For #JO304, Online Journalism
Newstrack – Breitbart News Network
April 15, 2020
Similarly to many other outlets, Brietbart News Network has focused on coronavirus coverage, but has taken a very different approach from legacy outlets such as the New York Times and Boston Globe by embracing and enabling misinformation and bigotry.
There are no graphs, statistics or facts involved in Breitbart’s coronavirus coverage – instead, the “news” site simply mentions an event or development that did actually happen and then uses that to extrapolate its own messaging.
The eye-catching “trending” section is still in full swing, but instead of the fun, catchy taglines we typically see, all of the tags are aggressively worded COVID-19 related messages.
Lines like “MAKE CHINA PAY,” “FREDO FREAKOUT” (which uses Trump’s derogatory language) and “NEWSOM TO BAIL OUT POOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WITH TAXPAYERS’ MONEY” do not even attempt to hide the site’s opinions on the actual news events that the article is referencing.
While Brietbart is typically known as the platform for the alt-right, the site is now boasting more blatant advertisements than I have ever seen before, putting both a photo and signature of President Trump.
In fact, one advertisement claims to be the official approval poll of the Presidency – and the idea that this poll would be advertised on Brietbart, a site known to be trafficked primarily by Trump supporters – seems ethically and scientifically questionable.
All Brietbart articles are under one blanket as news, despite many being obviously opinionated. The only articles with attributions in the headlines are those with differing opinions or information that readers might not want to hear – especially any that detail arguments against Trump. Certain headlines that readers might like to hear, like the one about the stimulus checks, don’t attribute those developments as coming from the Democratic legislators that are responsible for them.
The site still manages to throw in some extra headlines about immigration and fear that are unrelated to coronavirus in the bottom “on our radar” section. All in all, it is clear that Breitbart is using the COVID-19 crisis as cover to be more vitriolic than ever and to entirely embrace Trump’s messaging.
February 17, 2020
Breitbart News Network is a conservative outlet founded in the early 2000s, that is known to have published conspiracy theories and promote right-wing ideology. Declared “the platform for the alt-right” by former executive editor Steve Bannon, Brietbart became a favorite source for supporters of now President Donald Trump during the 2016 election.
It is worth noting that today, on February 17, the main story on the site is Pinkerton: ‘The New Class War’ Exposes the Oligarchs and Their Enablers,'” and while the story is about the richest in America, the accompanying photo is a headshot of presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg. Ahead of the election, it makes sense to me that Breitbart would choose to center someone directly opposing the current administration politically, as opposed to any of the rich who support Trump or Trump himself.
The online site’s header reads “Breitbart,” with a focus on the organization’s logo, the large boldfont ‘B.” Beneath the header is an updating list of trending tags, which are attached to each story and more casual than a typical headline, using language one might find on social media – these tags are an approach that aims to give an engaging take on a story to pull in readers. While you may see the story linked to the tag lower down on the main page with a full headline, these tags are more of a fresh approach to each story and update as stories trend so that they feel new and different.
The site then has a front story, as well as two sections of highlighted stories – one with catchy subtitles to pull in readers, and one of “most popular” stories, where cleaner headlines are used and stories tend to repeat. Breitbart is interesting in this approach because many stories are on the front page multiple times, such as the Pinkerton book article that is central to much of today’s page.
Breitbart’s design centers bold font, large lettering and much caps-lock, and features a bright orange and black color scheme. These visual choices embody the messaging of the outlet – that it is loud, bold and alternative, and that its content requires immediate attention. The site clearly does not assume that anyone reads each and every section and link and rather links to stories multiple times and tries to catch the eye of a reader with multiple approaches and hopes that one hits.