Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #986 Walkin’ the Snake with Breitbart, Part 3

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Milo Yiannopou­los

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram details the process of main­stream­ing “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. As has been dis­cussed before, this has been under­way at Bre­it­bart for some time. This analy­sis is pre­sent­ed against the back­ground of our decades-long dis­cus­sion of the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk. The back cov­er of that book sums up the essence of the tome: ” . . . It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White World when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of the tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’ . . .”

Buz­zFeed has a long piece based on a cache of leaked emails that describe behind-the-scenes efforts at Bre­it­bart to main­stream the “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. This sto­ry firms up analy­sis of Bre­it­bart as a white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion run by neo-Nazis for the pur­pose of main­stream­ing neo-Nazi ideals.

Those efforts pri­mar­i­ly revolved around Milo Yiannopou­los, who is:

  1. Tasked with reach­ing out to “Alt Right” fig­ures.
  2. Get­ting com­ments from them about what the “Alt Right” was all about.
  3. Then, lat­er get­ting feed­back from them about the planned arti­cles before they were pub­lished.

It was clear­ly a group effort. Those efforts includ­ed Andrew ‘the weev’ Auern­heimer, Cur­tis Yarvin (the founder of the “Dark Enlight­en­ment” move­ment), and Devin Sauci­er, a neo-Nazi Yiannopou­los describes as his best friend.

Of pri­ma­ry inter­est here is the cun­ning exer­cised by Yiannopou­los, Ban­non et al in pars­ing just what they can get away with doing and what they must avoid. ” . . . . By Yiannopoulos’s own admis­sion, main­tain­ing a suf­fi­cient­ly believ­able dis­tance from overt racists and white nation­al­ists was cru­cial to the machine he had helped Ban­non build. . . .‘Thanks re 1488,’ Yiannopou­los respond­ed. . . .‘I have been strug­gling with this. I need to stay, if not clean, then clean enough.’ 

The emails includ­ed back and forths between Yiannopou­los and Bre­it­bart edi­tors about whether or not the pub­li­ca­tion was get­ting too open­ly friend­ly with the Nazis, with Yiannopou­los being told at one point that it was fine to use a “shekels” joke but “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas cham­ber tweets.”

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  1. Cur­tis Yarv­in’s  state­ment that he was “coach­ing” Peter Thiel on pol­i­tics.
  2. How the two Yiannopou­los pass­words found in the emails were “a pass­word that began with the word Kristall”, and “LongKnives1290”.
  3. How the for­mi­da­ble eco­nom­ic pow­er of the Mer­cer fam­i­ly serves as a legal intim­i­da­tion fac­tor for any­one label­ing Yiannopou­los as a racist or Nazi.

 1.  This pro­gram details the process of main­stream­ing “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. As we has been dis­cussed before, this has been under­way at Bre­it­bart for some time. This analy­sis is pre­sent­ed against the back­ground of our decades-long dis­cus­sion of the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk. The back cov­er of that book sums up the essence of the tome: ” . . . It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White world when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of their tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’ . . .”

2. Buz­zFeed has a long piece based on a cache of leaked emails that describe behind-the-scenes efforts at Bre­it­bart to main­stream the “Alt Right” neo-Nazis. This sto­ry firms up analy­sis of Bre­it­bart as a white nation­al­ist pub­li­ca­tion run by neo-Nazis for the pur­pose of main­stream­ing neo-Nazi ideals.

Those efforts pri­mar­i­ly revolved around Milo Yiannopou­los, who is:

  1. Tasked with reach­ing out to “Alt Right” fig­ures.
  2. Get­ting com­ments from them about what the “Alt Right” was all about.
  3. Then, lat­er get­ting feed­back from them about the planned arti­cles before they were pub­lished.

It was clear­ly a group effort. Those efforts includ­ed Andrew ‘the weev’ Auern­heimer, Cur­tis Yarvin (the founder of the “Dark Enlight­en­ment” move­ment), and Devin Sauci­er, a neo-Nazi Yiannopou­los describes as his best friend.

Of pri­ma­ry inter­est here is the cun­ning exer­cised by Yiannopou­los, Ban­non et al in pars­ing just what they can get away with doing and what they must avoid.

The emails includ­ed back and forths between Yiannopou­los and Bre­it­bart edi­tors about whether or not the pub­li­ca­tion was get­ting too open­ly friend­ly with the Nazis, with Yiannopou­los being told at one point that it was fine to use a “shekels” joke but “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas cham­ber tweets.”

Oth­er points of infor­ma­tion include: Cur­tis Yarv­in’s  state­ment that he was “coach­ing” Peter Thiel on pol­i­tics; How the two Yiannopou­los pass­words found in the emails were “a pass­word that began with the word Kristall”, and “LongKnives1290”.

“Alt-White: How The Bre­it­bart Machine Laun­dered Racist Hate” by Joseph Bern­stein; Buz­zFeed; 10/05/2017

Here’s How Bre­it­bart And Milo Smug­gled Nazi and White Nation­al­ist Ideas Into The Main­stream

A cache of doc­u­ments obtained by Buz­zFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.”

In August, after a white nation­al­ist ral­ly in Char­lottesville end­ed in mur­der, Steve Ban­non insist­ed that “there’s no room in Amer­i­can soci­ety” for neo-Nazis, neo-Con­fed­er­ates, and the KKK.

But an explo­sive cache of doc­u­ments obtained by Buz­zFeed News proves that there was plen­ty of room for those voic­es on his web­site.

Dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, under Bannon’s lead­er­ship, Bre­it­bart court­ed the alt-right — the insur­gent, racist right-wing move­ment that helped sweep Don­ald Trump to pow­er. The for­mer White House chief strate­gist famous­ly remarked that he want­ed Bre­it­bart to be “the plat­form for the alt-right.”

The Bre­it­bart employ­ee clos­est to the alt-right was Milo Yiannopou­los, the site’s for­mer tech edi­tor known best for his out­ra­geous pub­lic provo­ca­tions, such as last year’s Dan­ger­ous Fag­got speak­ing tour and September’s can­celed Free Speech Week in Berke­ley. For more than a year, Yiannopou­los led the site in a coy dance around the movement’s nas­ti­er edges, writ­ing sto­ries that min­i­mized the role of neo-Nazis and white nation­al­ists while giv­ing its politer voic­es a fair hear­ing. In March, Bre­it­bart edi­tor Alex Mar­low insist­ed “we’re not a hate site.” Breitbart’s media rela­tions staff repeat­ed­ly threat­ened to sue out­lets that described Yiannopou­los as racist. And after the vio­lent white suprema­cist protest in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, in August, Bre­it­bart pub­lished an arti­cle explain­ing that when Ban­non said the site wel­comed the alt-right, he was mere­ly refer­ring to “com­put­er gamers and blue-col­lar vot­ers who hat­ed the GOP brand.”

These new emails and doc­u­ments, how­ev­er, clear­ly show that Bre­it­bart does more than tol­er­ate the most hate-filled, racist voic­es of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fuel­ing and being fueled by some of the most tox­ic beliefs on the polit­i­cal spec­trum — and clear­ing the way for them to enter the Amer­i­can main­stream.

It’s a rela­tion­ship illus­trat­ed most stark­ly by a pre­vi­ous­ly unre­leased April 2016 video in which Yiannopou­los sings “Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful” in a Dal­las karaoke bar as admir­ers, includ­ing the white nation­al­ist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes.

These doc­u­ments chart the Bre­it­bart alt-right uni­verse. They reveal how the web­site — and, in par­tic­u­lar, Yiannopou­los — links the Mer­cer fam­i­ly, the bil­lion­aires who fund Bre­it­bart, to under­paid trolls who fill it with provoca­tive con­tent, and to extrem­ists striv­ing to cre­ate a white eth­nos­tate.

They cap­ture what Ban­non calls his “killing machine” in action, as it dredges up the resent­ments of peo­ple around the world, sifts through these griev­ances for ideas and con­tent, and pro­pels them from the unsa­vory parts of the inter­net up to Trump­World, col­lect­ing adver­tis­ers’ checks all along the way.

