Breitbart (website)

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The logo of Breitbart.
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Politics, US conservative[disputed ] 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
Alexa rank
Decrease 1,639 (Global December 2014)[2]
Current status Online

Breitbart News Network (known simply as Breitbart News, Breitbart or is a US conservative[disputed ] news and opinion website founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart. In August 2010, Breitbart told the Associated Press (AP), "I'm committed to the destruction of the old media guard". As part of that commitment he founded the site,, "a website dedicated to breaking news, commentary and analysis."[3] Breitbart has exclusively reposted 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 activist conservative websites Big Government, Big Hollywood and Big Journalism. In February 2014, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen K. Bannon, announced the addition of approximately 12 more staff members with the opening of their Texas and London based operations. Bannon said "the offices were the beginning of an expansion that would add a new regional site roughly every 90 days." Other expansion sites include Florida and California in the US, Cairo, Egypt and Jerusalem.[4]


Andrew Breitbart launched 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 The site also had a search engine powered by Lingospot and a finance channel powered by FinancialContent. In 2007, Breitbart launched a video blog,[5][6]

In 2008 Breitbart launched the website "Big Hollywood," a "group blog" driven by some who work within Los Angeles. The site was an outgrowth of Breitbart's Washington Times "Big Hollywood" column, which included issues conservatives faced 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 Barack Obama's domestic policy agenda.[8][9]

Breitbart launched on September 10, 2009.[10] He hired Mike Flynn, a former government affairs specialist at Reason Foundation,[11] as Editor-in-Chief of Big Government.[12] The site premiered with hidden camera video footage taken by Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe at Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now offices in various cities, attracting nationwide attention resulting in the ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy.

In January 2010, Breitbart launched Big Journalism. He told Mediaite:[13] "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." Big Journalism was edited by Michael A. Walsh, a former journalism professor and Time magazine music critic.[13] The site has a fictional contributor named "Retracto, the Correction Alpaca" who posts items requesting corrections from the traditional media.[14] debuted July 4, 2010. The site covers topics such as international issues and foreign policy, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism, Islamic extremism, espionage, border security, and energy issues.

Before his death, Andrew Breitbart had begun a redesign of the website. The redesign was launched shortly after his death in March 2012.

Breitbart Sports launched on January 1, 2013.[15]

Breitbart's London edition was launched on 16 February 2014 headed by executive editor James Delingpole, described as a "high traffic hire" by The Spectator's Steerpike column,[16] and managing editor Raheem Kassam.[17] Other staff include André Walker, as political correspondent, with reporters Nick Hallett and Alex Wickham.[17] 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.[18] Regular contributors include Milo Yiannopoulos,[19] Nigel Farage and Gerald Warner. Previous and occasional columnists have included Mary Ellen Synon,[20] Jonathan Foreman[21] and Katie Hopkins.[22]

Reception and influence[edit]

Andrew Breitbart has been lauded for his role in the "evolution of pioneering websites" including Huffington Post and The Drudge Report, and then 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 magazine 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 websites have been both criticized and praised for their role in various political issues.[23][24]

Andrew Breitbart has been recognized for adopting an inclusive stance with regard to LGBT participation in the conservative movement. He is also credited with helping to derail birther conspiracy theorists.[23]

ACORN undercover videos[edit] 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."[25] 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",[26][25][27] and contributed to the group's demise.[28][29] 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.[30]

Shirley Sherrod[edit]

In July 2010 Breitbart was accused 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. The NAACP later posted the longer 43-minute video of the speech.[31][32][33][34] 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,[32][33] and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized and offered Sherrod a new government position.[35] Breibart 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.[36] In 2011, Sherrod sued Breitbart for defamation.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39] 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 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".[40] said that the story was based on "exclusive" information by "Senate sources". The story was later repeated by other conservative opinion websites such as RedState,[41] National Review,[42] Washington Times,[43] PJ Media[44] and commented on by US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

