Breitbart (website)

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Breitbart
BB-logo-highres.jpg
The logo of Breitbart.
Web address www.breitbart.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Politics, conservative news and opinion
Registration Optional, but is required to comment
Available in English
Created by Andrew Breitbart
Editor Alexander Marlow[1]
Launched 2007; 8 years ago (2007) as Breitbart.tv
Alexa rank
Increase 1,236 (Global August 2015)[2]
Current status Online

Breitbart News Network (known simply as Breitbart News, Breitbart or Breitbart.com) is a conservative news and opinion website founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart. It is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with additional offices in Texas in the United States and London in the United Kingdom.

In August 2010, Breitbart told the Associated Press that he was "committed to the destruction of the old media guard." As part of that commitment, he founded Breitbart.com, a website designed to become "the Huffington Post of the right."[3] Breitbart has exclusively re-posted the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, the resignation of Shirley Sherrod, and the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy. Following Breitbart's death in 2012, the site was redesigned.

The news network includes the sites Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood, National Security, Breitbart TV, and Breitbart Sports. In February 2014, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, announced the addition of approximately 12 staff members and the opening of Texas and London-based operations. The new offices were the beginning of an expansion plan that included the addition of a new regional site roughly every 90 days, with new locations to include Florida, California, Cairo, Egypt and Jerusalem.[4]

History[edit]

Andrew Breitbart launched breitbart.tv as a news website in 2007. The website featured wire stories from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Fox News, PR Newswire, and U.S. Newswire, as well as direct links to a number of major international newspapers. The website's initial growth was largely fueled by links from the Drudge Report. Its Blog & "Network" links tended to run to the right within the U.S. political spectrum (e.g., National Review and Townhall.com).[citation needed] The site also had a search engine powered by Lingospot and a finance channel powered by FinancialContent. In 2007, Breitbart launched a video blog, Breitbart.tv.[5][6] Before his death, Andrew Breitbart had begun a redesign of the Breitbart website. The redesign was launched shortly after his death in March 2012.

Big Hollywood[edit]

In 2008, Breitbart launched the website "Big Hollywood," a group blog contributed to by some individuals working within Hollywood. The site was an outgrowth of Breitbart's "Big Hollywood" column in The Washington Times, which included issues faced by conservatives working in Hollywood.[7] In 2009, the site used audio from a secretly recorded conference call to accuse the National Endowment of the Arts of encouraging artists to create work in support of President Barack Obama's domestic policy.[8]

Big Government[edit]

Breitbart launched BigGovernment.com on September 10, 2009, with a $25,000 loan from his father.[9][10] He hired Mike Flynn, a former government affairs specialist at the Reason Foundation, as Editor-in-Chief of Big Government.[11] The site premiered with hidden camera video footage taken by Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe at Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) offices in various cities, attracting nationwide attention resulting in the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy.

Big Journalism[edit]

In January 2010, Breitbart launched Big Journalism. Upon the launch of Big Journalism, he told Mediaite: "Our goal at Big Journalism is to hold the mainstream media's feet to the fire. There are a lot of stories that they simply don't cover, either because it doesn't fit their world view, or because they're literally innocent of any knowledge that the story even exists, or because they are a dying organization, short-staffed, and thus can't cover stuff like they did before."[9] Big Journalism was edited by Michael A. Walsh, a former journalism professor and Time magazine music critic.[9]

National Security[edit]

BigPeace.com, which later became the National Security component of Breitbart.com, debuted on July 4, 2010. National Security covers foreign policy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, Islamic extremism, espionage, border security, and energy issues.[12]

Breitbart London[edit]

Breitbart's London edition was launched in February 2014. It is headed by executive editor James Delingpole, described as a "high traffic hire" by The Spectator's Steerpike column,[13] and managing editor Raheem Kassam.[14] Other staff include André Walker, as political correspondent, with reporters Nick Hallett and Alex Wickham.[14] Breitbart London announced that it would have a staff of 10 along with hundreds of contributors covering Israel and the Middle East from the London office.[15] Regular contributors include Milo Yiannopoulos,[16] Nigel Farage and Gerald Warner. Previous and occasional columnists have included Mary Ellen Synon,[17] Jonathan Foreman[18] and Katie Hopkins.[19]

Reception and influence[edit]

Andrew Breitbart has been lauded for his role in the "evolution of pioneering websites" including The Huffington Post and The Drudge Report, and more recently his "Big" sites. Journalists such as Nick Gillespie and Conor Friedersdorf have credited Breitbart with bringing new voices to debates about politics and culture. Breitbart told Reason in 2004 that after feeling ignored by existing outlets, "We decided to go out and create our media." Described as "a series of do-it-yourself demonstration projects" and "conversation pits", the Breitbart.com websites have been both criticized and praised for their role in various political issues.[20][21]