And the cache of emails — some of the most news­wor­thy of which Buz­zFeed News is now mak­ing pub­lic — expose the extent to which this machine depend­ed on Yiannopou­los, who chan­neled voic­es both inside and out­side the estab­lish­ment into a clear nar­ra­tive about the threat lib­er­al dis­course posed to Amer­i­ca. The emails tell the sto­ry of Steve Bannon’s grand plan for Yiannopou­los, whom the Bre­it­bart exec­u­tive chair­man trans­formed from a charis­mat­ic young edi­tor into a con­ser­v­a­tive media star capa­ble of mag­ne­tiz­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of reac­tionary anger. Often, the doc­u­ments reveal, this anger came from a legion of secret sym­pa­thiz­ers in Sil­i­con Val­ley, Hol­ly­wood, acad­e­mia, sub­ur­bia, and every­where in between.

“I have said in the past that I find humor in break­ing taboos and laugh­ing at things that peo­ple tell me are for­bid­den to joke about,” Yiannopou­los wrote in a state­ment to Buz­zFeed News. “But every­one who knows me also knows I’m not a racist. As some­one of Jew­ish ances­try, I of course con­demn racism in the strongest pos­si­ble terms. I have stopped mak­ing jokes on these mat­ters because I do not want any con­fu­sion on this sub­ject. I dis­avow Richard Spencer and his entire sor­ry band of idiots. I have been and am a stead­fast sup­port­er of Jews and Israel. I dis­avow white nation­al­ism and I dis­avow racism and I always have.”

Now Ban­non is back at the con­trols of the machine, which he has said he is “revving up.” The Mer­cers have fund­ed Yiannopoulos’s post-Bre­it­bart ven­ture. And these doc­u­ments present the clear­est look at what these peo­ple may have in store for Amer­i­ca.

**

A year and a half ago, Milo Yiannopou­los set him­self a dif­fi­cult task: to define the alt-right. It was five months before Hillary Clin­ton named the alt-right in a cam­paign speech, 10 months before the alt-right’s great hope became pres­i­dent, and 17 months before Char­lottesville clinched the alt-right as a stalk­ing horse for vio­lent white nation­al­ism. The move­ment had just begun its explo­sive emer­gence into the country’s pol­i­tics and cul­ture.

At the time, Yiannopou­los, who would lat­er describe him­self as a fel­low trav­el­er” of the alt-right, was the tech edi­tor of Bre­it­bart. In sum­mer 2015, after spend­ing a year gath­er­ing momen­tum through Gamer­Gate — the open­ing sal­vo of the new cul­ture wars— he con­vinced Bre­it­bart upper man­age­ment to give him his own sec­tion. And for four months, he helped Ban­non wage what the Bre­it­bart boss called in emails to staff “#war.” It was a war, fought sto­ry by sto­ry, against the per­ceived forces of lib­er­al activism on every con­ceiv­able bat­tle­ground in Amer­i­can life.

Yiannopou­los was a use­ful sol­dier whose very pub­lic iden­ti­ty as a gay man (one who has now mar­ried a black man) helped defend him, his anti-polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness cru­sade, and his employ­er from charges of big­otry.

But now Yiannopou­los had a more com­pli­cat­ed fight on his hands. The left — and worse, some on the right — had start­ed to con­demn the new con­ser­v­a­tive ener­gy as reac­tionary and racist. Yiannopou­los had to take back “alt-right,” to rede­fine for Breitbart’s audi­ence a poor­ly under­stood, lead­er­less move­ment, parts of which had already start­ed to resist the term itself.

So he reached out to key con­stituents, who includ­ed a neo-Nazi and a white nation­al­ist.

“Final­ly doing my big fea­ture on the alt right,” Yiannopou­los wrote in a March 9, 2016, email to Andrew “Weev” Auern­heimer, a hack­er who is the sys­tem admin­is­tra­tor of the neo-Nazi hub the Dai­ly Stormer, and who would lat­er ask his fol­low­ers to dis­ruptthe funer­al of Char­lottesville vic­tim Heather Hey­er. “Fan­cy brain­dump­ing some thoughts for me.”

“It’s time for me to do my big defin­i­tive guide to the alt right,” Yiannopou­los wrote four hours lat­er to Cur­tis Yarvin, a soft­ware engi­neer who under the nom de plume Men­cius Mold­bug helped cre­ate the “neo­re­ac­tionary” move­ment, which holds that Enlight­en­ment democ­ra­cy has failed and that a return to feu­dal­ism and author­i­tar­i­an rule is in order. “Which is my who­r­ish way of ask­ing if you have any­thing you’d like to make sure I include.”

“Alt r fea­ture, fig­ured you’d have some thoughts,” Yiannopou­los wrote the same day to Devin Sauci­er, who helps edit the online white nation­al­ist mag­a­zine Amer­i­can Renais­sance under the pseu­do­nym Hen­ry Wolff, and who wrote a sto­ry in June 2017 called “Why I Am (Among Oth­er Things) a White Nation­al­ist.”

The three respond­ed at length: Weev about the Dai­ly Stormer and a pod­cast called The Dai­ly Shoah, Yarvin in char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly sweep­ing world-his­tor­i­cal asser­tions (“It’s no secret that North Amer­i­ca con­tains many dis­tinct cultural/ethnic com­mu­ni­ties. This is not opti­mal, but with a com­pe­tent king it’s not a huge prob­lem either”), and Sauci­er with a list of thinkers, politi­cians, jour­nal­ists, films (DuneMad MaxThe Dark Knight), and musi­cal gen­res (folk met­al, mar­tial indus­tri­al, ’80s syn­th­pop) impor­tant to the move­ment. Yiannopou­los for­ward­ed it all, along with the Wikipedia entries for “Alter­na­tive Right” and the eso­teric far-right Ital­ian philoso­pher Julius Evola — a major influ­ence on 20th-cen­tu­ry Ital­ian fas­cists and Richard Spencer alike — to Allum Bokhari, his deputy and fre­quent ghost­writer, whom he had met dur­ing Gamer­Gate. “Include a bit of every­thing,” he instruct­ed Bokhari.

“I think you’ll like what I’m cook­ing up,” Yiannopou­los wrote to Sauci­er, the Amer­i­can Renais­sance edi­tor.

“I look for­ward to it,” Sauci­er replied. “Ban­non, as you prob­a­bly know, is sym­pa­thet­ic to much of it.”

Five days lat­er Bokhari returned a 3,000-word draft, a tax­on­o­my of the move­ment titled “ALT-RIGHT BEHEMOTH.” It includ­ed a lit­tle bit of every­thing: the brains and their influ­ences (Yarvin and Evola, etc.), the “nat­ur­al con­ser­v­a­tives” (peo­ple who think dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups should stay sep­a­rate for sci­en­tif­ic rea­sons), the “Meme team” (4chan and 8chan), and the actu­al hate­mon­gers. Of the last group, Bokhari wrote: “There’s just not very many of them, no-one real­ly likes them, and they’re unlike­ly to achieve any­thing sig­nif­i­cant in the alt-right.”

“Mag­nif­i­cent start,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

Over the next three days, Yiannopou­los passed the arti­cle back to Yarvin and the white nation­al­ist Sauci­er, the lat­ter of whom gave line-by-line anno­ta­tions. He also sent it to Vox Day, a writer who was expelled from the board of the Sci­ence Fic­tion and Fan­ta­sy Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca for call­ing a black writer an “igno­rant sav­age,” and to Alex Mar­low, the edi­tor of Bre­it­bart.

“Sol­id, fair, and fair­ly com­pre­hen­sive,” Vox Day respond­ed, with a few sug­ges­tions.

“Most of it is great but I don’t want to rush a major long form piece like this,” Mar­low wrote back. “A few peo­ple will need to weigh in since it deals heav­i­ly with race.”

Also, there was anoth­er sen­si­tive issue to be raised: cred­it. “Allum did most of the work on this and wants joint [byline] but I want the glo­ry here,” Yiannopou­los wrote back to Mar­low. “I am telling him you said it’s sen­si­tive and want my byline alone on it.”

Min­utes lat­er, Yiannopou­los emailed Bokhari. “I was going to have Mar­low col­lude with me … about the byline on the alt right thing because I want to take it solo. Will you hate me too much if I do that? … Truth­ful­ly man­age­ment is very edgy on this one (They love it but it’s racial­ly charged) and they would pre­fer it.”

“Will man­age­ment def­i­nite­ly say no if it’s both of us?” Bokhari respond­ed. “I think it actu­al­ly low­ers the risk if some­one with a brown-sound­ing name shares the BL.”

