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CLR Reading – Week 4 July 15, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

On media David Wendling’s book is particularly interesting. I hadn’t heard of Breitbart’s first video interview at the White House with Sean Spicer. It’s not great. Nor, despite Bannon saying that Breitbart had become ‘the platform for the alt-right’ the fact that subsequently the site ‘would later kick back at descriptions that it was an ‘alt-right’ website, lodging complaints with several major news organisations that used the label when defining the site. But in truth Breitbart had started out, as Wendling notes, as potentially a right wing version of the Huffington Post (God help us all).

Breitbart himself while no shrinking violet, was no alt-righter – condemning birtherism for example. And then… he died in 2012. And enter Bannon as executive chairman. And following that there was a tilt away from the then recognisable shores of Republicanism (US style) to something… different. Obnoxious and coat-trailing, with folk like Milo Y on board. And the point is made for those outside the alt-right media bubble the site might look troll-like but it was consistent… consistently anti-immigration, anti-political correctness (as it defined the term), anti or skeptical of women’s equality, globalism and so on.

Objectivity wasn’t an issue. And by way of example Wendling examines the site’s coverage of the murder of Jo Cox MP by far right supporter Thomas Mair.

Breitbart joined the fray. It ran a live blog in the hours after the murder in an attempt to disassociated the killer… from eh far right – and indeed from politics at all. The site’s attempts to keep Mair at arm’s length from the far-right exceeded even Britain’s most fervent anti-EU tabloids, some of which played down or cautiously reported details pertaining to the killler’s potential motivations.

When the truth came out the site pivoted to… ‘pumping out stories – more than 30 in all in the week after Cox’s murder – several of which accused the pro-EU ‘Remain’ campaign of using the killing for political ends’. Furthermore as Wendling notes ‘given the intense effort devoted covering Cox’s murder it might have been expected that Mair’s sugsqeuqnt trail would be of big interest to the Breitbart audience. And yet the site was largely done with the story. Unlike most of the rest of the British media it gave only cursory coverage of the case… the concluding story (of two it did on that issue) made no mention of Mair’s Britain first’ shout’.

There’s more on Milo Y and his centrality to Breitbart and to the links between it and the alt-right more generally. Though surely his is a cautionary tale – with a fascinating rise and fall (perhaps tellingly Wendling quotes friends of his saying in the early 2010s he while no less flamboyant and argumentative was not at all marinated in alt-right tropes). And his role in publicising the alt-right is not merely restricted to a piece he wrote on ’An establishment conservatives guide to the alt-right’ written in 2016 which functioned as an entree and apologia for the ‘movement’ neglecting to mention the less savoury aspects. It also sought to put distance between the alt-right and those on the far right who supposedly preceded them. Though not too much of a distance. It was, by any reasonable definition positioning itself within a toxic discourse relating to race and culture.

From there we are on to the Daily Stormer and how it has attempted to fly the flag for anti-semitism. And the book agues that:

The cleavage between the identifiable neo-Nazi’s and the people who are simply obsessed with race and eschew outright whet supremacy is one of the key splits in the alt-right.


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