Moore used Breitbart to try to get in front of allegations that he pursued teenage girls

Breitbart’s willingness to be used as a media-relations arm of Moore’s campaign veers back toward blind loyalty to a candidate.


It is not unusual for a political figure to try to get in front of bad news. Recall that in July, when the New York Times was about to report on the contents of emails Donald Trump Jr. sent before meeting with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign, Trump Jr. decided to post the emails on Twitter "in order to be totally transparent." 

The idea was to make the Times' report seem inconsequential — before it even published — by appearing to release the emails voluntarily. 

Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, made a similar effort on Thursday to head off The Washington Post's report that he allegedly initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old and dated teenagers when he was in his 30s. But Moore did not use Twitter or any official campaign channel. He used Breitbart News. 

Minutes before The Post published its report, Breitbart posted a preemptive response from Moore under one of its signature, all-caps headlines: "AFTER ENDORSING DEMOCRAT IN ALABAMA, WASHINGTON POST PLANS TO HIT ROY MOORE WITH ALLEGATIONS OF INAPPROPRIATE RELATIONS WITH TEENAGERS; JUDGE FIRES BACK DENIAL." 

(Disclaimer: The Washington Post editorial board endorses candidates, not The Washington Post newsroom.) 

Breitbart has made no secret of its support of Moore. Website chairman Steve Bannon headlined a rally for Moore before September's GOP runoff in Alabama, and there is not even a pretense of neutrality in Breitbart's coverage of the general-election contest between Moore and Democrat Doug Jones. 

Yet Breitbart's willingness to be used as a media-relations arm of Moore's campaign is a dive even deeper into the tank. 

It is reminiscent of the time in March 2016 when Breitbart conjured an elaborate, alternative account of an incident in which Donald Trump's campaign manager at the time, Corey Lewandowski, grabbed the arm of a female reporter — a reporter who worked for Breitbart, no less. Reconstructing the episode, Breitbart asserted that its own journalist must have mistaken Lewandowski for someone else. 

Video evidence later proved that it was indeed Lewandowski who grabbed the reporter, Michelle Fields. Breitbart removed its article challenging Fields' account, but its initial, reality-defying defense of the Trump campaign drove Fields, editor-at-large Ben Shapiro and spokesman Kurt Bardella to resign in protest. 

Breitbart, to its credit, has since demonstrated that it can hold Trump accountable on foreign policy, immigration, health care and other issues that are important to the president's base. In fact, getting behind Moore put the site at odds with Trump, who endorsed incumbent Republican Sen. Luther Strange in the runoff. 

Now, however, Breitbart is veering back toward blind loyalty to a candidate.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

PolitiFact: Asylum cases rising rapidly
PolitiFact: Asylum cases rising rapidly

President Donald Trump argued that immigrants entering illegally are gaming the American immigration system, citing a remarkable rise in asylum applications. He said some asylum-seekers are abusing the process with criminal intentions. “There’s been a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims over the last 10 years,” Trump said in a...
PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations
PolitiFact: How Trump flopped his position on family separations

Since early June, President Donald Trump had insisted that his hands were tied and families who wanted to enter America without permission had to be separated. The adults went to one place to await criminal charges, while their children were sent to another facility. As the number of children being held rose above 2,000, Trump continued to blame the...
Shaking up cabinet to shrink the government
Shaking up cabinet to shrink the government

President Donald Trump, spurred on by conservatives who want him to slash safety net programs, on Thursday unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal government that could have a profound effect on millions of poor and working-class Americans.  Produced over the past year by Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, it would reshuffle social...
Who is Dolly Gee, the judge deciding the fate of Trump’s executive order?
Who is Dolly Gee, the judge deciding the fate of Trump’s executive order?

Judge Dolly M. Gee has called the treatment of immigrant children in detention “deplorable” in a legal opinion. She has castigated the federal government for “fear mongering” when it argued that the detention of migrant families at the border was a necessary deterrent.  And that was during the Obama administration. ...
Study: Republicans see ‘misinformation’ in media at twice the rate of Democrats
Study: Republicans see ‘misinformation’ in media at twice the rate of Democrats

Fresh data affirm a long-running crisis for U.S. media organizations: Republicans and conservatives just don't trust them. A May 2017 Pew Research Center noted in stark terms how the media-trust gap is widening between the parties. Now comes a Gallup/Knight Foundation survey with a finding that cements common wisdom on the topic.  Asked to estimate...
More Stories