Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum a “political revisionist” who was “on the warpath against the rising populist forces doing electoral damage to her establishment friends and allies across the world,” adding, “hell hath no fury like a Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned.” In August, former Breitbart News writer Ben Shapiro accused the website of embracing “a movement shot through with racism and anti-Semitism.” Bannon’s anti-Semitism goes deeper than just Breitbart. As CNN’s Jake Tapper noted on Twitter after today’s announcement, Bannon’s ex-wife swore in court that “he said he doesn’t like Jews” and didn’t want his children to go to school with Jews. Indeed, Esquire politics contributor Charles Pierce even compared Bannon with David Duke

    Republican strategist John Weaver agreed, adding:

    There are also significant issues with how Bannon ran Breitbart News. Breitbart News staffers alleged that Trump -- with the cooperation of Bannon and other top management -- paid the website for favorable news coverage and to turn it into “his own fan website.” Former spokesman Kurt Bardella told Media Matters that Bannon is a ““pathological liar who has a temperament that governs by bullying and intimidation and functions very much like a dictator at Breitbart.”

    Recently, Bannon has characterized the rise of Trump as part of a global nationalist movement, telling the radio show Breitbart News Daily on November 2, that “people want more control of their country. … They want sovereignty. It’s not just a thing that’s happening in any one geographic space.” His website has promoted Trump-style far-right political parties across Europe. In the past week, Bannon has reached out to France’s right-wing Nationalist Front movement, and according to The Daily Beast, he is “right now the direct line between the European far-right and Donald J. Trump.”

    The hires of Bannon and Priebus together signal that Trump’s White House will combine the traditional Republicanism of Priebus with Bannon’s brand of ethno-nationalism. Prominent Republican figures like Speaker Paul Ryan are signaling that they will allow the normalization of such a figure, openly praising Priebus’ hiring while ignoring Bannon rather than speaking out against him. Just today on CNN, Paul Ryan said he had never met Bannon, had no comment on him serving in Trump’s White House, but declared that he “trusted” Trump. Ryan’s agnosticism about Bannon beggars belief: Breitbart News under Bannon had led a multi-year campaign against Ryan, including declaring Ryan a Clinton supporter who shares her “globalist worldview” just weeks ago.

    Less than a week after Trump’s electoral victory, many reporters still seem confused about just what will come from a Trump administration. If they want to know what Trump truly has in mind for the country, they need to look at Bannon and his bigoted website.

  • Breitbart’s Curt Schilling Praises Photo Of Man Advocating For The Lynching Of Journalists

    Curt Schilling: “So Much Awesome Here”

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Breitbart radio host Curt Schilling praised an image of a man wearing a shirt that promoted the lynching of journalists. In a November 7 tweet, Schilling responding to a picture of a man wearing a shirt that said, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some Assembly Required,” tweeting “Ok, so much awesome here”:
    Schilling Deleted Tweet

    While journalists have condemned the shirt’s message, Schilling’s post continues his promotion of inflammatory and offensive rhetoric, including memes comparing Muslims to Nazis, a comparison of the Confederate flag to biblical imagery, and an image suggesting that participants in a march commemorating the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” including civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), were not patriotic.

    UPDATE: Curt Schilling has since deleted the offensive tweet.