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Financial Times: Breitbart London Bigger Than Vice, The Spectator… Planning Expansion

From the Financial Times: Its symbiotic relationship with Donald Trump has catapulted Breitbart News to the centre of American politics.

Now the news organisation wants similar standing in the UK and Europe, encouraged by the growth of grass roots rightwing politics.

In the wake of Brexit, Islamic terror attacks and the European refugee crisis, readership of Breitbart’s UK site is up 135 per cent year on year to 15m monthly page views in July, giving it a bigger reach than The Spectator and Vice Media.

The news organisation, which was founded a decade ago by Andrew Breitbart, a US political blogger, already has a website in Jerusalem and is now aiming to open French and German sites before the end of the year. It is also eyeing a foothold in India. Breitbart’s London operation also has room to grow with only eight to 10 journalists compared to about 100 in America.

Financed by private backers, Breitbart is one of a number of digital start-ups threatening traditional media. In the US, it is the 34th biggest news site, with 150m page views in July, according to rankings from Similar Web.

Much of its growth has come from the careful cultivation of users on social media platforms, especially Facebook, where it now has 2.2m followers. As Facebook’s importance grows as a platform for online news, so too does Breitbart’s reach and influence.

Breitbart’s crowning moment came last month when its chairman, Stephen Bannon, was hired by Mr Trump to run his presidential campaign. But it is not clear that its taste for culture wars and laser focus on immigration will find a similar home in the mainstream of British politics.

There have been claims that the site is racist or that it has fed the right of the alternative right, allegations firmly rejected by Breitbart London’s editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam, a former adviser to the outgoing Ukip (UK Independence party) leader Nigel Farage.

He said: “Yes, we come from a certain position; yes, we are here to talk about a certain group of people who feel left behind. But equally we do not want to cut anyone out.”

It is a view backed up by Breitbart’s editor in chief in Washington, Alex Marlow.

“People who call us racist are not reading the website,” he said. “The left is trying to categorise people into groups to exploit their votes. There is zero evidence that Breitbart is racist.”

He added that the professed neutrality of the US media is a myth. “The New York Times and the Washington Post pretend they are objective, but they aren’t. The myth that the news media is objective is being busted before our eyes,” he said.

Read more at the Financial Times.

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