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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 23 June 2017 > ATTACK OF THE KILLER


Breitbart News helped elect Donald Trump. Can it survive his presidency?

Earlier this year, reporter Lee Stranahan was in the White House press room when another journalist asked him which outlet he worked for.

“Breitbart News,” Stranahan answered, recalling the exchange in a recent phone conversation.

The other journalist laughed, thinking this had to be a joke. Breitbart, after all, was largely known, whether justly or not, as a hothouse where the alt-right tended to its most outlandish, paranoid creations: Clinton conspiracy theories, anti-immigrant fearmongering, garden-variety misogyny. One of its story tags was “black crime.” The tag is no longer used, yet it remains attached to a half-dozen stories on the website, the last published just over a year ago.

Tradition rules journalism as much as it rules golf, and tradition dictated that the White House press room was for upstanding men and women who’d gone to Columbia Journalism School, putting in their time at the Palookaville Weekly Citizen before earning a coveted spot in the newsroom of The Washington Post or The New York Times, or some other publication that deserved to be in the White House because its mission was sober reportage, not click-bait about “lesbian bridezillas” or “trannies.” Breitbart had no business being there because it would eagerly publish—has eagerly published, in fact—articles about “lesbian bridezillas” and “trannies.”

And not just a couple of such articles either: Breitbart’s editorial outlook is not imbued with cultural or political conservatism. Breitbart’s guiding principle is that of the tabloid: If it bleeds, it leads. Especially if the bleeding is caused by an illegal immigrant or some “globalist” Democrat crafting the New World Order on her porch in the Hamptons. This was (and largely remains) a lurid vision of America, terrifying yet enchanting, like one of those 1980s crime blockbusters with weird racial politics and lots of explosions, not to mention at least a couple of scantily clad blondes in search of a musclebound savior, preferably one wearing a sweat-stained American flag bandana.

But there Breitbart was, the outsider suddenly in the inner sanctum of American power, the unpopular kid unexpectedly crowned prom king, sought out by all those who’d once mocked him. Its chief executive, unkempt ultra-nationalist Steve Bannon, is now Trump’s chief strategist. He brought Breitbart staffers with him to the White House, including self-styled terrorism expert Sebastian Gorka and establishment tormentor Julia Hahn, in what The Hill called “the Breitbartization of the White House.”

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Hating for the Man - Breitbart News helped elect Donald Trump. Can it survive his presidency? Their Monster in a Glass Box - The 12 American soldiers charged with guarding Saddam Hussein while he was tried for some of his many sins knew he was a brutal mass killer. They didn’t know how much his extraordinary last few months would change them.