Washington Post writer Philip Bump, who is known for picking on conservatives, said on Tuesday that Breitbart News spreads “false” information without providing any proof.
The bump was trying to make a larger point, and the recent attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was only one example (D-CA). He then made a comparison of the Post’s coverage to that of other media, disregarding the Post’s important role in disseminating conspiracy theories such as “Russia collusion.”
The “fragmentation of communications networks,” or the formation of alternative media in a free market, was what Bump suggested as an alternative to an oligopoly dominated by the authorized editorial position of the left-center establishment. As the CEO of Twitter, Elon Musk is in direct rivalry with Post owner Jeff Bezos in the media ownership and private space travel businesses, which Musk has been criticized for.
What you think of Bump’s opinion on conspiracy theories or the Post’s guilt or innocence is irrelevant to the fact that he began his essay with a dose of fake news:
During the 2016 Republican primaries, Donald Trump served as a platform for the more radical wing of the conservative media. Sites like Breitbart, created by Stephen K. Bannon, grabbed up the viewers that Fox News, which was more limited at the time, had to offer. In several interviews and public appearances, Trump often cited Breitbart’s claims. The radical right of the party, including many Breitbart readers, showed overwhelming support for him.
Why? Why did Breitbart become so popular? Because people wanted to hear what he was saying but couldn’t get it anyplace else, not even in political office or on more mainstream sites like Fox. It’s not hard to understand why, given how much of what Breitbart offered was blatantly false, inflated, or dishonest. In addition, the Republican establishment held the view that elected officials shouldn’t merely peddle conspiracy theories or distort the facts when Trump made his declaration in 2015. Since the tea party movement, this perspective has faded, but it hasn’t entirely disappeared.
The Trump administration has shown us how much better off we are without it. Politicians mimicked Breitbart and other far-right outlets like Infowars by appealing to supporters’ anti-institutional and conspiratorial feelings. There has been a gradual but steady spread of this nonsense.
The claims expressed by Bump in the paragraphs above are, for the most part, his opinion, yet, it is hard to contradict some of his observations, such as the fact that Breitbart News has an “anti-institutional” bias. However, Bump does not provide evidence to support his claim that Breitbart News’s material is “fake,” instead using his claim to mirror the biases of his intended audience.
Adam Gabbatt of the UK Guardian, one of the world’s major left-wing media, spent 48 hours during the 2016 presidential campaign reading nothing but Breitbart News.
Then he concluded:
The actual pieces, however, are far more subdued than the roaring in all capital letters that introduces them. They meet the standards for a liberal online news outlet. Learn more about the impact on Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook from Bannon’s employment by the Trump campaign.
According to the headline, “It’s only appropriate that a bully like Trump would choose another bully to run his campaign, Mook said.
In fact, Mook said just that. Honestly, it is the case. The text does not include any personal commentary. It’s possible that it’ll be published in The Guardian. It consists mainly of direct quotes from Mook. In the following story on the same topic, Mook was discussed at greater length, and a remark from Breitbart was added to the article’s conclusion. That’s par for the course with any news organization.
But that still doesn’t imply Breitbart is objective. Its conservative message is delivered in a pretty subtle manner.
Gabbatt claims that the reporting on Breitbart is reliable and that the site’s bias is only apparent in the headlines and the stories it chooses to cover.
Breitbart News’s material was analyzed extensively throughout this time, and researchers reached the same results about the site’s reliability and accuracy. Harvard scholar Yochai Benkler told NPR that the title “Jerry Brown Signs Bill Allowing Illegal Immigrants to Vote” attracted his attention. Benkler worded the headline as though it were intentional deceit, despite the fact that Brown had recently enacted a “motor voter” bill. The original headline said, “Jerry Brown Signs Bill That Could Let Illegal Aliens Vote,” but that was an error that was shortly fixed.
The “motor voter” proposition in California resulted in tens of thousands more people, including noncitizens, registering to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles in anticipation of the 2018 midterm elections. (Later, observers suspected that at least one congressional seat may have swung toward the Democrats due to the “motor voter” legislation, without asserting that illegal voting played a role.)
A further bump, “People will say that I don’t realize my own prejudices or don’t care that, in their view, The Post also promotes false claims since I wrote it. This, however, is not the situation. Like other major newspapers, The Post “takes responsibility for its work and makes every attempt to convey facts in a balanced and factual manner.”
The Post won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the “Russia collusion” controversy, but it has never confessed that its primary article was wrong.
In a November 2016 story, the Post and other media outlets were accused of contributing to Russian propaganda alongside the Drudge Report. An “Editor’s Note” was then published in the publication refuting the statements made in the initial article. In the following year, Bump published another story suggesting connections between the Drudge Report and Russian propaganda, causing Drudge to comment openly for once and refute the concept. To add insult to injury, the Post recently settled a defamation case with a youngster named Nick Sandmann.
The Post consistently publishes “false or overheated or otherwise dishonest” news, providing mainstream media with fodder for disseminating false narratives that have been exploited to undermine faith in democratic elections.