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Friday, August 18, 2017

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

 

Breitbart.com, the pro-Trump propaganda outlet previously run by White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, is now being deployed against President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top White House staffer Jared Kushner as part of an internal power struggle.

Over the past week — as Kushner and Bannon have reportedly feuded — the website has published articles highlighting Kushner’s meetings with the Russian ambassador, questioning the ethics of his business dealings, criticizing his “thin resume in diplomacy,” and speculating about whether he is leaking negative stories about Bannon.

Those attacks represent a U-turn in the website’s coverage of the president’s family. Following Trump’s election and in the early days of his administration, Breitbart provided Kushner and his wife, Ivanka, with soft-focus celebrity coverage. The website chronicled their search for a home and synagogue in Washington, D.C., and lashed out at their critics.

Kushner’s then-positive relationship with Bannon seems to have been a factor in Breitbart’s coverage — in mid-February, the website aggregated a piece claiming that Kushner has “become a backer of chief strategist Steve Bannon’s nationalist-populist agenda” and that “Kushner has even proposed knocking down the walls between his and Bannon’s office, a sign of how close the two are.”

Jared K. Steven Bannon

But in recent days, the Kushner-Bannon relationship has reportedly soured. The New York Times and Politicoboth published April 5 stories detailing clashes between the two. The stories, which were driven by anonymous sources who seem to be part of Kushner’s camp, portray Kushner as deeply concerned with Bannon’s priorities and the way he “plays to the president’s worst impulses.”

While Kushner seems to be using traditional media outlets to aid an internal fight with Bannon, the White House chief strategist’s defense has come from his former website. Breitbart — which previously targeted White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — has trained its guns on the president’s son-in-law over the past week.

Breitbart’s campaign against Kushner began with a March 28 aggregation of a Times article detailing how a Senate committee plans to question Kushner “concerning meetings he held with Russian officials close to the Kremlin, including an executive with Russia’s state-owned development bank.” The unbylined item stuck out at a website that has portrayed stories of ties between Russia and the White House as a conspiracy pushed by the so-called deep state.

Two days later, Breitbart News Senior Editor-At-Large Peter Schweizer — who also serves as president of a nonprofit that was until recently chaired by Bannon — appeared on Breitbart’s SiriusXM radio show to criticize Kushner’s business dealings. Schweizer raised concerns that Kushner could use his role in the Trump administration to seek “sweetheart deals with foreign government entities,” calling the situation “worrisome.”

Then on April 5 — the same day the Times and Politico published their stories detailing Kushner’s burgeoning feud with Bannon — Breitbart published four different stories attacking Kushner.

One article detailed the “five surprisingly delicate problems” Trump has assigned Kushner — including ending the Israel-Palestine dispute and destroying ISIS — even though Kushner “boasts a thin resume in diplomacy.” The website also aggregated a column from the Times’ Frank Bruni making the same point. A third story highlighted Trump adviser and all-around-terrible-person Roger Stone’s theory that Kushner “is leaking negative stories” about Bannon. And Breitbart aggregated the Politico story on Kushner’s clashes with Bannon.

Tag: Jared K.

Bannon still talks to staffers at Breitbart, though it’s unclear if he asked for the attacks on Kushner or if his former employees knew to turn on his emerging rival without such a request. A “close Bannon ally outside of the White House” told Axios that following the Kushner camp’s attacks on Bannon, “I see some bad press in [Jared’s] future.” Bannon has reportedly told associates, “I love a gunfight.”

Breitbart’s attacks on its former boss’s White House rival come as the website seeks permanent congressional press credentials, a precursor to gaining access to the White House Correspondents’ Association and joining the White House press pool. The credentialing committee has raised concerns about Breitbart’s ties to Bannon and questioned whether the outlet is editorially independent of the White House.

Graphic by Sarah Wasko.

 

13 Responses to To Defend Bannon, Breitbart Has Opened Fire On The President’s Son-In-Law

  1. Aww, what a shame.

    But who expected Breitbart to endorse any sort of positive governing philosophy? We see it with the Freedom Caucus. The Party of No retains the no. Even when it’s their job to get to yes.

  2. Looks like the moderate faction in the GOP is finally confronting the radicals responsible for the constant attacks against social programs, ethnic minority and cultural groups, the environment, gender equality, regulation to prevent Wall Street and corporate abuses, reckless criticisms of the EU and China, and against all the progress made during the last century. From the Freedom Caucus opposition to an ACA replacement, to Bannon’s ouster from the National Security Council, to Ivanka’s hand in moderating her Dad’s obstinacy after Assad’s chemical attack, it is readily apparent that the GOP is in engaged in an ideological civil war, that the far right is losing ground, and that a purge akin to the Inquisition’s purity of blood disaster is about to begin. It couldn’t have happened to a worst bunch of arrogant ideologues.

  3. This is like a circular firing squad, only in more dimensions. A spherical firing squad, maybe.

    I love it.

    • And given that they epitomize “the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight”, they will inflict more casualties on themselves than their targets.

  4. I love it when they attack and eat their own. Keep making those attacks on Teflon Donnie’s family and Breitbart could soon find itself losing its press credentials in the White House.

  5. Bannon’s lifelong anti-Semitism has been only thinly disguised since his appointment as Trump’s chief adviser. I’m surprised it took so long for him to show his true colors finally and attack Kushner in a full-throated way, via his surrogate mouthpiece, Breitbart.

    The idea of appointing a newbie like Kushner to bring peace to the Middle East may have come from Bannon, who has nothing good to offer Israel anyway. Bannon would have no scruples when it comes to setting Kushner up for ultimate failure in achieving this impossible goal, while at the same time opening Kushner up to immediate, legitimate scrutiny as a nepotistic appointment by Trump and a person without any relecvant credentials beyond his religious affiliation.

    If Kushner can somehow get Trump to see the error in his ways in placing confidence in Bannon, he will, perhaps unwittingly, have contributed to a better outcome for U.S. relations in the Middle East and to Trump showing Bannon to the door. This cannot happen too soon.

  6. A mean drunk getting it on with an entitled twerp. This will be fun to watch if the damage can be contained to the two of them, and the right wing babble-sphere.

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