CNN host Don Lemon smeared Breitbart News on Friday evening, falsely telling his viewers that Breitbart News was a platform for white supremacists and “neo-Nazis.”
Lemon was speaking to Sarah Posner, the former Mother Jones reporter who interviewed Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon during the 2016 election at the Republican National Convention. In a quote that has been taken out of context, Bannon, referring to economic nationalists and not ethno-nationalists, told her that Breitbart News was a “platform for the alt-right.” Lemon told his viewers that Bannon told the reporter that Breitbart News was a platform for the “alt-right,” white supremacy, “neo-Nazi[s].” Bannon never did such a thing.
The left-wing reporter did not inform Lemon that she emphasized in her own story that Bannon described his ideology as “nationalist” and not “racist” “white nationalism.” Bannon has always described himself as an America-first economic nationalist and rejected ethno-nationalism, most recently telling the American Prospect magazine’s Robert Kuttner that ethno-nationalist “clowns” need to be “crushed.” Bannon has also told numerous other outlets that he has never supported “ethno-nationalism.”
“I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy. And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors,” Bannon told the Wall Street Journal in 2016. “I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”
An extensive Harvard/MIT study found, as reported in this weekend’s New York Times magazine cover story, that Breitbart News is “not alt-right.” And Breitbart News has previously explained why Bannon’s quote–because of the media’s ignorance, laziness, or maliciousness–has been taken out of context:
In a Facebook post that may be even more relevant now about the various definitions of “alt-right,” YouTube star Paul Joseph Watson wrote in November of 2016 that the media like to obsess over a “tiny fringe minority” who had “no impact on the election” and just “likes to fester in dark corners of sub-reddits and obsess about jews, racial superiority and Adolf Hitler.”
Watson tried to inform the media that the so-called “alt-right” that helped Trump win the White House, as Breitbart News reported, can be “more accurately described as the New Right.”
“These people like to wear MAGA hats, create memes, and have fun,” Watson explained. “They include whites, blacks, Asians, latinos, gays and everyone else. These are the people who helped Trump win the election.”
The extensive Harvard/M.I.T. study of Breitbart News’ articles and the news ecosystem found that Breitbart News was indeed not “the alt-right” associated with Nazis and white supremacists who have attacked Breitbart News for having been conceived in Israel and its pro-Israel Jerusalem bureau.
— Richard Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) June 6, 2017
Fox News’s establishment mouthpiece Dana Perino took a page out of CNN’s playbook earlier this week when she too implied that Breitbart News was a site for Nazis.
Earlier in the month, CNN purged pro-Trump pundit Jeffrey Lord for mocking Nazis and “Media Matters Facsists” with a sarcastic “Sieg Heil!” tweet even though CNN has not even punished its personalities for defaming Breitbart News as a Nazi site.
This is at least the third time that a prominent CNN personality has smeared Breitbart News as a site for Nazis and neo-Nazis, so now there seems to be a pattern at CNN. Here are the other two occasions in which CNN personalities have falsely maligned and smeared Breitbart News:
In November of 2016, anchor Brooke Baldwin, after airing a video of a Nazi salute that Breitbart News never published, said on the air that Breitbart News was “the most prominent platform” for what “we just showed, you know, the video we just showed, the Nazi salute, the while supremacists in this country. Are you okay with having Steve Bannon as the chief strategist at the White House, Paris?”
As Breitbart News noted at the time, “Breitbart News has never showed the video of the Nazi salute, which ran at The Atlantic and other sites. Nor has Breitbart News ever associated with white supremacists. In fact, earlier on Tuesday, the Daily Beast had reported that Breitbart News had ‘excoriated’ a white nationalist who had reached out to the site.” Furthermore, as Breitbart’s Joel Pollak noted, “Trump had no reported connection with the group in the video, and later disavowed its support explicitly.”
On July 18, New York Times columnist and frequent CNN guest Charles Blow said the panel was not going to talk about “what that Breitbart crowd is, and that it is basically Neo-Nazism and the like. I mean we’re not going to bring that part up, anyway.”
Video of blow’s remarks is below. Nobody from CNN even challenges Blow’s smear in the video. A search of the transcript that CNN posted of the 9 p.m. ET edition of Cooper’s show on July 18 reveals that nobody ever challenged Blow’s smear.
Neither Baldwin nor Blow apparently even got a slap on the wrist for defaming Breitbart News as the “most prominent” site for the Nazi salute and the home for Neo-Nazis.