Breibart News Network is a conservative-leaning news website that knows how to swtir things up.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has hired a top executive from Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, as his campaign’s chief executive, raising expectations that Trump will adopt the more aggressive style that the site has championed.
Q: What is Breitbart?
A: The Breitbart News Network, usually just called Breitbart, is a conservative-leaning news website. It was founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart, a former liberal from Los Angeles who became a conservative standard-bearer until his death from heart failure at 43 in 2012.
The network features a variety of original reporting and commentary. Three of its most prominent sites include: Big Government, Big Journalism and Big Hollywood.
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Q: Who was Andrew Breitbart?
A:As a blogger in the early 2000s, Breitbart was taken under the wing of Matt Drudge, editor of the Drudge Report, before setting out on his own.
In a column after Breitbart’s death, “The Provocateur,” David Carr of The New York Times wrote that he “understood in a fundamental way how discourse could be profoundly shaped by the pixels generated far outside the mainstream media he held in such low regard.”
Ben Shapiro, a conservative commentator who was 17 when he met Breitbart and who became the editor-at-large of Breitbart.com in 2012 about three weeks before Breitbart died, said in an interview Wednesday that Breitbart was not ideologically driven. “Andrew’s whole animating focus was: ‘I don’t like bullies in the political sphere and I’ll fight the bullies,’ ” said Shapiro, who has left Brietbart.
Q: Who is Stephen Bannon?
A: Bannon, a Navy veteran who has a background in finance and used to work at Goldman Sachs, was an adviser to Sarah Palin and has been a longtime adviser to Trump. He became the executive chairman of Breitbart in 2012, after Breitbart’s death, and helped adapt the anti-Clinton book, “Clinton Cash” into a film.
Not all Breitbart’s friends are happy with the direction in which Bannon took the site. “As I said when I left Breitbart,” Shapiro said, “I am absolutely appalled by what Breitbart’s become. I think Bannon has perverted Breitbart’s legacy.”
Q: What are the site’s claims to fame?
A: Under the supervision of its founder, Breitbart gained prominence by breaking news about a series of scandals involving liberal politicians, bureaucrats and organizations, and by relentlessly pushing those stories. Is the site divisive? As a Breitbart favorite, Sarah Palin, might put it: You betcha!
The website is loathed by many liberals, moderates and establishment Republicans who say it stokes a partisan atmosphere and misleads readers to escalate what they see as non-issues. But it has been beloved by many on the right as an answer to mainstream media organizations that are viewed as liberal in outlook.
• ACORN: In 2009, on his site Big Government, Breitbart released videos of workers for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (better known as ACORN) that appeared to show employees of the community organization advising clients on criminal activities. The videos, filmed by conservative activists, led contributions to ACORN to plummet, and the organization announced in 2010 it was closing all its offices.
• Misleading video of Shirley Sherrod: In 2010, Breitbart published a video of a U.S. Agriculture Department official, Shirley Sherrod, in which she seemed to make prejudiced remarks about a white man. The video was edited in a misleading manner to disguise the message of Sherrod’s speech, which was about her own personal growth. Sherrod was fired after the clip was published but was later offered a new job, which she declined to take.
• The downfall of Anthony Weiner: In 2011, a tipster sent Breitbart the sexually explicit photos and texts the congressman had sent to women online. The story, broken by the website, soon caused Weiner to resign.
• Twitter: A technology editor at Breitbart, Milo Yiannopoulos, is one of the more well-known and provocative employees of the site. Last month, he was banned from Twitter, accused of helping to instigate a campaign of sexist and racist abuse against the actress and comic Leslie Jones.
• Reporter’s assault claim: The site drew widespread attention in March, when Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields accused Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s then-campaign manager, of assaulting her after a news conference. A charge was filed against Lewandowski but dropped. Several Breitbart staff members left, including Shapiro, outraged that Bannon and the site didn’t back Fields.