Five days lat­er, March 22nd, Mar­low returned with com­ments. He sug­gest­ed that the sto­ry should show in more detail how Yiannopou­los and most of the alt-right reject­ed the actu­al neo-Nazis in the move­ment. And he added that Taki’s Mag­a­zine and VDare, two pub­li­ca­tions Yiannopou­los and Bokhari iden­ti­fied as part of the alt-right, “are both racist. … We should dis­claimer that or strike that part of the his­to­ry from the arti­cle.” (The pub­lished sto­ry added, in the pas­sive voice, “All of these web­sites have been accused of racism.”) Again the sto­ry went back to Bokhari, who on the 24th sent Yiannopou­los still anoth­er draft, with the sub­ject head “ALT RIGHT, MEIN FUHRER.”

On the 27th, now co-bylined, the sto­ry was ready for upper man­age­ment: Ban­non and Lar­ry Solov, Breitbart’s press-shy CEO. It was also ready, on a sep­a­rate email chain, for anoth­er read and round of com­ments from the white nation­al­ist Sauci­er, the feu­dal­ist Yarvin, the neo-Nazi Weev, and Vox Day.

“I need to go thru this tomor­row in depth…although I do appre­ci­ate any piece that men­tions evola,” Ban­non wrote. On the 29th, in an email titled “steve wants you to read this,” Mar­low sent Yiannopou­los a list of edits and notes Ban­non had solicit­ed from James Pinker­ton, a for­mer Rea­gan and George H.W. Bush staffer and a con­tribut­ing edi­tor of the Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive. The 59-year-old Pinker­ton was put off by a car­toon of Pepe the Frog con­duct­ing the Trump Train.

“I love art,” he wrote inline. “I think [Bre­it­bart News Net­work] needs a lot more of it, but I don’t get the above. Frogs? Ker­mit? Am I miss­ing some­thing here?”

Lat­er that day, Bre­it­bart pub­lished “An Estab­lish­ment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” It quick­ly became a touch­stone, cit­ed in the New York Times, the Los Ange­les Times, the New York­er, CNN, and New York Mag­a­zine, among oth­ers. And its influ­ence is still being felt. This past July, in a speech in War­saw that was cel­e­brat­ed by the alt-right, Pres­i­dent Trump echoed a line from the sto­ry — a sto­ry writ­ten by a “brown-sound­ing” amanu­en­sis, all but line-edit­ed by a white nation­al­ist, laun­dered for racism by Breitbart’s edi­tors, and super­vised by the man who would in short order become the president’s chief strate­gist.

The machine had worked well.

**

On July 22, 2016, Rebekah Mer­cer — Robert’s pow­er­ful daugh­ter — emailed Steve Ban­non from her Stan­ford alum­ni account. She want­ed the Bre­it­bart exec­u­tive chair­man, whom she intro­duced as “one of the great­est liv­ing defend­ers of Lib­er­ty,” to meet an app devel­op­er she knew. Apple had reject­ed the man’s game (Capi­tol HillAwry, in which play­ers delete emails à la Hillary Clin­ton) from the App Store, and the younger Mer­cer won­dered “if we could put an arti­cle up detail­ing his 1st amend­ment polit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion.”

Ban­non passed the request from Mer­cer to Yiannopou­los. Yiannopou­los passed it to Char­lie Nash, an 18-year-old Eng­lish­man whom he had met at a con­fer­ence of the pop­ulist right-wing UK Inde­pen­dence Par­ty con­fer­ence the pre­vi­ous year, and who start­ed work­ing as his intern imme­di­ate­ly after. Like some bleach-blonde mes­si­ah of anti–political cor­rect­ness, Yiannopou­los tend­ed to draw in ide­o­log­i­cal­ly sym­pa­thet­ic young men at con­fer­ences, cam­pus speech­es, and on social media, accu­mu­lat­ing more and more acolytes as he went along.

In June 2015 it was Ben Kew, who invit­ed Yiannopou­los to speak at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bris­tol, where he was a stu­dent; he’s now a staff writer for Bre­it­bart. In Sep­tem­ber 2015 it was Tom Cic­cot­ta, the trea­sur­er of the class of 2017 at Buck­nell Uni­ver­si­ty, who still writes for Bre­it­bart. In Feb­ru­ary 2016 it was Hunter Swog­ger, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan stu­dent and then the edi­tor of the con­ser­v­a­tive Michi­gan Review, whom Yiannopou­los cul­ti­vat­ed and brought on as a social media spe­cial­ist dur­ing his Dan­ger­ous Fag­got tour. Yiannopou­los called these young researchers his “truf­fle­hounds.”

Nash, who had just been hired by Bre­it­bart at $30,000 a year after months of lob­by­ing by Yiannopou­los, duti­ful­ly field­ed the request from the bil­lion­aire indi­rect­ly pay­ing his salary and turned around a sto­ry about the reject­ed Capi­tol HillAwry app on the 25th — and a fol­low-up five days lat­er after Apple reversed its deci­sion.

“Huge vic­to­ry,” Ban­non emailed after the rever­sal. “Huge win.”

This was the usu­al way sto­ries came in from the Mer­cers, accord­ing to a for­mer Bre­it­bart edi­tor: with a request from Ban­non refer­ring to “our investors” or “our invest­ing part­ners.”

After Cannes, as Ban­non pushed Yiannopou­los to do more live events that pre­sent­ed expen­sive logis­ti­cal chal­lenges, the involve­ment of the invest­ing part­ners became increas­ing­ly obvi­ous. Fol­low­ing a May event at DePaul Uni­ver­si­ty in Chica­go in which Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­ers stormed a Yiannopou­los speech, he wrote to Ban­non, “I wouldn’t con­fess this to any­one pub­licly, of course, but I was wor­ried … last night that I was going to get punched or worse. … I need one or two peo­ple of my own.”

“Agree 100%,” Ban­non wrote. “We want you to stir up more. Milo: for your eyes only we r going to use the mer­cers pri­vate secu­ri­ty com­pa­ny.”

Copied on the email was Dan Fleuette, Bannon’s copro­duc­er at Glit­ter­ing Steel and the man who act­ed for months as the go-between for Yiannopou­los and the Mer­cers. As Yiannopou­los made the tran­si­tion in sum­mer 2016 from being a writer to becom­ing large­ly the star of a trav­el­ing stage show, Fleuette was enlist­ed to process and wran­gle the legion of young assis­tants, man­agers, train­ers, and oth­er tal­ent the Bre­it­bart tech edi­tor demand­ed be brought along for the ride.

First came Tim Gionet, the for­mer Buz­zFeed social media strate­gist who goes by “Baked Alas­ka” on Twit­ter, whom Yiannopou­los pitched to Fleuette as a tour man­ag­er in late May. Gionet accom­pa­nied Yiannopou­los to Flori­da after the June 2016 Pulse night­club killings in Orlan­do. The two planned a press con­fer­ence out­side a mosque attend­ed by the shoot­er, Omar Mateen. (“Bril­liant,” Ban­non emailed. “Btw they are ALL ‘fac­to­ries of hate.’”) But after some imper­ti­nent tweets and back talk from Gionet, Fleuette became Yiannopoulos’s man­age­r­i­al con­fi­dante.

“He needs to under­stand that ‘Baked Alas­ka’ is over,” Yiannopou­los wrote in one email to Fleuette. “He is not a friend he is an employ­ee. … He is becom­ing a laugh­ing stock and that reflects bad­ly on me.” In anoth­er, “I think we need to replace Tim. … [He] has no news judg­ment or under­stand­ing of what’s dan­ger­ous (thinks tweets about Jews are just fine). … He seems more inter­est­ed in his career as an obscure Twit­ter per­son­al­i­ty than my tour man­ag­er.”

At the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion, Yiannopou­los delib­er­ate­ly chose a hotel for Gionet far from the con­ven­tion cen­ter, writ­ing to anoth­er Bre­it­bart employ­ee, “Exact­ly where I want him. … He needs the com­mute to remind him of his place.”

Gionet did not respond to mul­ti­ple requests by Buz­zFeed News for com­ment.

But Gionet, who would go on to march with the alt-right in Char­lottesville, was still use­ful to Yiannopou­los as a gate­way to a group of young, hip, social media–savvy Trump sup­port­ers.

Yiannopou­los man­aged all of his assis­tants and ghost­writ­ers under his own umbrel­la, using “yiannopoulos.net” emails and pri­vate Slack rooms. This struc­ture insu­lat­ed Breitbart’s upper man­age­ment from the 4chan savants and Gamer­Gate vets work­ing for Yiannopou­los. And it gave Yiannopou­los a staff loy­al to him above Bre­it­bart. (Indeed, Yiannopou­los shopped a sep­a­rate “Team Milo” sec­tion to Dow Jones, which pub­lish­es the Wall Street Jour­nal, in July 2016.)