Andrew Breitbart has been recognized for adopting an inclusive stance with regard to LGBT participation in the conservative movement. He has also been credited with helping to derail birther conspiracy theorists.[20]

ACORN undercover videos[edit]

Breitbart.com played a central role in the 2009 ACORN video controversy, which resulted in the reorganization of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), as well as its loss of private and government funding. Breitbart contributor Hannah Giles posed as a prostitute fleeing an abusive pimp and seeking tax and legal advice while James O'Keefe, another contributor, posed as her boyfriend. They clandestinely videotaped meetings with ACORN staff who "gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income."[22]

Subsequent criminal investigations by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office and the California Attorney General found the videos were heavily edited in an attempt to make ACORN's responses "appear more sinister",[22][23][24] and contributed to the group's demise.[25][26] Clark Hoyt, the The New York Times public editor, wrote, "The videos were heavily edited. The sequence of some conversations was changed. Some workers seemed concerned for Giles, one advising her to get legal help. In two cities, Acorn workers called the police. But the most damning words match the transcripts and the audio, and do not seem out of context", but notes a former Massachusetts Attorney General hired to investigate the matter found no pattern of illegal conduct by the ACORN employees and said the news media should have been far more skeptical, demanding the raw video from which the edited versions were produced.[27]

Shirley Sherrod[edit]

In July 2010 Breitbart was accused[by whom?] of smearing USDA official Shirley Sherrod with a viral video titled "Proof NAACP Awards Racism". The video showed Sherrod speaking at a NAACP fundraising dinner in March 2010 admitting to a racial reluctance to help a white farmer get government aid. As a result of the video, the NAACP initially condemned Sherrod's remarks, and U.S. government officials called on Sherrod to resign, which she did.

The NAACP later posted the longer 43-minute video of the speech.[28][29] In it, Sherrod said her reluctance to help a white man was wrong, and she had ended up assisting him. The NAACP then reversed their rebuke of Sherrod,[28] and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized and offered Sherrod a new government position.[30] Breitbart said that the point of the piece was not to target Sherrod, but said the NAACP audience's reception of some parts of the speech demonstrated the same racism the NAACP's President had accused the Tea Party movement of harboring.[31] In 2011, Sherrod sued Andrew Breitbart and his business partner Larry O'Connor for defamation.[32] In July 2015, it was reported that Sherrod and Andrew Breitbart's estate had reached a tentative settlement.[33]

Anthony Weiner[edit]

On May 28, 2011, Breitbart's BigJournalism website reported on a sexually explicit photo linked on New York Representative Anthony Weiner's Twitter feed.[34] Weiner initially denied that he had sent a 21-year-old female college student the link to the photograph, but after questions developed, he admitted to inappropriate online relationships. On June 6, 2011, Breitbart reported other photos Weiner had sent, including one that was sexually explicit. On June 8, 2011, the sexually graphic photo was leaked after Breitbart participated in a radio interview with hosts Opie and Anthony. Breitbart stated that the photo was published without his permission.[35] Weiner subsequently resigned from his congressional seat on June 21, 2011.

"Friends of Hamas" story[edit]

On February 7, 2013, Ben Shapiro published an article on Breitbart.com reporting allegations that former Senator and nominee for United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) may have been paid to speak at an event sponsored by a group called "Friends of Hamas".[36] Breitbart.com said that the story was based on exclusive information from U.S. Senate sources. The story was later repeated by RedState,[37] National Review,[38] Washington Times,[39] PJ Media[40] and commented on by US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.[citation needed]

An investigation by Slate reporter David Weigel failed to confirm the existence of the purported group.[41] On February 19, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman said that the story had originated from a sarcastic comment he had made to a congressional staffer. "Friends of Hamas" was one of several groups which Friedman considered to be so over-the-top as to be implausible and obviously fictitious. He said he made the sarcastic comment in an effort to find out what Hagel had done was considered to be anti-Israel. Friedman followed with an email to the congressional staffer asking if Hagel had received a $25,000 fee from Friends of Hamas for his speaking engagement. No reply to the email was received, and the next day, Breitbart ran a story with the headline "Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Spox Ducks Question on 'Friends of Hamas'".[42][43]

Breitbart.com maintained that the report was accurate, posting articles defending the website and criticizing Weigel and Friedman.[44][45] Writers for The Washington Post,[46] New York Magazine[47] and The Daily Beast[48] criticized Breitbart.com for the Friends of Hamas story.

