Wednesday, March 21, 2018


I've been a bit of a downer lately, interrupting the cheers given Ralph Peters for turning against Fox News by reminding everyone that Peters, like a lot of guys who get crowned with Woke Laurels and taken for a shoulder rides by liberals these days, is still terrible and his conversion is probably a PR stunt. And I'm afraid I have to do that again with these heds and ledes that have given some good folks aid and comfort:
Breitbart’s readership plunges
The onetime voice of the pro-Trump alt-right struggles to find a niche without its driving force, Steve Bannon. 
Breitbart News is experiencing a massive decline in traffic, Politico reports, losing about half its total readership in just six months. 
Breitbart readership is in free fall, report finds
The wingnut web empire's hits have been halved since last October, and pundits are guessing it's because Steve Bannon has been too long away from the bridge ("Without Bannon at the helm, the website has faltered"), or because of "Facebook’s war on fake news," or because of Trump ("it’s no surprise that Breitbart’s influence is waning as the country grapples with the harsh realities of a Trump presidency"), etc.

I started covering Breitbart and his media outlets close to a decade ago;  I have seen their malign influence on our body politic, and it gives me some pleasure to see his successor Fat Goebbels embarrassed, if only for the moment. But even assuming Breitbart does not bounce back -- and that's not a fair assumption; we've heard stories of their numbers "cratering" before -- that doesn't mean that the audience for their rightwing bullshit is lessening. In fact, it may just be finding Breitbart too tame anymore.

Like other web users with loathsome habits, I get creepy promotional emails based on my usage, and lately I've been getting digests from new rightwing sites that make Breitbart look like The London Review of Books. One is called "Fear and Blood," and its headlines sound like they're being screamed by Michelle Malkin while Michael Savage fucks her in the ass: "BRAINWASHED PARKLAND SURVIVOR MAKES A FOOL OF HIMSELF IN DIY COMMERCIAL [VIDEO]," "CLINTON GUTTING HER PARTY FROM THE INSIDE: ANOTHER DEM RUSHES TO SLAM HILLARY [VIDEO]," "TRUMP PROUDLY EXPLAINS WHY HE SUCH A BIG ADVOCATE OF THE MARINES," etc.

There are also the links I get from something called Red Right Videos, which, while it does have a website full of video features padded with shitty written-by-bots copy, such as "MSNBC Anchor Mocks Trump Advisers Christian Faith,“ it also sends me links to different wingnut outlets (often Fear and Blood!) with similar characteristics, offered in the same manner and with the same intent as a guy who, having shown you a bukkake video and gotten even a mildly approving response, will immediately excitedly show you every vom-porn clip in existence. The titles include “It’s Unbelievable What Both Bush JR and SR Said About Trump, Sad,” and “LIBERALS ARE GATHERING FOR AN EVENT THAT YOU WON’T BELIEVE."

Further down the Mariana Trench we find Independent Minute which, while it does feature Trump-worship features like "UNCATEGORIZED TRUMP OFFERS 7 FIGURE REWARD FOR INFORMATION ON ONE OF THE MOST EVIL PEOPLE WALKING THE EARTH," also offers politically indistinct trash-trawls like "She Learns His Vile Secret After 10 Years Of Dating, Has SWAT Team Swarming His Property [VIDEO]" and "Any Chance Of Oprah Running In 2020 DESTROYED With This Leaked Sex Tape." I think the idea here is, if you like Trump, you'll enjoy anything else that, like Trump, includes at any given time violence, guilty sex, and just plain braying stupidity.

And that's where it's going, I think: inchoate rage and depravity linked, maybe even just tangentially, to rightwing politics. It's perfect for the age of our porn-star-fucking, death-penalty-threatening, bellowing asshole president. His connection to conservatism is mainly visceral -- unlike the pipe-puffing, patched-elbowed dopes at National Review and other such places, he doesn't approve screwing the poor because of any abstruse intellectual or moral precept, he approves it because he's a vicious thug and that's what people like him get a thrill out of. So instead of just having ugly political content, his new avatars mix it up with ugly non- or barely-political content -- online equivalents of some no-neck down the corner telling you about some little [insert racial slur] who beat up an old lady and how if he saw a  [insert racial slur] right now he'd fuck him up but good. Every once in a while they might stick "Trump" or "MAGA" to that, but it's not absolutely necessary.

So, in my view, if Breitbart is losing traffic, it's not for any extrinsic reason; it's because as low as they brought things, their audience -- its brains turned to harmless glue by long exposure to Breitbart's crap-- now wants to go lower still.

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