Alarm bells from critics on the right and left have been deafening since Trump appointed Stephen Bannon chief strategist of his administration. The racist Bannon, who became the CEO of Trump’s campaign in August, oversaw Breitbart.com for four years. Now, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the alt-right site that caters to racist, misogynistic, hateful rhetoric plans to use this relationship with the White House to expand its mission globally.
Before he passed on in 2012, founder Andrew Breitbart declared war on the “Democratic-Media Complex” and in honor of the fight the writers at the magazine have dubbed the space where they gather to fabricate alt-right messages their #WarRoom. These writers (the term is used loosely here) are determined to spread their hate at all costs, proudly asserting that even “unprompted attacks on their character” by family, friends and random strangers alike won’t sway them off course.
The CEO of Breitbart News, Larry Solov, complains:
“It’s a complete smear campaign from the mainstream media to undermine our influence and undermine the power Bannon has now. It didn’t work against Trump, and it won’t work against us. This is a political war, and it can get ugly.”
And Solov refuses to stand-down, threatening to file a lawsuit against a major media company for accusing the site is “promoting white nationalism.”
Managing editor Alex Marlow, who adamantly denies the site is racist despite posting articles with headlines like “Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage,” blows off the criticism:
“This is all the left has – they call us names. They do this every election. The vitriol against George W. Bush was nearly as bad. It’s always, ‘You’re a racist, sexist, bigot.’ That’s easier than debating ideas.”
Being pro-Trump and helping spread his rhetoric has been lucrative for the site so far, having experienced an explosion of traffic from approximately eight million users in October, 2014, to more than 19 million last month (according to the ranking service comScore) and Solov plans to use this explosion in popularity as a spring board to a grander reach Breitbart’s reach and take advantage of a surge in popularity.
The strategy to expand their influence is aggressive. They plan on increasing the size of their offices in Jerusalem, Texas, London and Washington as well as adding outlets in Germany and France within a few months. Breibart staff is expected to grow to 115 worldwide. Also in the works, according to an insider, is an expansion of the Breitbart Daily show on Sirius XM into an entire channel.
Of course, a full scale assault wouldn’t be complete just with the printed word, so Solov plans to “take the next step into video and television” either through a channel streamed online or even through traditional cable.
When former national security correspondent Jordan Schachtel left the news outlet under Bannon, he declared the site had become “an unaffiliated media Super PAC for the Trump campaign.” Helping elect Trump is one thing, but they have also planted a voice, Bannon, their former executive chairman, into one of the most powerful positions in the White House, creating a two-way channel for the hate to continue flowing.
Solov admits Trump coverage will stay positive through all network channels as long as the President-elect tows the line, remaining true to the values of those who got him into power. Marlow says ‘Cracking down on illegal immigration and striking fair-trade deals’ are the promises that Breitbart’s readers care about most. If Trump can at least find a way to tackle these, with the help of Bannon, he can count on the network to protect him when he is sure to screw up in other areas his voters will get angry about.
John Pitney, a professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College, sums up Briebart’s relationship with Trump best:
“Breitbart is to the Trump campaign as Area 51 is to the Air Force – a mysterious site for weapons testing. In his policies, Trump may have to bow to the realities of politics and arithmetic. If so, he will need a voice on the right to defend his reversals and compromises. Breitbart could play that role.”
To get an idea of what the Briebart camp has in mind for America and the world, check out some of the most provocative stories they have covered here.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/ Getty Images