It also some­times led to extra­or­di­nar­i­ly fraught orga­ni­za­tion­al and per­son­al dynam­ics. Take Allum Bokhari, the Oxford-edu­cat­ed for­mer polit­i­cal con­sul­tant whom Yiannopou­los reward­ed for his years of grunt work with a $100,000 ghost­writ­ing con­tract for his book Dan­ger­ous.

But the men were spy­ing on each oth­er.

In April 2016, Yiannopou­los asked Bokhari for “a com­plete list of the email, social media, bank accounts, and any oth­er sys­tem and ser­vices of mine you have been access­ing, and how long you’ve had access.” Bokhari con­fessed to hav­ing logged into Yiannopoulos’s email and Slack, and had used Yiannopoulos’s cred­it card for an Airbnb, a con­fes­sion Yiannopou­los quick­ly passed on to Lar­ry Solov, the Bre­it­bart CEO.

“My basic posi­tion is that he is not sta­ble and needs to be far away from me,” Yiannopou­los wrote to Mar­low and Solov.

Mean­while, Yiannopou­los had com­piled a tran­script of what he called “a short sec­tion of 30 hours of record­ing down on paper,” which appeared to be of con­ver­sa­tions between Bokhari and a friend.

The new­com­ers brought in by Gionet weren’t much bet­ter behaved. Yiannopou­los had to boot one prospec­tive mem­ber of his “tour squad” for post­ing cocaine use on Snapchat. Mike Mahoney, a then–20-year-old from North Car­oli­na, had to be mon­i­tored because of his propen­si­ty for racism and anti-Semi­tism on social media. (Mahoney was lat­er banned from Twit­ter, but he’s relo­cat­ed to Gab, a free speech uber alles social net­work where he is free to post mes­sages such as “reminder: mus­lims are fags.”)

“Let me know if there’s any­thing spe­cif­ic that’s real­ly bad eg any Jew stuff,” Yiannopou­los wrote of Mahoney in an email to anoth­er mem­ber of his staff. “His entire Twit­ter per­sona will have to change dra­mat­i­cal­ly once he gets the job.” On Sep­tem­ber 11, 2016, Mahoney signed a $2,500-a-month con­tract with Glit­ter­ing Steel.

As the Dan­ger­ous Fag­got tour swung into gear, Yiannopou­los grew increas­ing­ly hos­tile toward Fleuette, whom he exco­ri­at­ed for late pay­ments to his young crew, lack of sup­port, and dis­or­ga­ni­za­tion. “The entire tour staff is demand­ing mon­ey,” Yiannopou­los wrote in one email to Fleuette in Octo­ber. “No one knows or cares who Glit­ter­ing Steel is but this rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant­ly dam­ag­ing risk to my rep­u­ta­tion if it gets out.” And in anoth­er, “Your prob­lem right now is keep­ing me hap­py.”

Yet ulti­mate­ly Fleuette was nec­es­sary — he con­nect­ed Yiannopoulos’s mad­cap world and the mas­sive­ly rich peo­ple fund­ing the machine.

“I think you know who the final deci­sion belongs to,” Fleuette wrote to Yiannopou­los after one par­tic­u­lar­ly fran­tic request for mon­ey. “I am in dai­ly com­mu­ni­ca­tion with them.”

**

Yiannopoulos’s star rose through­out 2016 thanks to a suc­ces­sion of con­tro­ver­sial pub­lic appear­ances, social media con­fla­gra­tions, Bre­it­bart radio spots, tele­vi­sion hits, and mag­a­zine pro­files. Bannon’s guid­ance, the Mer­cers’ patron­age, and the cre­ative ener­gy of his young staff had come togeth­er at exact­ly the time Don­ald Trump turned offen­sive speech into a defin­ing issue in Amer­i­can cul­ture. And for thou­sands of peo­ple, Yiannopou­los, Breitbart’s poster child for offen­sive speech, became a secret cham­pi­on.

Aggriev­ed by the encroach­ment of so-called cul­tur­al Marx­ism into Amer­i­can pub­lic life, and egged on by an end­less stream of sto­ries on Fox News about safe spaces and racial­ly charged cam­pus con­fronta­tions, a diverse group of Amer­i­cans took to Yiannopoulos’s inbox to thank him and to con­fess their fears about the future of the coun­try.

And some of these dis­grun­tled tech work­ers reached beyond the rank and file. Vivek Wad­hwa, a promi­nent entre­pre­neur and aca­d­e­m­ic, reached out repeat­ed­ly to Yiannopou­los with sto­ries of what he con­sid­ered out-of-con­trol polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. First it was about a boy­cott cam­paign against a Kick­starter with con­nec­tions to Gamer­Gate. (“These peo­ple are tru­ly crazy and destruc­tive. … What hor­ri­ble peo­ple,” wrote Wad­wha of the cam­paign­ers.) Then it was about Y‑Combinator cofounder Paul Gra­ham; Wad­wha felt Gra­ham was being unfair­ly tar­get­ed for an essay he wrote about gen­der inequal­i­ty in tech.

“Polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness has gone too far,” Wad­hwa wrote. “The alter­na­tive is com­mu­nism — not equal­i­ty. And that is a failed sys­tem…” Yiannopou­los passed Wadhwa’s email to Bokhari, who prompt­ly ghost­wrote a sto­ry for Bre­it­bart, “Social Jus­tice War­rior Knives Out For Start­up Guru Paul Gra­ham.”

Wad­wha told Buz­zFeed News that he no longer sup­ports Yiannopou­los.

Yiannopou­los also had a pri­vate rela­tion­ship with the ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel, though he was more cir­cum­spect than some oth­er cor­re­spon­dents. After turn­ing down an appear­ance on Yiannopoulos’s pod­cast in May 2016 (Thiel: “Let’s just get cof­fee and take things from there”), Thiel invit­ed the Bre­it­bart tech edi­tor for din­ner at his Hol­ly­wood Hills home in June, a din­ner Yiannopou­los boast­ed of the same night to Ban­non: “You two should meet. … An obvi­ous can­di­date for movie financ­ing if we got exter­nal. … He has fuc ked [Gawk­er Media founder Nick] Den­ton & Gawk­er so many ways it brought a tear to my eye.” They made plans to meet dur­ing the July Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. But much of Yiannopoulos’s knowl­edge of Thiel seemed to come sec­ond­hand from oth­er right-wing activists, as well as Cur­tis Yarvin, the blog­ger who advo­cates the return of feu­dal­ism. In an email exchange short­ly after the elec­tion, Yarvin told Yiannopou­los that he had been “coach­ing Thiel.”

“Peter needs guid­ance on pol­i­tics for sure,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

“Less than you might think!” Yarvin wrote back. “I watched the elec­tion at his house, I think my hang­over last­ed into Tues­day. He’s ful­ly enlight­ened, just plays it very care­ful­ly.”

And Yiannopou­los vent­ed pri­vate­ly after Thiel spoke at the RNC — an oppor­tu­ni­ty the younger man had craved. “No gays rule doesn’t apply to Thiel appar­ent­ly,” he wrote to a promi­nent Repub­li­can oper­a­tive in July 2016.

Thiel declined to com­ment for the sto­ry.

In addi­tion to tech and enter­tain­ment, Yiannopou­los had hid­den helpers in the lib­er­al media against which he and Ban­non fought so uncom­pro­mis­ing­ly. A long-run­ning email group devot­ed to mock­ing sto­ries about the social jus­tice inter­net includ­ed, pre­dictably, Yiannopoulos’s friend Ann Coul­ter, but also Mitchell Sun­der­land, a senior staff writer at Broad­ly, Vice’s women’s chan­nel. Accord­ing to its “About” page, Broad­ly “is devot­ed to rep­re­sent­ing the mul­ti­plic­i­ty of women’s expe­ri­ences. … we pro­vide a sus­tained focus on the issues that mat­ter most to women.”

“Please mock this fat fem­i­nist,” Sun­der­land wrote to Yiannopou­los in May 2016, along with a link to an arti­cle by the New York Times colum­nist Lindy West, who fre­quent­ly writes about fat accep­tance. And while Sun­der­land was Broadly’s man­ag­ing edi­tor, he sent a Broad­ly video about the Satan­ic Tem­ple and abor­tion rights to Tim Gionet with instruc­tions to “do what­ev­er with this on Bre­it­bart. It’s insane.” The next day, Bre­it­bart pub­lished an arti­cle titled “Satan­ic Tem­ple’ Joins Planned Par­ent­hood in Pro-Abor­tion Cru­sade.”