Nancy Pelosi/Miley Cyrus ad campaign[edit]

In April 2014, Breitbart.com created an advertising campaign to launch Breitbart California which included posters bearing an image of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi's head superimposed onto singer Miley Cyrus's body who was seen twerking on California governor Jerry Brown, spoofing the 2013 VMAs. DNC Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz denounced the images as disrespectful to women. In response, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy requested that his column be removed from the site.[49][50][51][52][53][54]

Breitbart explained the inspiration for the ad campaign: a 2013 Saturday Night Live skit in which Cyrus appeared as a highly sexualized version of Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann alongside a feminine, homosexual version of Republican Congressman and Speaker of the House John Boehner.[55] Breitbart criticized female Democrats, Wasserman Schultz and Pelosi in particular, for failing to come to the defense of conservative women like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin for offensive comments from liberals. They mentioned specifically Bill Maher's referring to Palin as a "cunt", Kathy Griffin's joking that Senator John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate in exchange for sexual favors, and Tracy Morgan referring to Palin as "good masturbation material", among others.[55]

Misidentification of Loretta Lynch[edit]

On November 8, 2014, Breitbart.com posted an article by Warner Todd Huston, which erroneously reported that Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general, had been part of Bill Clinton's defense team during the Whitewater scandal. In fact, the two Lynches are different people. After this mistake was pointed out by Talking Points Memo and Media Matters for America, Breitbart noted that the two Lynches were different people by correcting and appending the original article.[56] This generated criticism from The New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, who wrote: "The appended correction didn’t really do justice to the scope of the misidentification."[57] The American Journalism Review noted "that Breitbart had let the mistaken fact stand in the headline and the article itself", and had published a second story containing the incorrect information on November 9. By November 10, the initial story had been deleted from Breitbart.com.[58][56]PolitiFact rated the claim "Pants on Fire" and noted that the false claim had "already spread to other conspiracy, opinion and conservative news websites," as an example of how fast false information can spread on the Internet.[59]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Byers, Dylan (October 17, 2013). "Breitbart News shakes up masthead". Politico. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Breitbart.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  3. ^ Rainey, James (August 1, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart: 10 media moments". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ Kaufman, Leslie (February 16, 2014). "Breitbart News Network Plans Global Expansion". Media. New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ Owen, Rob. The next wave: Ex-WTAE anchor Scott Baker changes channel to run Web news site, Post-Gazette
  6. ^ Friedersdorf, Conor (November 1, 2012). "Breitbart.com Struggles With the Contradictions of Its Namesake". Atlantic (magazine). Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Hollywood Infidel". The New York Observer. March 16, 2007. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008. 
  8. ^ "'Yosi Sergant Resigns". ABC News. September 24, 2009. 
  9. ^ a b c Hall, Colby (December 10, 2009). "Exclusive Interview: Andrew Breitbart Announces Launch of New “Big” Sites". Mediaite. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  10. ^ Davis, Noah (June 27, 2011). "Andrew Breitbart Borrowed $25,000 From His Father To Launch BigGovernment.comI". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "Introducing Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, Edited by Mike Flynn", Nick Gillespie, reason.com, September 10, 2009
  12. ^ Chait, Jonathan (March 16, 2010). "Breitbart And Right Wing Martyrdom". New Republic. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Steerpike (13 February 2014). "Delingpole quits Telegraph ahead of UK launch of Breitbart.com". The Spectator. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Greenslade, Roy (17 February 2013). "James Delingpole and Raheem Kassam head Breitbart's new London team". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  15. ^ Lee, Tony (16 February 2014). "Breitbart News Launches 'Breitbart London' and 'Breitbart Texas' Verticals". Breitbart.com. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  16. ^ Kain, Erik (September 4, 2014). "GamerGate: A Closer Look At The Controversy Sweeping Video Games". Forbes. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  17. ^ M. E. Synon. "Cameron Breaks Pledge, Will Provide Albanians an Open Door to Britain". Breitbart.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  18. ^ Jonathan Foreman. "London's Rottenest Borough, Courtesy of Lutfur Rahman, Idle Police and a Sleepy Electoral Commission". Breitbart.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  19. ^ Katie Hopkins. "Katie Hopkins: On the Joys of Going Silent for a Week". Breitbart.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  20. ^ a b Friedersdorf, Conor (March 8, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart's Legacy: Credit and Blame Where It's Due". Atlantic (magazine). Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  21. ^ Gillespie, Nick (March 2, 2012). "How Andrew Breitbart changed the news". CNN. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "REPORT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON THE ACTIVITIES OF ACORN" (PDF). April 1, 2010. 
