Bre­it­bart is all-around of­fen­sive web­site

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Ruth Mar­cus Colum­nist

Ruth Mar­cus takes is­sue with Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump's con­tention that Bre­it­bart is "just a pub­li­ca­tion."

To Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, Bre­it­bart — the racist, sex­ist and al­laround of­fen­sive web­site once over­seen by his cam­paign chair­man and des­ig­nated White House chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non — is “just a pub­li­ca­tion.”

Bre­it­bart’s ed­i­tors and writ­ers, Trump told The New York Times, “cover sto­ries like you cover sto­ries.” Granted, Trump said, “they are cer­tainly a much more con­ser­va­tive pa­per, to put it mildly, than The New York Times. But Bre­it­bart re­ally is a news or­ga­ni­za­tion that’s be­come quite suc­cess­ful, and it’s got read­ers and it does cover sub­jects that are on the right, but it cov­ers sub­jects on the left also. I mean it’s a pretty big, it’s a pretty big thing. And he [Ban­non] helped build it into a pretty suc­cess­ful news or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Re­fer­ring to Times pub­lisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Trump ob­served, “I mean, I could say that Arthur is alt-right be­cause they cov­ered an alt-right story.”

No, no, no. The no­tion that Bre­it­bart is “just a pub­li­ca­tion,” like The New York Times but just sev­eral notches to the right, is un­true and un­ac­cept­able. There are any num­ber of con­ser­va­tive pub­li­ca­tions and web­sites that would fit that de­scrip­tion.

Bre­it­bart is some­thing dif­fer­ent en­tirely. That Trump would put it in the same cat­e­gory ex­poses both his fail­ure to un­der­stand the role of the me­dia and his fail­ure to rec­og­nize — or to care about — the of­fen­sive­ness of what Bre­it­bart, un­der the Ban­non regime, rep­re­sents.

We’re go­ing to hear the word “nor­mal­ize” a lot dur­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, and the risk is go­ing to be ex­actly that, un­der­re­act­ing. Trump says and does so many out­ra­geous things that it will be tempt­ing for us to tire of call­ing them, and him, out. The job of opin­ion writ­ers — my job — is to not let Trump de­fine out­ra­geous­ness down.

So, Bre­it­bart is racist. Two weeks af­ter white su­prem­a­cist Dy­lann Roof mur­dered nine African-Amer­i­cans at a Charleston church — af­ter Trump’s choice for U.N. am­bas­sador, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Ha­ley, called for the Con­fed­er­ate flag’s re­moval from the state­house grounds — Bre­it­bart ran an ar­ti­cle un­der the head­line, “Hoist it high and proud: The Con­fed­er­ate flag pro­claims a glo­ri­ous her­itage.”

Bre­it­bart is anti-Semitic. “Bill Kris­tol: Repub­li­can spoiler, rene­gade Jew,” blared a May head­line about the con­ser­va­tive’s ef­fort to launch a third-party can­di­date. A Septem­ber ar­ti­cle went out of its way to note the re­li­gious her­itage of my col­league Anne Ap­ple­baum: “Hell hath no fury like a Pol­ish, Jewish, Amer­i­can elit­ist scorned.”

Bre­it­bart is anti-Mus­lim. For­mer Rep. Tom Tan­credo in­veighed in Jan­uary against an “epi­demic” of sex­ual as­sault by im­mi­grants in Europe, which he blamed on “Islam’s rape cul­ture” that “could be com­ing to a town near you all too soon.” Anti-Mus­lim ac­tivist Pamela Geller has lamented “the dev­as­ta­tion that the Mus­lim mi­grant in­flux is bring­ing to Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties.”

Bre­it­bart is misog­y­nist. “Birth con­trol makes women unattrac­tive and crazy” was the head­line on an ar­ti­cle last De­cem­ber.

Bre­it­bart is all-around of­fen­sive and ir­re­spon­si­ble. As to of­fen­sive, con­sider last year’s “Gabby Gif­fords, the gun con­trol move­ment’s hu­man shield.” As to ir­re­spon­si­ble, con­sider June’s “Roger Stone: Huma Abe­din ‘Most Likely a Saudi Spy’ with ‘Deep, Inar­guable Con­nec­tions’ to ‘Global Ter­ror­ist En­tity.’”

Trump as­sured the Times that he con­demns white su­prem­a­cist Richard Spencer’s National Pol­icy In­sti­tute, which greeted the elec­tion with cheers of “Hail Trump, hail our peo­ple, hail vic­tory!” Bre­it­bart has mildly de­scribed Spencer as one of the “in­tel­lec­tu­als” of the alt-right move­ment and noted that his pre­vi­ous fo­rum, al­ter­na­, was “ac­cused of racism.” Ac­cused of racism? This is a man who has ad­vo­cated for cre­ation of a “white ethno-state on the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nent.”

Bre­it­bart isn’t “just a pub­li­ca­tion.” It’s a pesti­lence — one whose re­pug­nant views Trump has in­vited into his White House.

Ruth Mar­cus is syn­di­cated by The Washington Post Writ­ers Group.

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