In a state­ment to Buz­zFeed News, a Vice spokesper­son wrote, “We are shocked and dis­ap­point­ed by this high­ly inap­pro­pri­ate and unpro­fes­sion­al con­duct. We just learned about this and have begun a for­mal review into the mat­ter.”

(A day after this sto­ry was pub­lished, Vice fired Mitchell Sun­der­land, accord­ing to a com­pa­ny spokesper­son.)

 

For near­ly a decade, Devin Sauci­er has been estab­lish­ing him­self as one of the bright young things in Amer­i­can white nation­al­ism. In 2008, while at Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty, Sauci­er found­ed a chap­ter of the defunct white nation­al­ist stu­dent group Youth for West­ern Civ­i­liza­tion, which counts among its alum­ni the white nation­al­ist leader Matthew Heim­bach. Richard Spencer called him a friend. He is asso­ci­at­ed with the Wolves of Vin­land, a Vir­ginia neo-pagan group that one reporter described as a “white pow­er wolf cult,” one mem­ber of which plead­ed guilty to set­ting fire to a his­toric black church. For the past sev­er­al years, accord­ing to an observ­er of far-right move­ments, Sauci­er has worked as an assis­tant to Jared Tay­lor, pos­si­bly the most promi­nent white nation­al­ist in Amer­i­ca. Accord­ing to emails obtained by Buz­zFeed News, he edits and writes for Taylor’s mag­a­zine, Amer­i­can Renais­sance, under a pseu­do­nym.

In an Octo­ber 2016 email, Milo Yiannopou­los described the 28-year-old Sauci­er as “my best friend.”

Yiannopou­los may have been exag­ger­at­ing: He was ask­ing his acquain­tance the nov­el­ist Bret Eas­t­on Ellis for a signed copy of Amer­i­can Psy­cho as a gift for Sauci­er. But there’s no ques­tion the men were close. After a March 2016 din­ner togeth­er in George­town, they kept up a steady cor­re­spon­dence, thrilling over Brex­it, approv­ing­ly shar­ing head­lines about a Finnish far-right group called “Sol­diers of Odin,” and mak­ing plans to attend Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Kennedy Cen­ter.

Sauci­er — who did not respond to numer­ous requests for com­ment — clear­ly illus­trates the direct con­nec­tion between open white nation­al­ists and their fel­low trav­el­ers at Bre­it­bart. By spring 2016, Yiannopou­los had begun to use him as a sound­ing board, intel­lec­tu­al guide, and edi­tor. On May 1, Yiannopou­los emailed Sauci­er ask­ing for read­ings relat­ed to class-based affir­ma­tive action; Sauci­er respond­ed with a half dozen links on the sub­ject, which Amer­i­can Renais­sance often cov­ers. On May 3, Sauci­er sent Yiannopou­los an email titled “Arti­cle idea”: “How trolls could win the gen­er­al for Trump.” Yiannopou­los for­ward­ed the email to Bokhari and wrote, “Drop what you’re doing and draft this for me.” An arti­cle under Yiannopoulos’s byline appeared the next day. Also in ear­ly May, Sauci­er advised Yiannopou­los and put him in touch with a source for a sto­ry about the alt-right’s obses­sion with Tay­lor Swift.

Sauci­er also seems to have had enough clout with Yiannopou­los to get him to kill a sto­ry. On May 9, the Bre­it­bart tech edi­tor sent Sauci­er a full draft of the class-based affir­ma­tive action sto­ry. “This real­ly isn’t good,” Sauci­er wrote back, along with a com­plex expla­na­tion of how “true class-based affir­ma­tive action” would cause “black enroll­ment at all decent col­leges” to be “dec­i­mat­ed.” The next day, Yiannopou­los wrote back, “I feel suit­ably admon­ished,” with anoth­er draft. In response, after spec­u­lat­ing that Yiannopou­los was try­ing to “soft ped­al” racial dif­fer­ences in intel­li­gence, Sauci­er wrote, “I would hon­est­ly spike this piece.” The sto­ry nev­er ran.

At oth­er times, though, Yiannopoulos’s writ­ing delight­ed the young white nation­al­ist. On June 20, Yiannopou­los sent Sauci­er a link to his sto­ry “Milo On Why Britain Should Leave The EU — To Stop Mus­lim Immi­gra­tion.” “Nice work,” Sauci­er respond­ed. “I espe­cial­ly like the ref­er­ences to Euro­pean iden­ti­ty and the West­ern greats.” On June 25, Yiannopou­los sent Sauci­er a copy of an analy­sis, “Brex­it: Why The Glob­al­ists Lost.”

“Sub­tle truth bomb,” Sauci­er respond­ed via email to the sen­tence “Britain, like Israel and oth­er high-IQ, high-skilled economies, will thrive on its own.” (IQ dif­fer­ences among races are a fix­a­tion of Amer­i­can Renais­sance.)

“I’m eas­ing every­one in gen­tly,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

“Prob­a­bly beats my ‘bite the pil­low, I’m going in dry’ strat­e­gy,” Sauci­er wrote back.

On occa­sion Yiannopou­los didn’t ease his mas­ters at Bre­it­bart in gen­tly enough. Fre­quent­ly, Alex Marlow’s job edit­ing him came down to reject­ing anti-Semit­ic and racist ideas and jokes. In April 2016, Yiannopou­los tried to secure approval for the neo-Nazi hack­er “Weev” Auern­heimer, the sys­tem admin­is­tra­tor for the Dai­ly Stormer, to appear on his pod­cast.

“Great provoca­tive guest,” Yiannopou­los wrote. “He’s one of the fun­ni­est, smartest and most inter­est­ing peo­ple I know. … Very on brand for me.”

“Got­ta think about it,” Mar­low wrote back. “He’s a legit racist. … This is a major strate­gic deci­sion for this com­pa­ny and as of now I’m lean­ing against it.” (Weev nev­er appeared on the pod­cast.)

Edit­ing a Sep­tem­ber 2016 Yiannopou­los speech, Mar­low approved a joke about “shekels” but added that “you can’t even flirt with OKing gas cham­ber tweets,” ask­ing for such a line to be removed. Mar­low held a sto­ry about Twit­ter ban­ning a promi­nent — fre­quent­ly anti-Semit­ic and anti-black — alt-right account, “Ricky Vaughn.” And in August 2016, Bokhari sent Mar­low a draft of a sto­ry titled “The Alt Right Isn’t White Suprema­cist, It’s West­ern Suprema­cist,” which Mar­low held, explain­ing, “I don’t want to even flirt with okay-ing Nazi memes.”

“We have found his lim­it,” Yiannopou­los wrote back.

Indeed, a major part of Yiannopoulos’s role with­in Bre­it­bart was aggres­sive­ly test­ing lim­its around racial and anti-Semit­ic dis­course. As far as this went, his opaque orga­ni­za­tion-with-an-orga­ni­za­tion struc­ture and crowd­sourced ideation and writ­ing process­es served Breitbart’s pur­pos­es per­fect­ly: They offered upper man­age­ment a veil of plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty — as long as no one saw the emails Buz­zFeed News obtained. In August 2016, a Yiannopou­los staffer sent a “Milo” sto­ry by Bokhari direct­ly to Ban­non and Mar­low for approval.

“Please don’t for­ward chains like that show­ing the sausage being made,” Yiannopou­los wrote back. “Every­one knows; but they don’t have to be remind­ed every time.”

By Yiannopoulos’s own admis­sion, main­tain­ing a suf­fi­cient­ly believ­able dis­tance from overt racists and white nation­al­ists was cru­cial to the machine he had helped Ban­non build. As his pro­file rose, he attract­ed hordes of blaz­ing­ly racist social media fol­low­ers — the kind of peo­ple who harassed the black Ghost­busters actress Leslie Jones so severe­ly on Twit­ter that the plat­form banned Yiannopou­los for encour­ag­ing them.

“Pro­tip on han­dling the end­less tide of 1488 scum,” Cur­tis Yarvin, the neo­re­ac­tionary thinker, wrote to Yiannopou­los in Novem­ber 2015. (“1488” is a ubiq­ui­tous white suprema­cist slo­gan; “88” stands for “Heil Hitler.”) “Deal with them the way some per­fect­ly tai­lored high-com­mu­nist NYT reporter han­dles a herd of greasy anar­chist hip­pies. Patron­iz­ing con­tempt. Your heart is in the right place, young lady, now get a show­er and shave those pits. The lib­er­al doesn’t purge the com­mu­nist because he hates com­mu­nism, he purges the com­mu­nist because the com­mu­nist is a pub­lic embar­rass­ment to him. … It’s not that he sees ene­mies to the left, just that he sees losers to the left, and losers rub off.”

