Stephen Bannon, the Trump campaign chief executive and the announced“Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President” in the Trump administration, has declared of Breitbart, the website he still heads, “We’re the platform for the alt-right.” What did he mean by that?
Well, the alt-right, by Breitbart‘s own description, is a coalition of advocates of “scientific race differences”; people interested in “the preservation of their own tribe and its culture” who “believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved”; online traffickers in racist and antisemitic stereotypes who “feel a mischievous urge to blaspheme”; and a significant fringe of hardcore, pro-Hitler neo-Nazis.
So how does one go about providing a platform for a movement like that?
One of Breitbart‘s constant themes is black violence and “Anti-White Racism: The Hate That Dares Not Speak Its Name” (4/26/16). There’s sometimes an emphasis on presenting white identity, or even white supremacy, as the victim of violence, as with “Video: Brutal Black-on-White Beating of Man with Confederate Flag Sticker” (4/11/15) or “WATCH: Black Gang Members Attack KKK In South Carolina” (7/18/15).
Another Breitbart obsession is demographics and the fear of whites becoming a minority in the US, as expressed in articles like “Report: Minorities in US Will Outnumber Whites in 30 Years” (3/18/16) and “Census: More Minority Children Than Whites, More Whites Dying Than Being Born” (6/25/16). Sometimes the endangered group is not just whites but explicitly Christian whites, as in “‘New American Century’: White Christians Now Minority” (11/23/15), which begins:
Four centuries after white Christians landed in Jamestown and settled what would later become America, a report reveals that white Christians are now a minority in the nation their forebearers settled.
Breitbart‘s antisemitism is more guarded than its anti-black messages. Sometimes Jews are at least rhetorically included in the in-group championed against the non-white, often Muslim “other,” as in, “Row Erupts in France as Former Minister Says France Is a White Race Country” (9/28/15):
A French center-right politician has come under fire for arguing that France is a “white race” country and that immigrants, particularly Muslims, are only welcome if they are willing to adapt. Nadine Morano, a former minister under Nicolas Sarkozy, also defended the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
But other times the “Judeo” is pointedly left out, as when columnist Joel Pollak (2/6/15) insisted, “We should not shy away from proclaiming the values and institutions of the Christian world, writ large, to be the best,” or when Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.–Calif.), explaining his Stop the Christian Genocide Act to Bannon (2/6/15), asserted that “we have a president of the United States who is unable to protect Christians.”
Breitbart highlighted a conspiratorial warning issued by a British white nationalist in “Watch: ‘Fifth Column Out to Destroy Our Whole Civilization,’ Says Farage” (1/8/15):
Nigel Farage has warned viewers of Fox News that Western societies are threatened by a “fifth column living within our own countries” that is “out to destroy our whole civilization and our way of life.”…
We’ve got to start being a bit more assertive about who we are and what our values are…. We come from countries with Christian culture and Christian constitutions and we’ve got to start standing up for that.
Who is this mysterious “fifth column” that is preventing us from being more assertive about our “Christian culture”? “Why Western Civilization Has Lost Its Self-Confidence” (12/15/16) spelled it out a bit more. Citing the book The Suicide of the West, by Richard Koch and Chris Smith, which lists Christianity first among the “six principal ideas which underpinned Western confidence,” Breitbart‘s Michael Patrick Leahy writes that
the attacks on the principal ideas that brought the West to dominance come primarily from within—from individuals who have benefited financially from the very culture upon which their wealth was created. (Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook and other Silicon Valley technology oligarchs, as well as atheist progressive George Soros, immediately come to mind as examples of this group.)
Interesting that those are the examples that come immediately to his mind. Often referred to on Breitbart, oddly enough, as “atheist Soros”—even in headlines, like “Atheist Soros: Trump and Cruz Abet ‘Jihadi Terrorism’ by Stoking Our ‘Fear of Death’” (12/29/15)—Soros is also a Jewish Holocaust survivor. As a funder of progressive causes (not including FAIR), he’s one of Breitbart‘s bete noires—accused, for example, of being behind the European refugee crisis (11/2/15), thus neatly connecting Islamophobia to the antisemitism that it so closely resembles.
And Facebook‘s Zuckerberg, another billionaire with a Jewish background, is also a Breitbart fixation, as featured in stories like “Carlson: Glenn Beck ‘Acted Like He Was Auditioning to Be Mark Zuckerberg’s Manservant’” (5/20/16). Or as another story (5/18/16) on the same meeting Zuckerberg had with conservative media figures put it, using a favorite alt-right insult: “Cucked by Zuck: Establishment Conservatives Rock Up for Pointless Meeting With Facebook.”
Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org. Follow him on Twitter: @JNaureckas.