Not even Pope Francis has been spared from the racist scrawlings of Breitbart, the conservative media outlet that now appears to be working hand-in-hand with Donald Trump for President.
Following yet another shake-up in the troubled campaign, “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,” reports the WSJ.
The site has provided Trump with glowing coverage since before his campaign launch, even choosing to throw their own reporter, Michelle Fields, under the bus when she alleged that former Trump campaign Corey Lewandowski assaulted her at a Trump event in Florida.
“Editor Joel Pollak wrote a painstaking shot-by-shot breakdown of surveillance footage that he said exonerated Trump’s top aide. Writer Patrick Howley was briefly suspended for borrowing a line of attack from Lewandowski to smear Fields as an attention seeker, then went on to write a mocking post about Fields’ personal life.”
Now that same ruthlessness appears to be heading to the Trump campaign. “CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that the move signals ‘nothing is off limits now,’ and ‘we’re going to see the most fringy ideas, the most right-wing ideas bubble up to the surface,’” notes Media Matters on the Breitbarting of the Trump campaign.
Since its founding in 2007, Breitbart News Network has grown to become one of the most popular news outlets on the right.
Over the past year however, the outlet has undergone 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.”
The Alt-Right is a loose set of far-right ideologies at the core of which is a belief that “white identity” is under attack through policies prioritizing multiculturalism, political correctness and social justice and must be preserved, usually through white-identified online communities and physical ethno-states.
Breitbart recently published a lengthy defense of the Alt-Right, claiming the white nationalists such as Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor who created the ideology “have been accused of racism,” choosing to ignore the well-documented openly-racist views.
But Breitbart’s open defense of the Alt-Right didn’t appear out of thin air.
Over the past year the media outlet has been openly promoting the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership – much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people.
Breitbart has always given a platform to parts of the radical right, most notably elements of the organized anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movements. Breitbart has also organized conferences featuring nativist speakers and published op-eds and interviews with movement leaders. But since 2015, Breitbart began publishing more overtly racist diatribes about Muslims and immigrants.
Breitbart’s unabashed support for Donald Trump, a candidate whose campaign has helped to mobilize and mainstream racist activists online, has had internal ramifications at Breitbart. In March, a number of journalists and editor, Ben Shaprio, quit after one of its reporters, Michelle Fields, was assaulted by Trump campaign manager Cory Lewandowski. The former Breitbart employees were disgusted at the company’s lack of support for their journalist after the incident.
But a number of journalists remain, such as Katie McHugh, who support the core tenets of the racist Alt-Right. McHugh, a journalist with Breitbart since 2014, doesn’t shy away from her racist beliefs. As a 2015 Raw Story piece revealed, McHugh’s Twitter page is full of racist rants such as calling for a ban on Muslim immigration and stating, “Indian tribes never bothered to build any kind of civilization. They killed each other and chased bison. Yawn~” McHugh also follows a number of white nationalists on Twitter including RamZPaul, an Alt-Right YouTube sensation, English anti-Muslim activist Stephen Lennon and Andrew Auernheimer, a swastika-tattooed neo-Nazi hacker.
Former Breitbart journalist Jordan Schachtel put it best in his resignation letter following the Michelle Fields incident in March, “The company no longer resembles the ideals that inspired me to start writing for them three years ago.”
Last year we detailed the collusion between Breitbart, rogue Border Patrol agents, and anti-immigrant groups. In March of 2015, the website reported it was sponsoring a podcast produced by the National Border Patrol Council. Two months later, National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 honored Darby with a dinner and an award for “exposing the realities of law enforcement along America’s southern border.”
And that’s not even including the homophobic and transphobic rants from the website. More from Media Matters:
Breitbart.com regularly publishes articles with anti-LGBT slurs “trannies” and “faggot” in headlines. Breitbart contributor Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) — an organization designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — is largely the face of Breitbart’s anti-LGBT coverage.
Time will only tell how this shake-up will leave the Donald Trump campaign, but what can be reassured now is that there will be no general election pivot and Trump is determined to remain as Trumpian as ever.
“Trump’s stunning decision effectively ended the months-long push by campaign chairman Paul Manafort to moderate Trump’s presentation and pitch for the general election,” noted Robert Costa, Jose A. DelReal and Jenna Johnson in the Washington Post. “And it sent a signal, perhaps more clearly than ever, that the real-estate magnate intends to finish this race on his own terms, with friends who share his instincts at his side.”