“Thanks re 1488,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed. “I have been strug­gling with this. I need to stay, if not clean, then clean enough.”

He had help stay­ing clean. It came in the form of a media rela­tions appa­ra­tus that issued imme­di­ate and vehe­ment threats of legal action against out­lets that described Yiannopou­los as a racist or a white nation­al­ist.

“Milo is NOT a white nation­al­ist, nor a mem­ber of the alt right,” Jen­ny Kefau­ver, a senior account exec­u­tive at Cap­i­tal­HQ, Breitbart’s press shop, wrote to the Seat­tle CBS affil­i­ate after a sto­ry fol­low­ing the shoot­ing of an anti-Trump pro­test­er at a Yiannopou­los speech. “Milo has always denounced them and you offer no proof that he is asso­ci­at­ed with them. Please issue a cor­rec­tion before we explore addi­tion­al options to cor­rect this error imme­di­ate­ly.”

Over 2016 and ear­ly 2017, Cap­i­tal­HQ, and often Yiannopou­los per­son­al­ly, issued such demands against the Los Ange­les Times, The For­ward, Busi­ness Insid­er, Glam­our, Fusion, USA Today, the Chica­go Tri­bune, the Wash­ing­ton Post, and CNN. The result­ing retrac­tions or cor­rec­tions — or refusals — even spawned anewcat­e­go­ry of Bre­it­bartsto­ry.

Of course, it’s unlike­ly that any of these jour­nal­ists or edi­tors could have known about Yiannopoulos’s rela­tion­ship with Sauci­er, about his attempts to defend gas cham­ber jokes in Bre­it­bart, or about how he tried to put Weev on his pod­cast.

Nor could they have known about the night of April 2, 2016, which Yiannopou­los spent at the One Nos­tal­gia Tav­ern in Dal­las, belt­ing out a karaoke ren­di­tion of “Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful” in front of a crowd of “sieg heil”-ing admir­ers, includ­ing Richard Spencer.

Sauci­er can be seen in the video film­ing the per­for­mance. The same night, he and Spencer did a duet of Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill” in front of a beam­ing Yiannopou­los.

And there was no way the jour­nal­ists threat­ened with law­suits for call­ing Yiannopou­los a racist could have known about his pass­words.

In an April 6 email, Allum Bokhari men­tioned hav­ing had access to an account of Yiannopoulos’s with “a pass­word that began with the word Kristall.” Kristall­nacht, an infa­mous 1938 riot against Ger­man Jews car­ried out by the SA — the para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion that helped Hitler rise to pow­er — is some­times con­sid­ered the begin­ning of the Holo­caust. In a June 2016 email to an assis­tant, Yiannopou­los shared the pass­word to his email, which began “LongKnives1290.” The Night of the Long Knives was the Nazi purge of the lead­er­ship of the SA. The purge famous­ly includ­ed Ernst Röhm, the SA’s gay leader. 1290 is the year King Edward I expelled the Jews from Eng­land.

**

Ear­ly in the morn­ing of August 17, 2016, as news began to break that Steve Ban­non would leave Bre­it­bart to run the Trump cam­paign, Milo Yiannopou­los emailed the man who had turned him into a star.

“Con­grats chief,” he wrote.

“u mean ‘con­do­lences,’” Ban­non wrote back.

“I admire your sense of duty (seri­ous­ly).”

“u get it.”

In the month after the con­ven­tion, Yiannopou­los and Ban­non con­tin­ued to work close­ly. Ban­non and Mar­low encour­aged a bar­rage of sto­ries about Yiannopoulos’s late July ban from Twit­ter. Ban­non and Yiannopou­los worked to dis­tance them­selves from Charles Johnson’s plans to sue Twit­ter. (“Charles is PR poi­son,” Yiannopou­los wrote. “Charles is well intentioned–but he is wack,” Ban­non respond­ed.) And the two went back and forth over how hard to hit Paul Ryan in an August sto­ry defend­ing the alt-right. (“Only the head­line mocks him cor­rect,” Ban­non wrote. “We nev­er actu­al­ly say he is a cuck in the body of the piece?”)

But once Ban­non left Bre­it­bart, his email cor­re­spon­dence with Yiannopou­los dried up, with a few excep­tions. On August 25, after Hillary Clinton’s alt-right speech, Yiannopou­los emailed Ban­non, “I’ve nev­er laughed so hard.”

Still, as the cam­paign pro­gressed into the fall, there were clues that Ban­non con­tin­ued to run aspects of Bre­it­bart and guide the career of his bur­geon­ing alt-right star. On Sep­tem­ber 1, Ban­non for­ward­ed Yiannopou­los a sto­ry about a new Rut­gers speech code; Yiannopou­los for­ward­ed it to Bokhari and asked for a sto­ry. On the 3rd, Ban­non emailed to tell Yiannopou­los he was “try­ing to set up DJT inter­view.” (The inter­view with Trump nev­er hap­pened.) And on Sep­tem­ber 11, Ban­non intro­duced Yiannopou­los over email to the dig­i­tal strate­gist and Trump sup­port­er Oz Sul­tan and instruct­ed the men to meet.

There were also signs that Ban­non was using his prox­im­i­ty to the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee to pro­mote the cul­ture war pet caus­es that he and Yiannopou­los shared. On Octo­ber 13, Sauci­er emailed Yiannopou­los a tweet from the white nation­al­ist leader Nathan Dami­go, who went on to punch a woman in the face at a Berke­ley ral­ly in April of this year and led marchers in Char­lottesville: “@realDonaldTrump just said he would pro­tect free speech on col­lege cam­pus.”

“He used phras­es extreme­ly close to what I say — Ban­non is feed­ing him,” Yiannopou­los respond­ed.

Yet, by the ear­ly days of the Trump pres­i­den­cy — and as the hard­er and more explic­it­ly big­ot­ed ele­ments with­in the alt-right fought to reclaim the term — Ban­non had clear­ly estab­lished a for­mal dis­tance from Yiannopou­los. On Feb­ru­ary 14, Yiannopou­los, who months ear­li­er had worked hand in glove with Ban­non, asked their mutu­al PR rep for help reach­ing him. “Here’s the book man­u­script, to be kept con­fi­den­tial of course… still hop­ing for a Ban­non or Don Jr or Ivan­ka endorse­ment!”

The next week, video appeared in which Yiannopou­los appeared to con­done pedophil­ia. He resigned from Bre­it­bart under pres­sure two days lat­er, but not before his attor­ney beseeched Solov and Mar­low to keep him.

“We implore you not to dis­card this ris­ing star over a 13 month old video that we all know does not reflect his true views,” the lawyer wrote.

Ban­non, ensconced in the chaot­ic Trump White House, didn’t com­ment, nor did he reach out to Yiannopou­los on his main email. But the machine wasn’t bro­ken, just run­ning qui­et­ly. And it wouldn’t jet­ti­son such a valu­able com­po­nent alto­geth­er, even after seem­ing to endorse pedophil­ia.

After fir­ing Yiannopou­los, Mar­low accom­pa­nied him to the Mer­cers’ Palm Beach home to dis­cuss a new ven­ture: MILO INC. On Feb­ru­ary 27, not quite two weeks after the scan­dal erupt­ed, Yiannopou­los received an email from a woman who described her­self as “Robert Mercer’s accoun­tant.” “We will be send­ing a wire pay­ment today,” she wrote. Lat­er that day, in an email to the accoun­tant and Robert Mer­cer, Yiannopou­los per­son­al­ly thanked his patron. And as Yiannopou­los pre­pared to pub­lish his book, he stayed close enough to Rebekah Mer­cer to ask her by text for a rec­om­men­da­tion when he need­ed a peri­odon­tist in New York.

Since Ban­non left the White House, there have been signs that the two men may be col­lab­o­rat­ing again. On August 18, Yiannopou­los post­ed to Insta­gram a black-and-white pho­to of Ban­non with the cap­tion “Win­ter is Com­ing.” Though he ulti­mate­ly didn’t show, Ban­non was orig­i­nal­ly sched­uled to speak at Yiannopoulos’s Free Speech Week at UC Berke­ley. (The event, which was sup­posed to fea­ture an all-star line­up of far-right per­son­al­i­ties, was can­celed last month, report­ed­ly after the stu­dent group spon­sor­ing it failed to fill out nec­es­sary paper­work.) And Yiannopou­los has told those close to him that he expects to be back at Bre­it­bart soon.

