On Wednesday evening, CNN reported that Breitbart News chairman Steve Bannon had finally disassociated from their onetime chosen candidate to dethrone Paul Ryan in his Congressional seat, Paul Nehlen. According to Arthur Schwartz, a Bannon advisor, “Nehlen is dead to us.”
It took long enough. And it came after Bannon spoke at a rally for credibly accused child molester Roy Moore in Alabama just two weeks ago. Breitbart News has yet to write an article about Nehlen’s recent penchant for tweeting out blatant anti-Semitic tropes. Nehlen responded to Breitbart’s disassociation by essentially calling them globalists, a rich reward for the site that popularized the term:
Putting America First above all other nations, such as being pro-wall and for freedom of lawful speech, has brought a coordinated attack by globalists from both parties; nevertheless I will continue to stand strong against anti-American sentiment, however it manifests.
Here’s the problem: Nehlen’s been painting in various hues of unhinged nuttery for months now, as Lachlan Markay of The Daily Beast traced on December 7. In early December, Nehlen retweeted someone calling Muslims “towel heads.” He also labeled a Muslim “Achmed” and a black man “Tyrone.” He suggested that God should punish California with a massive earthquake for its status as “Sodom and Gomorrah.” He stated that Gabby Giffords should have outdrawn her shooter.
Nothing from Breitbart.
In recent days, Nehlen has begun tweeting out pictures of an anti-Semitic book he’s reading, as well as tropes about American foreign policy putting Israel first. He’s retweeted “anuddah shoah” jokes, favorites among the anti-Semitic alt-right, and he’s told Commentary magazine editor John Podhoretz to “eat a bullet.”
And back in August, he retweeted a series of images from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. For good measure, he celebrated the unsupported Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Nothing from Breitbart.
Finally, when CNN’s Jake Tapper began pushing Breitbart, they backed down:
Then Breitbart ran a piece smacking Tapper. Of course.
This isn’t anything new for Breitbart. This is the same outlet whose leader, Bannon, declared Milo Yiannopoulos, another Nehlen fan, “dead to me” last year — after boosting him with cash and publicity for months following Yiannopoulos' open embrace of the alt-right. Bannon himself called Breitbart “the platform for the alt-right.”
The connection doesn’t stop there. Yiannopoulos wrote a piece glorifying the anti-Semitic alt-right and deliberately championing Nehlen as one of their emissaries last year:
Ryan is also frightened of the alt-right because he knows they can’t be contained. His primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, shares many of their positions— just read through Nehlen’s 39-tweet barrage for a better idea of what he represents. And he’s likely just the first of a new generation of insurgent candidates with alt-right tendencies.
So, should we take Breitbart’s newfound horror at Nehlen particularly seriously? Let's take a look at the evidence. These are the same people whose moral scruples led them to send reporters down to Alabama in an attempt to discredit Roy Moore’s accusers — and even Breitbart’s editor-in-chief Alex Marlow now admits that he believes that the woman who accused Moore of molesting her when she was 14 “had a lot of credibility.” These are the same folks who use globes around particular names, leading their own editor-at-large, Joel Pollak, to admit that he’s not fond of the term “globalist” because “it’s similar to the kind of thing that people have said in the past when they want to target minorities…Yeah, I don’t like the globe.”
Breitbart News isn’t an anti-Semitic outlet. But they're certainly willing to hobnob with anti-Semites and societal dregs whom Steve Bannon believes can benefit him. And that’s not going to stop just because they got caught with their pants around their ankles with Paul Nehlen. Andrew Breitbart would be ashamed of what the publication bearing his name has become.