On paper, Breitbart News should be sitting pretty. After all, the rabidly alt-right fake news machine played a key role in propelling Donald Trump to the Republican nomination. Indeed, it was so fanatically loyal to Trump that critics on both sides of the aisle nicknamed it “Trumpbart.” In the summer of 2016, the man who turned Breitbart into the alt-right’s loudest mouthpiece, Steve Bannon, became CEO of the Trump campaign–and after Trump’s upset victory, was rewarded with an appointment as the head of the White House political operation.
But Breitbart hasn’t had a lot of time to enjoy that victory. Since December, the folks at Sleeping Giants have mounted a full-court press to choke off Breitbart’s revenue by persuading advertisers to block their ads from appearing on their sites. Well, it’s paying off–bigly. At least 1,250 companies have let it be known that they do not want their ads on Breitbart.
Ana Kasperian and Ben Mankiewicz highlighted this effort on Sunday’s edition of “The Young Turks.” Watch here.
Kasperian referred to a BuzzFeed report about an email from OMD, the media buying subsidiary of advertising giant Omnicom. OMD’s Australian subsidiary had been bombarded with demands from its clients to ensure that its ads not appear on Breitbart.
For those who don’t know, most companies depend on third-party services like Google AdSense or OMD to place their ads on the Web. However, these companies usually have little say on where their ads go, and usually don’t know the specific sites on which their ads appear.
This is where Sleeping Giants comes in. They encourage people to take screenshots of ads appearing on Breitbart stories with particularly noxious headlines and politely tweet them to the companies in question. The great majority of these companies want nothing to do with a site that is notorious for peddling racist, sexist, and homophobic agitprop. They waste little time in blacklisting Breitbart on their AdSense plans and telling companies like OMD to get their ads off Breitbart.
Here’s an updated list of companies that have taken a stand against Breitbart. Be sure to thank them. It’s proof that civility still gets results in this country. Kasperian and Mankiewicz were impressed at how civil the Sleeping Giants campaign has been. Contrast that with how Trump’s alt-right brownshirts react when called out.
The pressure is already having an effect. Breitbart has dropped 37 spots in Alexa’s rankings since November. You would think that it would be trending upward in the afterglow of Trump’s victory. Hmmm, that couldn’t be because of the loss of precious ad revenue, couldn’t it?
Breitbart is apparently trying to rebrand itself as a slightly less wingnutty site. It’s hired a number of reporters from more reputable outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Hill. But it may be too little, too late. After all, this outfit fostered a culture that allowed Milo Yiannopoulos to keep his job after his disgraceful trolling of Leslie Jones, as well as his condoning of rape culture. This is an outfit that actually needed to debate about whether to dump him after he was caught on tape condoning pedophilia. And when he was finally forced to resign, both he and Breitbart brass blamed his ouster on those big, bad libruls having them in their crosshairs.
From the looks of it, Breitbart is suffering death by a thousand cuts. After peddling hate and bigotry in this manner, it would serve them right.
(featured image courtesy Emil Lendof, The Daily Beast)