Steve Bannon’s actions are often ana­lyzed through the lens of his pro­fessed ide­ol­o­gy, that of an anti-Islam, anti-immi­grant, anti-“Globalist” cru­sad­er bent on destroy­ing pre­vail­ing lib­er­al ideas about immi­gra­tion, diver­si­ty, and eco­nom­ics. To be sure, much of that comes through in the doc­u­ments obtained by Buz­zFeed News. The “Camp of the Saints” Ban­non is there, demand­ing Yiannopou­los change “refugee” to “migrant” in a Feb­ru­ary 2016 sto­ry, speak­ing of the #war for the West.

Still, it is less often we think about Ban­non sim­ply as a media exec­u­tive in charge of a pri­vate com­pa­ny. Any suc­cess­ful media exec­u­tive pro­duces con­tent to expand audi­ence size. The Bre­it­bart alt-right machine, embod­ied by Milo Yiannopou­los, may read most clear­ly in this con­text. It was a bril­liant audi­ence expan­sion machine, financed by bil­lion­aires, designed to draw in peo­ple dis­gust­ed by some com­bi­na­tion of iden­ti­ty pol­i­tics, Mus­lim and His­pan­ic immi­gra­tion, and the idea of Hillary Clin­ton or Barack Oba­ma in the White House. And if expand­ing that audi­ence meant involv­ing white nation­al­ists and neo-Nazis, their par­tic­i­pa­tion could always be laun­dered to hide their con­tri­bu­tions. . . .

3. The pro­gram con­cludes with a musi­cal selec­tion. “We Can’t Make It Here Any­more” by James McMurtry is a bril­liant piece of music. It mov­ing­ly express­es the enor­mous social dis­tress and dis­lo­ca­tion being expe­ri­enced by Mid­dle Amer­i­ca and, to an extent, suc­cess­ful­ly chan­neled by Yiannopou­los, Ban­non et al into “Alt-Right” anger.

Discussion

3 comments for “FTR #986 Walkin’ the Snake with Breitbart, Part 3”

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/29/milo-yiannopouloss-draft-and-the-role-of-editors-in-dealing-with-the-far-right?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    Milo wrote a book and the Edi­tor want­ed it
    In the guide, the Dai­ly Stormer’s edi­tor, the vile Andrew Anglin, advis­es would-be con­trib­u­tors how to write for his pub­li­ca­tion. He instructs them about the cor­rect for­mat for hyper­links, the usu­al struc­ture for arti­cles … and the racial slurs he prefers. The N‑word, he says, is fine but should be mixed with epi­thets like “mon­key”, “Negroid”, “ape”, etc.

    Cru­cial­ly, he explains the neces­si­ty of irony.

    “The tone of the site should be light,” he says. “Most peo­ple are not com­fort­able with mate­r­i­al that comes across as vit­ri­olic, rag­ing, non-iron­ic hatred. The unin­doc­tri­nat­ed should not be able to tell if we are jok­ing or not.”

    Then he adds, “This is obvi­ous­ly a ploy and I actu­al­ly do want to gas kikes. But that’s nei­ther here nor there.”

    In the guide, the Dai­ly Stormer’s edi­tor, the vile Andrew Anglin, advis­es would-be con­trib­u­tors how to write for his pub­li­ca­tion. He instructs them about the cor­rect for­mat for hyper­links, the usu­al struc­ture for arti­cles … and the racial slurs he prefers. The N‑word, he says, is fine but should be mixed with epi­thets like “mon­key”, “Negroid”, “ape”, etc.

    Cru­cial­ly, he explains the neces­si­ty of irony.

    “The tone of the site should be light,” he says. “Most peo­ple are not com­fort­able with mate­r­i­al that comes across as vit­ri­olic, rag­ing, non-iron­ic hatred. The unin­doc­tri­nat­ed should not be able to tell if we are jok­ing or not.”

    Then he adds, “This is obvi­ous­ly a ploy and I actu­al­ly do want to gas kikes. But that’s nei­ther here nor there.”

    MILO STATEMENTS about Anglin:
    Remem­ber this style guide the next time an alt-righter says some­thing so ham­mi­ly out­ra­geous that you begin to doubt its sin­cer­i­ty. This is by design. The Dai­ly Stormer and oth­er groups like it want you to be unsure if you should take them seri­ous­ly. Andrew Anglin wants you to think he’s just a troll, that he’s spout­ing incen­di­ary crap for no oth­er rea­son than to get a rise out of you.

    Remem­ber that the irony and the coy mis­di­rec­tion are all in ser­vice of trick­ing peo­ple into fol­low­ing him on his path toward a white suprema­cist state. This is what he believes.”

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 2, 2018, 8:26 pm
  2. Here is the WSJ arti­cle on Mueller Request­ing info On Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca;

    Excerpts
    Mr. Mueller’s request for employ­ee emails was made before media out­lets report­ed in Octo­ber that Mr. Nix had con­tact­ed Wik­iLeaks co-founder Julian Assange dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, accord­ing to a per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter. The Swe­den-based Wik­iLeaks last year pub­lished a trove of Hillary Clin­ton ‑relat­ed emails that U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies lat­er deter­mined had been stolen by Russ­ian intel­li­gence and giv­en to the web­site.

    Mr. Nix, in a Lis­bon speech in Novem­ber, said he had asked the office that han­dles his speak­ing engage­ments to con­tact Mr. Assange in “ear­ly June 2016,” after read­ing a news­pa­per report that Wik­iLeaks planned to pub­lish the Clin­ton-relat­ed emails. He asked if Mr. Assange “might share that infor­ma­tion with us.” Mr. Assange has said he declined the request. Mr. Nix’s out­reach to Wik­iLeaks came at the same time as his firm start­ed work­ing for Mr. Trump’s cam­paign, The Wall Street Jour­nal has report­ed.

    Two months after Mr. Nix direct­ed his speaker’s bureau to con­tact Mr. Assange, top Trump donor Rebekah Mer­cer asked him whether Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca could help bet­ter orga­nize the emails Wik­iLeaks was releas­ing, the Jour­nal has report­ed. Ms. Mer­cer and her father, hedge-fund bil­lion­aire Robert Mer­cer, are part own­ers of Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca.

    Ms. Mer­cer and Mr. Nix haven’t com­ment­ed on the mat­ter.

    Dur­ing the cam­paign, Cam­bridge Ana­lyt­i­ca pro­vid­ed data, polling and research ser­vices to the cam­paign. Steve Ban­non had intro­duced Mr. Nix to the cam­paign in mid-May.

    https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=085b793850&view=lg&msg=16071a45b1fa04e6

    Posted by Mary Benton | January 2, 2018, 8:28 pm
  3. Is Steve Ban­non done as a far-right media chief? Only time will tell, but fol­low­ing the release of Michael Wolf­f’s new book Fire and Furywhich cov­ers the ear­ly days of the Trump White House and is filled with incred­i­bly unflat­ter­ing quotes about Trump from Ban­non — it’s start­ing to look like Ban­non could be Per­sona non gra­ta with­in the far-right media com­plex. And if that hap­pens, he’s pre­sum­ably going to out at Bre­it­bart too.

    So with that in mind, look who’s cut­ting ties with Ban­non:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Mer­cer issues rare pub­lic rebuke of for­mer ally Ban­non

    By Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man
    Jan­u­ary 4, 2018 at 5:08 PM

    Stephen K. Ban­non’s main finan­cial backer is for­mal­ly cut­ting ties with the for­mer Trump advis­er.

    In a new state­ment Thurs­day, bil­lion­aire con­ser­v­a­tive donor Rebekah Mer­cer said that she has not spo­ken to Ban­non, the for­mer White House chief strate­gist, in many months and that she con­tin­ues to sup­port Pres­i­dent Trump.

    “I sup­port Pres­i­dent Trump and the plat­form upon which he was elect­ed,” Mer­cer said. “My fam­i­ly and I have not com­mu­ni­cat­ed with Steve Ban­non in many months and have pro­vid­ed no finan­cial sup­port to his polit­i­cal agen­da, nor do we sup­port his recent actions and state­ments.”

