We recently marked the fourth anniversary of Andrew Breitbart’s death. But with Marco Rubio’s dismal weekend performance, both leading candidates in the Republican nomination race are paid-up favorites of the website that bears his name.
Breitbart died of a heart attack just after midnight on the morning of March 1st, 2012. A few months before that, however, he had accepted a large cash infusion from hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, who remains a key backer of the site.
Mercer has lavished money on Breitbart News to encourage favorable coverage of his candidate. While he is less well-known than the Koch brothers, Mercer is the single biggest political funder in this cycle — and he is the primary financial and organizing resource for the Ted Cruz campaign.
Not only is Mercer largely responsible for the super PACs supporting Cruz, he also paid for the Cruz campaign’s data operation. As explained in a recent exposé at BreitbartUnmasked.com, Cambridge Analytica is run by ‘information warfare’ contractors with connections to various military adventures.
But Donald Trump also has money, and he also wants to be president. Last August, multiple staffers at Breitbart told McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed that the website’s ownership had agreed to a payola scheme with the reality TV star.
Less than a week after that revelation, Trump unveiled his immigration policy platform as a Breitbart exclusive.
The advent of the ‘Breitbart primary’ is no surprise to anyone paying attention. Boasting 19 million unique visitors each month, the website has become a primary online news source for unapologetic homophobes, Islamophobes, and racists, as a brief examination of comments under appropriate articles will prove.
The writing staff includes such winners as Austin Ruse, President of the anti-LGBT hate group ‘Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute,’ or C-FAM; Milo Yiannopoulos, who specializes in misogyny and apologies for racism; and executive chairman Steven K. Bannon, who directed such unremarkable right wing classics as the Obama hit-piece The Hope and the Change, the incomprehensible Sarah Palin ‘documentary’ Undefeated, and the deranged, conspiracy-addled Occupy Unmasked on behalf of Citizens United.
Yes, I said Citizens United, the organization that is synonymous with out-of-control political spending. The most powerful person at Breitbart is their willing tool. And it gets worse from there.
Bannon has a longstanding crony relationship to Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash, a hit piece that fueled weeks of speculative reporting on alleged conflicts of interest when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. Bannon had his lawyers vet the book and handled most of the publicity work for it.
Schweizer’s Florida-based ‘Government Accountability Institute’ pays Bannon $100,000 a year to chair the organization, and pays $100,000 a year for ads on Breitbart.
Bannon is also a major figure in Groundswell, a right wing lobbying effort that brought together professional cranks, conservative journalists, and grassroots Tea Party with Ginny Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, at the Washington, DC offices of Judicial Watch in 2013.
Together, they plotted to “destroy the progressive movement” and whipped up the biggest political nontroversies of our time.
Remember the Benghazi Special Committee? That was Groundswell.
Remember the IRS ‘targeting scandal’? That was also Groundswell.
And when Republicans were ready with coordinated talking points right as the Planned Parenthood ‘baby parts for cash’ hoax became headlines, that was Groundswell, too.
During this GOP primary race, Groundswell is currently split between Cruz and Trump. So is Breitbart.com, which stands to win no matter which candidate loses.
EXTRA: listen to Citizens United President and Chairman Dave Bossie talk with Steven K. Bannon about the Trump-Cruz “feud.”