Breitbart

Breitbart is the extreme right-wing publication funded by Robert Mercer (and until recently, run by Steve Bannon), which was credited by Farage as having ‘helped hugely’ with Brexit.

In 2014 Brexit Bad Boy, Raheem Kassam, was appointed London editor of Breitbart News (Kassam has also previously worked for the Taxpayers’ Alliance, the influential lobbying group run by Vote Leave CEO Matthew Elliott).

When Kassam took over as managing editor of Breitbart UK he was joined by James Delingpole, formerly a journalist for the Daily Telegraph, as Executive Editor. Delingpole is one of the best known ‘climate sceptics’, whose disinformation-packed musings on the subject have been debunked by numerous organisations. He is also a sycophantic admirer of President Donald Trump.

Kassam and Delingpole frame their fight against ‘the establishment’ – which includes mainstream climate science – as one to wrestle control from supra-national organisations and back to the nation-state. Kassam has spoken of the ‘battle against the eco-fascists who try to use environmental issues to strip away the sovereignty of nations and empower transnational institutions and unaccountable bureaucrats’.

The anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate accurately describes Breitbart’s wider political agenda:

‘Its political aims are to undermine and destroy the liberal democratic progressive consensus – understood as left-wing cultural hegemony – and the societal norms which are derived from it. Key here is a rejection of multiculturalism, manifest as opposition to immigration and liberal refugee policies. More generally its content stands in opposition to supposedly left-wing concepts such as feminism, LGBT+ rights and minority rights more generally.’

It goes on:

‘It is important to note that Breitbart’s borderline obsession with Islam and Muslims is not mere prejudice and racism, though it is that, but actually the result of a specific worldview. To understand Breitbart’s political project, it is necessary to explore the striking parallels between Steve Bannon’s worldview and Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” theory.’

Breitbart
A word cloud taken of Breitbart News taken from Hope Not Hate's report.

It was in this context that Breitbart London and the unofficial Leave.EU campaign worked so closely together in the months leading up to the Brexit referendum.

Shortly after the UK voted to leave the EU, Steve Bannon congratulated Nigel Farage, UKIP and the Leave coalition via Breitbart News Daily, calling it a ‘David versus Goliath’ victory. Farage, in turn, thanked Bannon for his support. ‘Can I just say a massive thanks to Breitbart, on both sides of the pond?’ he said. ‘Because you guys have been fair with me and given me a chance to make my arguments. I thank you guys very much indeed for that’.

Breitbart also runs an online radio operation in partnership with US-based SiriusXM. Its content has been described by Media Matters as ‘a bigoted and misogynistic cesspool’.

Other notable staff writers for Breitbart include:

  • Oliver Lane, a former researcher for the military think-tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the longstanding Eurosceptic group Get Britain Out. In 2013 he ran as Conservative Party candidate for Nuneaton and Bedworth County Council. In an Islamophobuic rant on Breitbart Radio, Lane described Muslims as treating women like ‘baby factories’.
  • Donna Edmunds, who has a colourful background in right-wing politics, working as an assistant to then Conservative MEP Roger Helmer in Brussels before her election as a Conservative to Lewes District Council. Edmunds was forced to stand down as Lead Councillor for Communications in 2011, after calling a constituent a ‘village idiot’ and telling him to ‘pay your taxes to die of cancer if that’s what you want’ during an online row about the NHS. She defected to UKIP in 2013 and became MEP candidate for the South East. In 2014 Edmunds was slammed by her own party and forced to apologise after claiming that business owners should be able to refuse services to women and gay people. She later left the party.
  • Jack Montgomery, the former Scottish spokesman for Leave.EU, the unofficial Brexit campaign led by former UKIP donor and Westmonster blog owner Arron Banks. He is described by Banks in his book Bad Boys of Brexit as a ‘Scottish waiter plucked from obscurity to serve as lead writer, content adviser and sometime spokesman for Leave.EU’. In that position he helped concoct stories designed to suggest EU immigrants were responsible for a crime wave in the UK.

Breitbart is also happy to give a platform to a wide variety of far-right extremists, including the likes of Geert Wilders and Katie Hopkins.