Breitbart News is a conservative news and opinion website founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart (1969–2012). He was a conservative commentator and entrepreneur “a former liberal from Los Angeles who became a conservative” wrote Jonah Engel Bromwich of the NY Times. Breitbart News under his leadership generated news coverage that was praised by the right for its populist, anti-establishment voice, on the left, however, he was also accused of being a provocateur and misleading. Andrew Breitbart also co-founded the Huffington Post.
After Andrew Breitbart died in 2012, a former investment banker for Goldman Sachs, Stephen Bannon became the executive chairman of Breitbart. Under Bannon, the website became more nationalist and a vocal outlet of the alt-right movement. According to Sarah Posner from Mother Jones, during her interview with Bannon, he described Breitbart News as “a platform to the alt-right.” Bannon, who was chief executive of the Trump campaign, and then-White House chief strategist for seven months before returning to Breitbart News, had stepped down from his position at Breitbart in 2018.
Larry Solov is the co-founder and CEO of Breitbart News and Alex Marlow serves as editor-in-chief.
In October 2018, Breitbart was banned as a reliable source in Wikipedia. Further, they were added as a reliable news source to Facebook’s new news initiative. This decision was met with harsh criticism by several media outlets, including Media Bias Fact Check.
On 7/27/2020, America’s FrontLine Doctors released a video claiming that Hydroxychloroquine cures Covid-19 and that masks are not necessary. Conservative news outlet Breitbart published a story and their video that went viral, reaching millions. On 7/28/2020, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube removed the video due to the “doctors making false and dubious claims related to the coronavirus.”
Funded by / Ownership
After the death of Andrew Breitbart in 2012, Larry Solov became CEO and president of Breitbart News. In 2017, according to Politico, Larry Solov revealed the owner of Breitbart as “himself, founder Andrew Breitbart’s widow, Susie Breitbart, and the Republican mega-donor family, the Mercers.” Further, Solov also made a statement that he wants “to disclose as little as possible about financial and ownership structure.”
Analysis / Bias
Breitbart consist of various sections called Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood, National Security, Tech, Sports, and Wired.
Breitbart uses sensational emotionally loaded language in their headlines such as “Obama Loses 2 Million+ Followers During Twitter Fake Account Purge.” They utilize sources such as tabloid entertainment magazine Variety, and credible sources such as Bloomberg. as well as factually mixed sources such as the Daily Mail. Under the Big Hollywood section, they publish tabloid stories such as “Fashion Notes: Melania Trump is Posh and Proper for Final Day in England” utilizing fashion sources such as farfetch.com
A 2014 Pew Research Survey found that 7% of Breitbart’s audience is consistently or mostly liberal, 14% Mixed and 79% consistently or mostly conservative. This indicates that Breitbart is heavily preferred by a more conservative audience.
In general, the majority of published stories favor the right and are highly pro-Trump in tone and story selection. Many stories also promote anti-science propaganda as it pertains to Climate Change and Mask Effectiveness.
Failed Fact Checks (Here are just a few of many as an example)
- Breitbart Duped by Fake News (Again) – False
- Following Joe Kennedy’s speech, Breitbart says Fall River, Mass. not built by immigrants – False
- Breitbart gets the wrong Loretta Lynch in Whitewater claim – Pants on Fire
- Did Planned Parenthood ‘Team Up’ With Satanists to Promote Abortion Rights in Missouri? – False
- Trump’s ISIS Conspiracy Theory – False
- Breitbart article baselessly claims a study of past climate invalidates human-caused climate change – False
- In Viral Video, Doctor Falsely Touts Hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 ‘Cure’ – False
- “This virus has a cure. It is called hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zithromax. I know you people want to talk about a mask. Hello? You don’t need (a) mask. There is a cure.” – False
- Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) contracted the Chinese coronavirus following last week’s Rose Garden event — in which President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — despite wearing a mask at the gathering. – False
Overall, we rate Breitbart Questionable based on extreme right-wing bias, the publication of conspiracy theories and propaganda as well as numerous false claims. (M. Huitsing 6/18/2016) Updated (10/06/2020)