An investigation by Slate reporter David Weigel failed to confirm the existence of the purported group.[45] On February 19, New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman said that the story had originated from a sarcastic comment he made to a Congressional staffer, "Friends of Hamas" was one of several groups which he 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 did that was purported as anti-Israel: "Hagel was in hot water for alleged hostility to Israel. So, I asked my source, had Hagel given a speech to, say, the 'Junior League of Hezbollah, in France'? And: What about 'Friends of Hamas'?". Friedman followed with an email to the 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’".[46][47] insisted that the report was accurate, and posted articles defending the website. One such article attacked New York Daily News reporter Dan Friedman, referring to him in a headline as 'hack' and falsely-cited "Senate sources" as the source for the February 7 article.[48][49] Other media including Washington Post,[50] New York Magazine[51] and The Daily Beast[52] strongly criticized for its inaccuracy and low journalistic standards.

Nancy Pelosi / Miley Cyrus ad campaign[edit]

In April 2014, created an ad 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 "disgusting" and "foul, offensive and disrespectful to all women." In response, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy requested that his column be removed from the site.[53][54][55][56][57]

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.[58] 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, Tracy Morgan's referring to Palin as "good masturbation material", among others.[58]

Misidentification of Loretta Lynch[edit]

On November 8, 2014, posted an article headlined "Obama's attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch represented Clintons during Whitewater." The article, by Warner Todd Huston, 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 several news outlets, Breitbart did note that the two Lynches were different people, but "buried its correction at the end of the article without bothering to fix the mistake in the story itself." This generated further criticism; The New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal noted, "The appended correction didn’t really do justice to the scope of the misidentification." Other media watchdogs noted "that Breitbart had let the mistaken fact stand in the headline and the article itself", and even published a second story containing the incorrect information on November 9. By November 10, the initial story had been deleted from[59][60][61][62] 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.[63]

California pear flag hoax[edit]

On June 14, 2015, posted an editorial on the flag of California that concluded "According to, the inclusion of a bear in the flag was a mistake; it was supposed to be a pear."[64] In fact, the article referred to was a hoax, written to be "as ridiculous and humorous as possible", with fake facts such as identifying the California rebel leaders as "Captain Jebediah Bartlett and his two lieutenants, Albert Bosc and Emmanuel d'Anjou."[65]


