Joshua Green is the author of Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency, a book about how ex-Breitbart News Executive Chairman Steve Bannon helped President Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election by cultivating a movement of working class Americans.
The revelation that Donald Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer promising information that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton was a true bombshell in an era when we have become almost inured to them. Here was proof that members of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign had, at the very least, been eager to collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Look to the right now and you’re apt to find an alternative reality in which the same set of facts is rearranged to compose an entirely different narrative.
The Breitbart mind-set — pugnacious, besieged, paranoid and determined to impose its own framework on current events regardless of facts — has moved from the right-wing fringe to the center of Republican politics.
It’s a process that’s happened organically. “They have an incredible eye for an important story, particular ones that are important to conservatives and Republicans,” Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general, told me in 2015, explaining how Breitbart News was shaping grass-roots conservative opinion by spreading its message across mediums that party leaders in Washington paid little attention to. “They’ve become extraordinarily influential.”
Culture has always been a driving obsession of the conservative underworld of Breitbart and its ilk. “Andrew was always more interested in changing the culture than he was in changing what was going on in Washington,” Steve Bannon, who ran Breitbart News and is now Mr. Trump’s chief White House strategist, once told me.
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