    Mer­cer almost nev­er speaks pub­licly, and her state­ment about her long­time ally rep­re­sent­ed an extra­or­di­nary rebuke. It comes in the wake of new book by jour­nal­ist Michael Wolff, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” which includes incen­di­ary com­ments by Ban­non about the pres­i­dent he helped elect and about Trump’s fam­i­ly.

    Mer­cer is arguably the most promi­nent for­mer Ban­non asso­ciate to dis­avow him in the wake of the book’s pub­li­ca­tion. She said she remains com­mit­ted in her sup­port for Bre­it­bart News, where she holds a minor­i­ty stake and where Ban­non serves as chair­man.

    Peo­ple famil­iar with the con­ser­v­a­tive news web­site said dis­cus­sions have begun at the orga­ni­za­tion about poten­tial­ly remov­ing him from the perch that pro­pelled him to them fore­front of nation­al con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics.

    ...

    ———-

    “Mer­cer issues rare pub­lic rebuke of for­mer ally Ban­non” by Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 01/04/2018

    “Peo­ple famil­iar with the con­ser­v­a­tive news web­site said dis­cus­sions have begun at the orga­ni­za­tion about poten­tial­ly remov­ing him from the perch that pro­pelled him to them fore­front of nation­al con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics.”

    Steve def­i­nite­ly kicked the hor­nets nest. So hard that we could be see­ing the end of the Ban­non-era at Bre­it­bart. And that rais­es the ques­tion of the future of Bre­it­bart. Are the Mer­cers going to find some­one else to replace Ban­non and push it even fur­ther to the right? Will Bre­it­bart become even more pro-‘Alt Right’?

    Well, as the fol­low­ing piece in Buz­zFeed points out, the “Fire and Fury” book that cre­at­ed this firestorm actu­al­ly talked about a whole new far-right media out­let that was in the works: Peter Thiel and Roger Ailes want­ed to cre­ate their own ver­sion of Fox News. An extra-right-wing ver­sion of Fox News.

    These plans of course fiz­zled after Roger Ailes died. But accord­ing to Buz­zFeed, those ambi­tions did­n’t fiz­zle entire­ly. Thiel is still inter­est­ed in such an endeav­or, but he wants a part­ner with deep pock­ets to help cov­er the extreme costs of get­ting a cable news net­work up and run­ning and has already approached the Mer­cers about the idea:

    Buz­zFeed

    Peter Thiel Is Explor­ing The Cre­ation Of A Con­ser­v­a­tive Cable News Net­work

    Sources say the bil­lion­aire has engaged the wealthy Mer­cer fam­i­ly about the endeav­or. Accord­ing to a new book, Thiel also explored plans to cre­ate a Fox News com­peti­tor with the late Roger Ailes.

    Ryan Mac
    Steven Perl­berg
    Post­ed on Jan­u­ary 3, 2018, at 5:07 p.m.

    Bil­lion­aire ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel wants to cre­ate a new con­ser­v­a­tive cable news net­work and his rep­re­sen­ta­tives have engaged the pow­er­ful Mer­cer fam­i­ly to help with fund­ing, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion.

    Thiel, a Face­book board mem­ber who secret­ly fund­ed law­suits to bring down Gawk­er Media, had orig­i­nal­ly explored a plan to cre­ate the net­work along with Roger Ailes, the late founder of Fox News, accord­ing to a soon-to-be pub­lished book by jour­nal­ist Michael Wolff. But Buz­zFeed News has learned that Thiel has con­tin­ued look­ing into fash­ion­ing a Fox News com­peti­tor even after the May 2017 death of Ailes, accord­ing to the two sources famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    Wolff writes that on May 12 of last year, Ailes was sched­uled to fly from Palm Beach, Flori­da, to New York to meet with Thiel to dis­cuss the launch of a new cable news net­work that would com­pete with Fox News, which Ailes nur­tured into a con­ser­v­a­tive pow­er­house before he was oust­ed in the sum­mer of 2016 in a sex­u­al harass­ment scan­dal. Both men, Wolff writes in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House “wor­ried that Trump could bring Trump­ism down.”

    The plan, accord­ing to Wolff, was that Thiel — a rare tech mogul who open­ly sup­port­ed Trump — would pay for the net­work. Ailes would come along and bring loy­al Fox News tal­ent Sean Han­ni­ty and Bill O’Reilly, who was forced out at Fox last year fol­low­ing reports about set­tle­ments he had reached with mul­ti­ple women.

    But two days before the meet­ing, Ailes fell and hit his head. Ailes told his wife, Eliz­a­beth, not to resched­ule the meet­ing before he slipped into a coma, Wolff writes. He died a week lat­er.

    A spokesper­son for Thiel declined to com­ment for this sto­ry. Eliz­a­beth Ailes could not be imme­di­ate­ly reached for com­ment.

    A spokesper­son for the Mer­cer fam­i­ly, which is led by hedge fund bil­lion­aire and Bre­it­bart patron Robert Mer­cer, didn’t return a request for com­ment. Robert’s daugh­ter, Rebekah Mer­cer, served on the president’s exec­u­tive tran­si­tion team with Thiel fol­low­ing the elec­tion.

    One per­son close to Thiel said he was not aware of his plans to cre­ate a news net­work, and was sur­prised when asked about the plan. That per­son not­ed that Thiel had said in pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions that media com­pa­nies were tra­di­tion­al­ly bad invest­ments.

    Thiel’s explo­ration, though, high­lights a fre­quent point of dis­cus­sion among con­ser­v­a­tive media exec­u­tives — that there is room to flank Fox News from the right. Still, cre­at­ing a cable net­work from scratch is an incred­i­bly expen­sive endeav­or that would require hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars and no guar­an­tee of suc­cess (Rupert Mur­doch, who con­trols Fox News’ par­ent, 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox, had to endure years of loss­es before Fox became the finan­cial giant it is today).

    For his part, Thiel has made few invest­ments in media. He was a seed investor in the tech­nol­o­gy news site Pan­do­Dai­ly, and as of late last year, was try­ing to bid for the archives of Gawker.com, which is being shopped around by the estate of its bank­rupt par­ent com­pa­ny. A per­son famil­iar with his think­ing not­ed that the bil­lion­aire saw an oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand his influ­ence after speak­ing at the RNC and serv­ing on the tran­si­tion team.

    ...

    ———-

    “Peter Thiel Is Explor­ing The Cre­ation Of A Con­ser­v­a­tive Cable News Net­work” by Ryan Mac and Steven Perl­berg; Buz­zFeed; 01/03/2018

    “Bil­lion­aire ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Peter Thiel wants to cre­ate a new con­ser­v­a­tive cable news net­work and his rep­re­sen­ta­tives have engaged the pow­er­ful Mer­cer fam­i­ly to help with fund­ing, accord­ing to two sources famil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion.”

    As we can see, Thiel’s media ambi­tions are so big he needs to find more bil­lion­aires to help finance them. And he’s still inter­est­ed even after Ailes died:

    ...
    Thiel, a Face­book board mem­ber who secret­ly fund­ed law­suits to bring down Gawk­er Media, had orig­i­nal­ly explored a plan to cre­ate the net­work along with Roger Ailes, the late founder of Fox News, accord­ing to a soon-to-be pub­lished book by jour­nal­ist Michael Wolff. But Buz­zFeed News has learned that Thiel has con­tin­ued look­ing into fash­ion­ing a Fox News com­peti­tor even after the May 2017 death of Ailes, accord­ing to the two sources famil­iar with the mat­ter
    ...

    And this all high­lights one of the more chill­ing aspects of the US news media mar­ket: con­ser­v­a­tive media exec­u­tives appear to pret­ty con­vinced that there’s still room to flank Fox News from the right:

    ...
    Thiel’s explo­ration, though, high­lights a fre­quent point of dis­cus­sion among con­ser­v­a­tive media exec­u­tives — that there is room to flank Fox News from the right. Still, cre­at­ing a cable net­work from scratch is an incred­i­bly expen­sive endeav­or that would require hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars and no guar­an­tee of suc­cess (Rupert Mur­doch, who con­trols Fox News’ par­ent, 21st Cen­tu­ry Fox, had to endure years of loss­es before Fox became the finan­cial giant it is today).
    ...

    So that’s all some­thing to keep in mind with the reports about Steve Ban­non’s demise and the loss of his Mer­cer clan back­ing. Although it does­n’t answer the ques­tion of who is like­ly to take Ban­non’s place at Bre­it­bart. We’ll see if they can find a suit­able replace­ment.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 4, 2018, 4:04 pm

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