Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s new campaign chief Stephen Bannon is the executive chairman of conservative website Breitbart News, which has been embroiled in a civil war over the publication’s Trump support. Numerous conservative media figures have slammed Bannon -- who is taking a leave of absence to work for Trump -- and Breitbart News for destroying the legacy of the site’s founder Andrew Breitbart, who said in 2011 that Donald Trump is “not a conservative.”
Trump Campaign Hires Breitbart News Executive Stephen Bannon As Its Campaign Chief Executive
The Wall Street Journal: Trump Campaign Hires Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon And GOP Pollster Kellyanne Conway To Manage Campaign. The Wall Street Journal reported that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hired Breitbart executive chairman Stephen Bannon and GOP pollster and political commentator Kellyanne Conway to lead his campaign. The Journal reported that Bannon’s hire is “likely to stir its own controversy” because Bannon leads a “freewheeling populist news site” that caters to Trump supporters. According to the August 17 article, Bannon will take a leave of absence from his Breitbart News position:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is bringing two new managers to the top of his campaign in a bid to recover ground he has lost in recent weeks.
Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, an outspoken Trump supporter and a former Goldman Sachs banker, will assume the new position of campaign chief executive. At the same time, Mr. Trump also is promoting Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP pollster and strategist, to become campaign manager. Ms. Conway has been a campaign adviser for several weeks.
The appointment of Mr. Bannon is likely to stir its own controversy. Breitbart News, which he runs, is a freewheeling populist news site that has served as a kind of platform for Trump supporters. He has, among other things, helped produce a movie about the personal wealth of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump has known Mr. Bannon, a former Naval officer, for years. Mr. Bannon will take a leave of absence from Breitbart. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/17/16]
Breitbart News Founder Andrew Breitbart Previously Said Donald Trump Is Not A Conservative
Breitbart News Founder Andrew Breitbart In 2011: “Of Course” Donald Trump Is “Not A Conservative.” Andrew Breitbart, during a 2011 appearance on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, said “of course [Donald Trump is] not a conservative. He was for Nancy Pelosi before he was against Nancy Pelosi.” From a March 18 Daily Caller report:
Breitbart appeared on the program along with radio talk show host Leslie Marshall and told Williams that Trump was not a conservative after Williams asked him about conservatives’ concern about a then-Trump candidacy in 2012.
“Of course, he’s not a conservative. He was for Nancy Pelosi, before he was against Nancy Pelosi … celebrity is everything in this country if these guys don’t learn how to play the media the way Barack Obama played the media last election cycle and the way that Donald Trump is playing the election cycle — we’re going to probably get a celebrity candidate,” Breitbart warned. [Daily Caller, 3/18/16]
Here Are The Conservative Media Figures Who Slammed Bannon And Breitbart News For Their Trump Shilling, Saying It Betrays Andrew Breitbart’s Memory
Glenn Beck: “Andrew Breitbart Would Be Spinning In His Grave Right Now.” RealClearPolitics reported on February 25 that Glenn Beck lashed out at Bannon because he “might be open to supporting Donald Trump for President.” Beck compared Bannon to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels and said “Andrew Breitbart would be spinning in his grave right now.” From RealClearPolitics:
In particular, Beck sees a vision in which Breitbart executive chairman and host of Breitbart News Daily (which airs right before Glenn Beck on SiriusXM), Stephen K. Bannon might be open to supporting Donald Trump for president. Beck compares Bannon and Breitbart to Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels, and accused them of “taking orders” from Trump in hopes of a cozy relationship.
“You’re not going to be the next Roger Ailes... Nobody is ever going to replace Roger Ailes,” Beck said. “It’s certainly not going to be you...”
“By taking orders from a political candidate and reworking your entire site to promote the lies of a specific candidate without any kind of truth behind these things, and just spinning all of–doing what you’ve done to Breitbart (and anybody who reads Breitbart knows exactly what’s going on). If that is what your idea of being Roger Ailes is, you are so sadly mistaken. That doesn’t make you Roger Ailes. That makes you Goebbels. So, let’s leave it at that.”
GLENN BECK: Bannon – I don’t know his first name – “Bruce” Bannon – I don’t know who the hell he is. But he is a guy who is currently running Breitbart, and if you don’t believe me on these things, ask some people that work at Breitbart. He’s a horrible, despicable human being. Ask Dana Loesch about this Bannon guy. Um, he’s running Breitbart. And Andrew Breitbart would be spinning in his grave right now. [RealClearPolitics, 2/25/16]
Ben Shapiro, Former Breitbart Editor-At-Large: “Steve Bannon Is A Bully, And Has Sold Out Andrew [Breitbart’s] Mission In Order To Back Another Bully.” BuzzFeed News reported on March 14 that former Breitbart News editor-at-large Ben Shapiro said in a statement upon his resignation, “Andrew built his life and his career on one mission: fight the bullies. In my opinion, Steve Bannon is a bully, and has sold out Andrew's mission in order to back another bully, Donald Trump." [BuzzFeed News, 3/14/16]
RedState’s Susan Wright: “Rather Than Be The Home Of Conservative Activism That Andrew Envisioned,” Breitbart News “Has Mutated Into Some Swirling, Viscous Vat Of Mad Trumpism.” RedState’s Susan Wright argued that Breitbart News “no longer resembles Andrew’s vision,” writing in an April 19 post, “Instead, it is as much a propaganda site for Trump as Fox News has become.” Wright noted that, although the site created by Andrew Breitbart was “upholding the mantle of conservatism,” it had “taken a vile twist” and “rather than be the home of conservative activism that Andrew envisioned, it has mutated into some swirling, viscous vat of mad Trumpism.” [RedState, 4/19/16]
Andrew Breitbart’s Legacy “Is On Life Support”: Kurt Bardella, CEO Of Communications Firm That Dropped Breitbart News As A Client. Kurt Bardella, the president and CEO of Endeavor Strategies, a communications firm that dropped Breitbart News as a client, wrote in an opinion piece for CNN, “the legacy that Andrew Breitbart had hoped for is on life support.” From the March 14 CNN opinion article:
There are really two reasons why I felt I could no longer represent Breitbart News to the best of my ability.
