Breitbart News Network

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Breitbart New Network is a "far right" organization which operates the news, opinion and commentary website[1] It was founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart, who was referred to as a "right-wing hit-man" conservative columnist.[2] The "beating heart" of Breitbart, Steven Bannon, once called it "the platform of the alt-right."[3][4]

The Mercer Family, Current Breitbart CEO Larry Salov, and Susie Breitbart (the Breitbart founder's widow) own the Breitbart News Network.[5] In 2015, Politico reported that Robert Mercer had been one of the most significant backers of the network.[6] According to Jane Mayer, writing in the New Yorker, "Rebekah Mercer is highly engaged with Breitbart’s content. An insider there said, “She reads every story, and calls when there are grammatical errors or typos.”[7]

A 2016 Forbes article characterized to be "reliably and openly anti-women, anti-semetic(sic), anti-progress, anti-immigrant, and anti-nonwhites."[8]

News and Controversy

Ties to the Trump White House

The Mercer's are "Trump Mega-donors." They are credited as the people who, via the outlet they helped build in Breitbart, "gave [a] voice to the nationalistic fervor Trump embraced."[9][10] Steven Bannon's high level roles in both the White House and the Breitbart Newsroom lead to many questions arising about how separate those two entities are, and if apparent the conflict of interest such brings can be ignored.[11][12]

In March of 2016, then Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, according to a reporter, audio and visual recordings[13] and the local police[14] forcibly grabbed Breitbart reported Michelle Fields. A Breitbart editor's lack of support for Fields, and active measures to "stop defending her," was cited as a reason for many staffers departure from the company.[15]

Steve Bannon's living quarters brought controversy about the independence of Breitbart. While he was running the site, the official address of it was in his basement. The headquarters of Breitbart -- dubbed "Breitbart Embassy" -- remained in the same house in which Bannon lived. It was unclear if he remained in the same household once he took his post in the White House. According to New York Magazine, some people speculated that he only stayed in the house when his schedule mandated it, while others implied he was there more frequently. The arrangement and potential lack of distance between Bannon and Breitbart brought the comparison to state-run media from New York Magazine, which noted "during the campaign and into the current administration, there was little meaningful difference between Breitbart’s coverage of Trump and Trump’s own press releases."[16]

Rejection of Congressional Press Credentials

On the grounds of a failure to show adequate proof that "they aren’t owned or controlled by an organization that lobbies Congress," Breitbart's application for permanent press credentials at the U.S. Congress was rejected. According to the Washington Post [12] One of the cited reasons was a Department of Justice complaint alleging that "the media site was allegedly cutting shady deals with its landlord, a wealthy Egyptian politician" i.e. giving favorable coverage for better prices on rent.[11]

Possible Tax Fraud

Breitbart's former headquarters, dubbed "Breitbart Embassy" was in the basement of Bannon's Washington, DC townhome which is owned by Moustafa El-Gindy, a former Egyptian member of Parliament. The townhouse is in an area of DC zoned for residential use. According to Mark Eckenwiler, a city government official in the realm of zoning, only "a very narrow set of ‘home occupation’ exceptions allowing a resident (as opposed to a rotating group of occasional visitors) to work as an in-home tailor, music tutor, doctor, or the like" Eckenwiler went on to say that the Embassy appears "to violate the D.C. zoning regulations applicable to that location."[17] The Daily Beast called "The Embassy" an "apparent flouting of DC zoning rules."[11][18][19]

In the Summer of 2017, Breitbart said that they would begin moving people out of the "Breitbart Embassy." Reporting since has implied that many of the staffers now telecommute.

"Provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos"

Prior to his departure from the network, according to The Washington Post, Milo Yiannopoulos was Breitbart's "best-known writer." The former senior editor's articles targeted of women, Muslims, African Americans, and members of the LGTBQ community. He was resigned after a video surfaced of him endorsing pedophilia. Yiannopolous was regarded as an influential part of Breitbart's rise.

Role in the 2016 Election

A 2017 study from the Columbia Journalism Review concluded that "Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world." Furthermore, they remarked that the Breitbart media system "not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton."[20]

Initially, Breitbart was deemed by Politico to be the media strategy of Ted Cruz,[21]

Fake News

Breitbart has been accused of inaccurate reporting and complete fabrications of stories on numerous occasions. For example, Buzzfeed News reported in 2017 the headline that "Breitbart Made Up False Story That Immigrant Started Deadly Sonoma Wildfires"[22] Ben Shaprio during his tenure -- in 2013 -- at Breitbart wrote a story about a Democrat having an association with a group called "Friends of Hamas." But according to David Weigel of the Washington Post, "There's no proof that "Friends of Hamas" actually exists." Shapiro later said "the story as reported is correct. Whether the information I was given by the source is correct I am not sure."[23]

According to Politico, Breitbart's "reporting is not always on entirely solid ground." Politico cites an example Breitbart Articles about Obama administration alumni [Ben Rhodes]: "To use Rhodes’s own words...“We believe that the kiss of the nuke deal will turn the Iranian frog into a handsome prince.” A later update states "The source of the quote has since clarified that Rhodes did not use those words."[24] Breitbart has also been known to redact stories where their basis was on a false pretense.[25]


Breitbart News Network is a for-profit company. It is co-owned by Larry Salov, Rebecca Mercer, and Susie Breitbart. It has publically stated that it does not discuss it's investors.[21] But, from reporting it is known that in 2011, the Mercer family gave $10,000,000 to the Breitbart News Network.[26]


Unlike most news outlets, Breitbart shows no masthead on its website. Breitbart Solov said that he would consider adding it in early 2017,[17] but as of July 2018, the list does not appear. Breitbart did, however, release a series of one-minute videos of some of their staffers. Names below are taken from those videos that appear on the website as of July 2018.