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  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
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  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). " 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. ^ "'The National Endowment for the Art of Persuasion". Big Hollywood. August 25, 2009. 
  9. ^ "'Yosi Sergant Resigns". ABC News. September 24, 2009. 
  10. ^ "New Political Blog 'Big Government' Launches Tomorrow". Retrieved June 14, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Introducing Andrew Breitbart's Big Government, Edited by Mike Flynn", Nick Gillespie,, September 10, 2009
  12. ^ Author page for Mike Flynn Editor-in-Chief of Big Government
  13. ^ a b Exclusive Interview: Andrew Breitbart Announces Launch of New "Big" Sites Colby Hall, Mediaite, December 10, 2009
  14. ^ Author page for "Retracto, the Correction Alpaca" at Big Journalism
  15. ^ "Breitbart Sports Launches New Years Day 2013". Breitbart News Network. Retrieved January 2, 2013. 
  16. ^ Steerpike (13 February 2014). "Delingpole quits Telegraph ahead of UK launch of". The Spectator. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Greenslade, Roy (17 February 2013). "James Delingpole and Raheem Kassam head Breitbart's new London team". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  18. ^ Lee, Tony (16 February 2014). "Breitbart News Launches 'Breitbart London' and 'Breitbart Texas' Verticals". Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  19. ^ Breitbart London (10 June 2015). "Watch: Breitbart's Milo Yinnapoulos vs 'Educator' on Sexism in Science Debate". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  20. ^ M. E. Synon. "Cameron Breaks Pledge, Will Provide Albanians an Open Door to Britain". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  21. ^ Jonathan Foreman. "London's Rottenest Borough, Courtesy of Lutfur Rahman, Idle Police and a Sleepy Electoral Commission". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  22. ^ Katie Hopkins. "Katie Hopkins: On the Joys of Going Silent for a Week". Retrieved 28 July 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Friedersdorf, Conor (March 8, 2012). "Andrew Breitbart's Legacy: Credit and Blame Where It's Due". Atlantic (magazine). Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  24. ^ Gillespie, Nick (March 2, 2012). "How Andrew Breitbart changed the news". CNN. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ An Independent Governance Assessment of ACORN, December 7, 2009
  28. ^ "House Votes to Strip Funding for ACORN". Fox News. September 17, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  29. ^ Lorber, Janie (December 11, 2009). "House Ban on Acorn Grants Is Ruled Unconstitutional". The New York Times. p. A12. Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
  30. ^ The Acorn Sting Revisited by CLARK HOYT, The New York Times, March 20, 2010
  31. ^ Breitbart, Andrew (July 19, 2010). "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism–2010". Big Government. 
  32. ^ a b "Anatomy of a Smear Campaign". CNN. July 22, 2010. 
  33. ^ a b "NAACP 'snookered' over video of former USDA employee". CNN. July 21, 2010. 
  34. ^ Wheaton, Sarah (July 20, 2010). "N.A.A.C.P. Backtracks on Official Accused of Bias". The New York Times. 
  35. ^ Jalonick, Mary Clare; Evans, Ben (July 22, 2010). "Ag secretary offers Sherrod 'unique' position". Associated Press. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Breitbart: I Was Targeting The NAACP. Honest!". TPM. 
  37. ^ 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. 
  38. ^ Muñoz-Temple, Amanda (June 16, 2011). "The Man Behind Weiner's Resignation". National Journal. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  39. ^ Bond, Paul (June 9, 2011). "Anthony Weiner's Genitalia Photo Puts Sirius XM in Sticky Situation (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  40. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 7, 2013), Secret Hagel Donor?: White House Spox Ducks Question on 'Friends of Hamas', 
  41. ^ Lane, Moe (February 7, 2013), told that Chuck Hagel took money from "Friends of Hamas.", RedState 
  42. ^ Stiles, Andrew (February 8, 2013), Levin defends Hagel, calls GOP disclosure request "unprecedented", National Review 
  43. ^ Gaffney, Frank (February 12, 2013), Gaffney: Obama’s ‘friends of Hamas’?, Washington Times 
  44. ^ Preston, Bryan (February 7, 2013), ‘Friends of Hamas,’ Friend of Chuck Hagel?, PJ Media 
  45. ^ Wiegel, David (February 14, 2013), "Friends of Hamas": The Scary-Sounding Pro-Hagel Group That Doesn't Actually Exist, Slate 
  46. ^ Friedman, Dan (February 19, 2013), 'Friends of Hamas': My role in the birth of a rumor, New York Daily News 
  47. ^ Taintor, David (February 20, 2013), NY Daily News Reporter: It Seems I Created ‘Friends Of Hamas’ Hagel Rumor, Talking Points Memo 
  48. ^ Shapiro, Ben (February 20, 2013), NY Daily News Hack Posits He's Source of 'Friends of Hamas,' Lies by Omission, 
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  52. ^ Freedlander, David (February 20, 2013), Chuck Hagel, Friend of Hamas? How the Right-Wing Press Got It Way Wrong, The Daily Beast 
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  57. ^ "Breitbart Twerks Pelosi With Credibility-Destroying Ad". The Daily Beast. 
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  62. ^ No Comment Necessary: The Wrong Loretta Lynch. Rosenthal, Andrew. The New York Times, 10 November 2014
  63. ^ Breitbart gets the wrong Loretta Lynch in Whitewater claim. Sharockman, Aaron. PolitiFact, 10 November 2014
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  65. ^ Greenberg, Jon. "No, a pear was not the original symbol of California". Politifact. Retrieved 21 June 2015. 

External links[edit]