  23. ^ Rovzar, Chris (March 2, 2010). "Damaging Brooklyn ACORN Sting Video Ruled 'Heavily Edited,' No Charges to Be Filed". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2010. 
  24. ^ An Independent Governance Assessment of ACORN, December 7, 2009
  25. ^ "House Votes to Strip Funding for ACORN". Fox News. September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  26. ^ Lorber, Janie (December 11, 2009). "House Ban on Acorn Grants Is Ruled Unconstitutional". The New York Times. p. A12. Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  27. ^ The Acorn Sting Revisited by Clark Hoyt, The New York Times, March 20, 2010
  28. ^ a b "NAACP 'snookered' over video of former USDA employee". CNN. July 21, 2010. 
  29. ^ Wheaton, Sarah (July 20, 2010). "N.A.A.C.P. Backtracks on Official Accused of Bias". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ Montopoli, Brian (July 21, 2010). "Vilsack: I Will Have to Live With Shirley Sherrod Mistake". CBS News. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  31. ^ "Breitbart: I Was Targeting The NAACP. Honest!". TPM. 
  32. ^ Zeleny, Jeff; Sarah Wheaton (February 13, 2011). "At Gathering, Ron Paul Is No. 1 for 2012". The New York Times. pp. A21. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  33. ^ Gerstein, Josh (July 1, 2015). "Breitbart, Sherrod near libel settlement". Politico. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  34. ^ Muñoz-Temple, Amanda (June 16, 2011). "The Man Behind Weiner's Resignation". National Journal. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  35. ^ Bond, Paul (June 9, 2011). "Anthony Weiner's Genitalia Photo Puts Sirius XM in Sticky Situation (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  36. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 7, 2013), Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Spox Ducks Question on 'Friends of Hamas', Breitbart.com 
  37. ^ Lane, Moe (February 7, 2013), Breitbart.com told that Chuck Hagel took money from "Friends of Hamas.", RedState 
  38. ^ Stiles, Andrew (February 8, 2013), Levin defends Hagel, calls GOP disclosure request "unprecedented", National Review 
  39. ^ Gaffney, Frank (February 12, 2013), Gaffney: Obama’s ‘friends of Hamas’?, Washington Times 
  40. ^ Preston, Bryan (February 7, 2013), ‘Friends of Hamas,’ Friend of Chuck Hagel?, PJ Media 
  41. ^ Weigel, David (February 14, 2013), "Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist, Slate 
  42. ^ Friedman, Dan (February 19, 2013), 'Friends of Hamas': My role in the birth of a rumor, New York Daily News 
  43. ^ Taintor, David (February 20, 2013), NY Daily News Reporter: It Seems I Created ‘Friends Of Hamas’ Hagel Rumor, Talking Points Memo 
  44. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 20, 2013), NY Daily News Hack Posits He's Source of 'Friends of Hamas,' Lies by Omission, Breitbart.com 
  45. ^ Weigel, David (February 23, 2013). "Media Ethics 101 from Breitbart.com". Slate (magazine). Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  46. ^ Wemple, Erik (February 20, 2013), Chuck Hagel and "Friends of Hamas": Five questions, Washington Post 
  47. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (February 20, 2013), How the Made-up ‘Friends of Hamas’ Became a Right-Wing Boogeyman, New York Magazine 
  48. ^ Freedlander, David (February 20, 2013), Chuck Hagel, Friend of Hamas? How the Right-Wing Press Got It Way Wrong, The Daily Beast 
  49. ^ Jessica Chasmar. "House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy pulls Breitbart column over twerking Nancy Pelosi pic". 
  50. ^ Tal Kopan. "Democrats blast Breitbart Nancy Pelosi posters". POLITICO. 
  51. ^ "Democrats slam ‘offensive’ Pelosi image on Breitbart site — OnPolitics". OnPolitics. 
  52. ^ ABC News. "Nancy Pelosi Says Breitbart-Altered Pic of Her Twerking Is ‘Tasteless’". ABC News Blogs. 
  53. ^ "Democrats: Breitbart Ad Depicting Nancy Pelosi As Miley Cyrus Is 'Disgusting' (PHOTO)". TPM. 
  54. ^ "Breitbart Twerks Pelosi With Credibility-Destroying Ad". The Daily Beast. 
  55. ^ a b "Pelosi, Wasserman Schultz Condemn ‘Tasteless and Undignified’ Breitbart California Viral Art". Breitbart News. 
  56. ^ a b Breitbart News attacked the wrong Loretta Lynch . McDonald, Soraya Nadia. The Washington Post, 10 November 2014
  57. ^ No Comment Necessary: The Wrong Loretta Lynch. Rosenthal, Andrew. The New York Times, 10 November 2014
  58. ^ "2 Amusing Corrections and a Confession on Common Mistakes — American Journalism Review". American Journalism Review. 
  59. ^ Breitbart gets the wrong Loretta Lynch in Whitewater claim. Sharockman, Aaron. PolitiFact, 10 November 2014

External links[edit]