First and foremost, I didn't sign up to work for Trump's de facto super PAC. Those close to me know that for weeks, I have been considering ending my relationship with Breitbart because of how uncomfortable its support of Trump's presidential campaign made me.
The second reason was the treatment of its now former reporter Michelle Fields, who resigned after she accused Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of manhandling her after a news conference.
My own observation is the legacy that Andrew Breitbart had hoped for is on life support. Unless a significant change is made in leadership, the Breitbart News that he had started, that Marlow and Solov believe in, will soon be unrecognizable.
Breitbart News has gone all in behind a Trojan horse. A bully whose only ideology is hatred and fear. Who champions a vision for America that is built on conflict and controversy. On divisiveness that leads to violence.
They are on the wrong side of history, and for their sake and their conscience, I hope they realize it before it's too late. [CNN.com, 3/14/16]
National Review’s Jonah Goldberg: Andrew Breitbart “Would Not Be Happy With All That’s Been Done In His Name.”
PolitiChicks On Trump Support: “Bannon And Others Have Turned Andrew Breitbart’s Site Into Everything He Despised.” Conservative blog PolitiChicks criticized Breitbart News’ decision to back Trump instead of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, saying that the site’s “management has gone above and beyond supporting their celebrity over their own journalists, former readers and even Andrew’s legacy” and that “Bannon and others have turned Andrew Breitbart’s site into everything he despised -- and the result is that he has almost destroyed Breitbart’s legacy.” [Politichicks, 3/16/16]
Breitbart News Has Always Been A Disaster
Breitbart News Imploded Over The Site’s Decision To Prioritize Its Support For Donald Trump Over Its Responsibilities To Its Own Reporters. After the conservative website refused to defend former reporter Michelle Fields amid allegations that Trump’s then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski violently grabbed her during a campaign event, several staffers resigned. [Media Matters, 3/14/16]
Purged Breitbart News Employees Invoked Andrew Breitbart’s Legacy As A Key Reason To Flee. As Media Matters reported at the time, the purged Breitbart News employees invoked the journalistic “legacy” of Andrew Breitbart as a key reason to flee the organization. Former Breitbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro wrote in his statement of resignation, “Indeed, Breitbart News, under the chairmanship of Steve Bannon, has put a stake through the heart of Andrew's legacy.” [Media Matters, 3/14/16]
Breitbart News’ Publications Have Always Pushed Ridiculous Smears And Lies. As Media Matters has documented, Andrew Breitbart’s news sites have long been a hotbed of ridiculous smears and lies. Breitbart’s sites, beginning in 2009, published a series of lies that did not withstand the most minimal scrutiny, ranging from baseless accusations that the White House was making a political statement with Mao Zedong ornaments on the Christmas Tree to Jim Hoft’s disgusting anti-gay smears of Ken Jennings, a Department of Education official. From a March 14 Media Matters’ report:
Breitbart's media empire began with his news aggregation site Breitbart.com and his video aggregation site Breitbart.tv. Big Hollywood, his group blog focused on culture, launched in January 2009. But it was Big Government, his political news site, that first made him a national political figure when it debuted in September 2009.
The Big Government site launched with a major exclusive: conservative activist and videographer James O'Keefe's “nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation,” a series of videos documenting supposedly illegal behavior by staffers for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a community-based organization that advocated and provided services for the poor. The story drewfirestorm coverage from the media as new videos trickled out one by one on Breitbart's website, triggering congressional action to ban federal funding for the organization and eventually leading to its collapse.
It was also based on a lie.
A series of investigations by state and local authorities found inappropriate behavior but no criminality on the part of the ACORN staffers. They also found that O'Keefe's videos, prominently trumpeted on Breitbart's website, had been “severely edited” by O'Keefe and a fellow activist, who had taken the statements of the employees out of context in order to “meet their agenda.”
Breitbart's sites spent much of the rest of 2009 publishing similar smears of progressives that did not survive the most minimal scrutiny. Was the White House making a political statement with Mao Zedong ornaments on the Christmas tree? (No.) Community organizers were praying to Barack Obama! (No.) The White House got union members to beat up a Tea Party protester! (Definitely not.) Meanwhile, the crew at Big Hollywood was spending significant time with birther nonsense as well as more pedestrian comparisons of Obama to Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Fidel Castro.
The site's low point may have been Jim Hoft's disgusting anti-gay smears of Ken Jennings, the Department of Education official responsible for preventing bullying in schools. Hoft, the dumbest man on the Internet, wrote a series of posts targeting Jennings for his Gateway Pundit website, repeatedly drawing upon the work of hate group MassResistance. Hoft's attacks on Jennings were routinely cross-posted on Big Government. [Media Matters, 3/14/16]