Brian Fallon, national press secretary for the failed Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, told audiences at Yale University Wednesday that what he called the “Breitbart effect” was a “profound” obstacle his team did not see coming.
“One of the realities that I don’t think was truly appreciated by our campaign was just how profound the Breitbart effect was in cultivating a standalone ecosystem in conservative media that very aggressively and successfully promoted certain stories and narratives we had a blind-spot for during the campaign,” Fallon said.
Fallon offered Breitbart News a grudging respect as he expressed his disappointment that his campaign’s attacks on Trump did not have the devastating effect he might have hoped for in another era. “The right has innovated a really good infrastructure,” he said, “that not only insulated Donald Trump from criticism that should be driving his numbers down, but has brought the conversation to the right.”
Dismayed that this Breitbart Effect of media independent of the former mainstream monopoly played so well into the social media revolution, Fallon griped, “We had a lot of policy we were trying to communicate that got overshadowed by whatever Donald Trump tweeted.” He added, “There was too much punditry on Twitter on Friday over who was going to take the blame for the health care bill.”
Fallon, who worked for top Democrats including Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NY) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) before joining the Clinton campaign, and is currently a CNN television pundit, witnessed first-hand the paradigm shift in media brought about by Breitbart and other independent news outlets during the 2016 election season. Now, before an assembled audience at a top American university, having had over four months to reflect on the shocking upset loss of his candidate, Fallon called this Breitbart Effect “one of the realities that I don’t think was truly appreciated by our campaign.”