  • Aaron Klein
  • Adrienna Ross
  • Amanda House
  • AWR Hawkins
  • Ben Kew
  • Brandon Darby
  • Ildefonso Ortiz
  • Charlie Spiering
  • Chris Burgard
  • Curt Schilling
  • Vince Eagan
  • Edwin Mora
  • Frances Martel
  • James Delingpole
  • Jerome Hudson
  • Joel Pollak
  • John Binder
  • John Carney
  • Kristina Wong
  • Lucas Nolan
  • Michelle Moons
  • Penny Star
  • Sam Chi
  • Sonnie Johnson
  • Thomas Williams
  • Tom Ciccotta
  • Wynton Hall, Managing Editor [18]
  • Peter Schweizer, Senior Editor-at-Large[18]
  • Alex Marlow, Editor-in-Chief[27]

Former Staff:

  • Katie McHugh, Editor[27]
  • Milo Yiannopoulos, senior editor[27]
  • Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large[27]
  • Steve Bannon, Chairman
  • Jordan Schachtel
  • Jarrett Stepman, Associate Editor
  • Andrew Breitbart, Founder
  • Raheem Kassam, Editor
  • Kurt Bardella, Spokesperson


The official address of The Breitbart News Network has been the subject of some controversy. "The Embassy" was the office and former home of Steve Bannon. In early 2017, Breitbart said that it would be moving into a more formal location which would be more accessible than the current address, which, as USA Today reported "appears nowhere on the Breitbart news site. The site also provides no phone number and no way to contact the editors or reporters."[17] In late 2017, it was reported that Breitbart does not have "a physical newsroom in Washington but gather twice a day by phone."[27]



  1. The Associated Press Donald Trumps Cabinet Picks So Far The Associated Press, Nov. 19, 2007
  2. E.J. Dionne Jr. Enough right-wing propaganda Washington Post, July 26, 2010
  3. Sarah Posner How Donald Trump’s New Campaign Chief Created an Online Haven for White Nationalists Mother Jones, Aug 22, 2016
  4. Staff The Rise of the Alt-Right The Week, Oct. 1 2016
  5. Hadas Gold Breitbart reveals owners: CEO Larry Solov, the Mercer family and Susie Breitbart Politico On Media, Feb. 25, 2017
  6. Dylan Byers Hedge-fund magnate backing Cruz is major investor in Breitbart News Network Politico On Media, April 13, 2015
  7. Jane Mayer Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency The New Yorker, March 27 2017
  8. Ellen Kiloran [ Steve Bannon And Breitbart News: Why Everyone But The Alt-Right Fears Trump's Top Adviser Pick] Forbes, Nov. 14, 2016
  9. Matea Gold [ The Mercers and Stephen Bannon: How a populist power base was funded and built Washington Post
  10. Matea Gold and Chris Mooney The Mercers, Trump mega-donors, back group that casts doubt on climate science The Washington Post, March 27, 2017
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 LACHLAN MARKAY, ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, and TIM MAKEx-Writer: Breitbart Broke the Law The Daily Beast, March, 29 2017
  12. 12.0 12.1 Paul Farhi Committee rejects Breitbart application for congressional press credentials The Washington Post, April 25, 2017
  13. Hadas Gold Exclusive: Transcript of female Breitbart reporter allegedly being roughed up by Trump campaign manager Politico, March 10, 2016
  14. Curt Anderson Prosecutor won’t pursue battery charge against Trump aide PBS April 14, 2016
  15. Rosie Gray [Breitbart Editor Ordered Staffers To Stop Defending Michelle Fields] BuzzFeed News, March 12, 2016
  16. Olivia Nuzzi Inside the Breitbart Embassy, Where Steve Bannon Entertains Elites and Plots His Populist Takeover New York Magazine, Nov. 15, 2017
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Paul Singer Steve Bannon's rise forces Breitbart News out of the shadows, and the basement USA Today, March 23, 2017
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Eliza Collins Breitbart staff list reveals additional ties to Bannon and Mercer USA Today, March 27, 2017
  19. Joshua Green This Man Is the Most Dangerous Political Operative in America Bloomberg Oct. 8, 2015
  20. Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, and Ethan Zuckerman Study: Breitbart-led right-wing media ecosystem altered broader media agenda March 3, 2017
  21. 21.0 21.1 HADAS GOLD, KATIE GLUECK and KENNETH P. VOGEL The Daily Cruz Politico, July 7, 2015
  22. Briana Sacks, Tala Ansari Breitbart Made Up False Story That Immigrant Started Deadly Sonoma Wildfires, Sheriff's Office Says Buzzfeed News, Oct 19, 2017
  23. Erik Wemple Chuck Hagel and “Friends of Hamas”: Five questions Feb. 20, 2013
  24. Joel B. Pollak Obama is Iran’s Best Negotiator (Updated) Breitbart, July 1, 2015
  25. Andrew Hart Breitbart Criticizes Wrong Loretta Lynch Huffington Post, Nov 9, 2015
  26. Barney Jopson Rebekah Mercer, the mega-donor who bankrolled Trump’s campaign Financial Times, Jan 12, 2018
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 WIL S. HYLTON Down the Breitbart Hole New York Times Magazine, Aug 16, 2017