How Breitbart Destroyed Andrew Breitbart’s Legacy

On the populist right, the late Andrew Breitbart, a man regarded as an influential hero, is best remembered for these words: “Politics is downstream from culture.” Byron York wrote in The Washington Examiner that teaching that lesson was “by far the most important thing he did.” He quoted Breitbart:

The people who have money, every four years at the last possible second, are told, “You need to give millions of dollars, because these four counties in Ohio are going to determine the election.” I am saying, why didn’t we invest 20 years ago in a movie studio in Hollywood, why didn’t we invest in creating television shows, why didn’t we create institutions that would reflect and affirm that which is good about America?

Now Steve Bannon leads the institution that Andrew Breitbart created. Prior to Donald Trump’s rise, he deliberately positioned Breitbart News as a platform for the alt-right. As National Review ran the artful prose of Kevin D. Williamson and the Weekly Standard published the incisive cultural criticism of Andrew Ferguson, Bannon and Breitbart worked to elevate Milo Yiannopolous to cultural prominence.

Later, during the height of the Republican primaries, #NeverTrump conservatives insisted that stopping Trump was important for the sake of U.S. culture.

As David French put it:

The true battle for our country isn’t political, it’s cultural and spiritual. In an era where fidelity and integrity are in increasingly short supply — with the breakdown of faith and family the chief factors in the struggles among America’s most vulnerable citizens — how can I responsibly cast a vote to give one of the nation’s foremost cultural platforms to a man who has openly, loudly, and unrepentantly bragged of his adulterous sexual conquests?

How can I support a man who demonstrates such a breathtaking level of malice and cruelty in his …read more

Source:: <a href= target="_blank" title="How Breitbart Destroyed Andrew Breitbart’s Legacy” >The Atlantic – Politics

The Making of an American Nazi

On December 16, 2016, Tanya Gersh answered her phone and heard gunshots. Startled, she hung up. Gersh, a real-estate agent who lives in Whitefish, Montana, assumed it was a prank call. But the phone rang again. More gunshots. Again, she hung up. Another call. This time, she heard a man’s voice: “This is how we can keep the Holocaust alive,” he said. “We can bury you without touching you.”

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When Gersh put down the phone, her hands were shaking. She was one of only about 100 Jews in Whitefish and the surrounding Flathead Valley, and she knew there were white nationalists and “sovereign citizens” in the area. But Gersh had lived in Whitefish for more than 20 years, since just after college, and had always considered the scenic ski town an idyllic place. She didn’t even have a key to her house—she’d never felt the need to lock her door. Now that sense of security was about to be shattered.

The calls marked the start of a months-long campaign of harassment orchestrated by Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the world’s biggest neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer. He claimed that Gersh was trying to “extort” a property sale from Sherry Spencer, whose son, Richard Spencer, was another prominent white nationalist and the face of the so-called alt-right movement.

The Spencers had long-standing ties to Whitefish, and Richard had been based there for years. But he gained international notoriety just after the 2016 election for giving a speech in Washington, D.C., in which he declared “Hail Trump!,” prompting Nazi salutes from his audience. In response, some Whitefish residents considered protesting in front of a commercial building Sherry owned in town. According to Gersh, Sherry sought her advice, …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

The Lost Boys

The sudden emergence of the so-called alt-right from the dark recesses of the internet into the American mainstream was at first more baffling than shocking. The young people sharing strange, coded frog memes and declaring their commitment to white identity politics on obscure websites remained in the realm of the unserious—or at least the unknowable and weird.

Then, last November, The Atlantic published footage of a prominent alt-right provocateur, Richard Spencer, raising a glass to Donald Trump’s election at a conference in Washington, D.C. “Hail Trump!” he shouted, and in response, audience members saluted in unmistakably Nazi style. The incident made waves—here were young men behaving, in public, like fascists. But Spencer laughed it off, claiming that the gestures were “ironic.” The methods and meaning of the alt-right were as yet elusive.

It wasn’t until the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August that the alt-right took on a form that most Americans could finally grasp as a real, and unambiguous, political movement. A disciplined, torch-lit procession snaked through a college town, with white men shouting explicitly white-nationalist slogans in chorus. A true believer drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters and was charged with killing a woman named Heather Heyer. Could it be that these “ironic” young men had meant what they were saying all along?

To answer this question—and to comprehend the powerful and unexpected effect Charlottesville is having on the alt-right itself—we need to understand what the movement is, and what it is not. Unlike old-fashioned, monolithic political movements, the alt-right is a fractious, fluid coalition comprising bloggers and vloggers, gamers, social-media personalities, and charismatic ringleaders like Spencer, who share an antiestablishment, anti-left politics and an enthusiasm for the political career of Donald Trump. Older theorists who predate the 2016 election—men such as Jared Taylor of the “white …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics

Assange Claims WikiLeaks Was Trying to ‘Beguile’ Donald Trump Jr. Into Leaking

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, responded to The Atlantic’s disclosure of private communications between his group and Donald Trump Jr. by praising his organization for its “chutzpah” in attempting to take advantage of the president’s son.

On Monday afternoon, my colleague Julia Ioffe reported on the direct messages exchanged on Twitter between WikiLeaks and Trump Jr. WikiLeaks attempted to convince Trump Jr. to promote the hacked emails it had published, share his father’s tax returns and, on election day, to challenge the U.S. election results. A few hours later, Trump Jr. confirmed the report by posting the full chain of messages to Twitter, while downplaying its importance.

Assange, for his part, insisted that his organization was merely attempting to solicit leaks. “WikiLeaks appears to beguile some people into transparency by convincing them that it is in their interest,” Assange wrote on Twitter on Monday. He added that the message encouraging Trump to reject the election as rigged was intended “to generate a transformative discussion about corrupt media, corrupt PACs and primary corruption.”

The Twitter conversation between WikiLeaks and Trump Jr., which began in late September 2016 and lasted through July of 2017, showed the radical transparency organization soliciting Trump Jr.’s cooperation. It made requests of him multiple times, from asking him to share links to proposing that Assange be appointed Australian ambassador to the U.S. Twice, the organization implored Trump Jr. to give it his father’s tax returns, as well as his email conversations related to a 2016 meeting with Russian lawyer (which Trump Jr. posted to his own Twitter account in July). Trump Jr. initially replied, but the messages disclosed on Monday include no replies after early October to WikiLeaks’ increasingly bold requests.

Some Democratic lawmakers dismissed the explanations proffered by Assange and …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Politics