Online, Everything Is Alternative Media

Steve Bannon, Breitbart’s former chairman, watching offstage as Donald J. Trump addressed a rally in New Hampshire last month. Mr. Bannon became the campaign chief in August.

Breitbart, the website at the center of the self-described alternative online media, is planning to expand in the United States and abroad. The site, whose former chairman became the chief executive of Donald J. Trump’s campaign in August, has been emboldened by the victory of its candidate.

Breitbart was always bullish on Mr. Trump’s chances, but the site seems far more certain of something else, as illustrated by a less visible story it published on election night, declaring a different sort of victory: “Breitbart Beats CNN, HuffPo for Total Facebook Engagements for Election Content.”

It was a type of story the site publishes regularly. In August: “Breitbart Jumps to #11 on Facebook for Overall Engagement.” In June: “Breitbart Ranked #1 in the World for Political Social Media; Beats HuffPo by 2 Million.” Late last year: “Breitbart News #6 for Most Comments Among English Facebook Publishers Globally.”

These stories were self-promotional. But the rankings, released on a monthly basis by a company called NewsWhip, which measures activity on social networks, represented a brutal leveling. They were unelaborated lists that ranked outlets in terms that were difficult to dispute — total shares, likes and comments.

A sample ranking of the most-shared sites on Facebook from January had Breitbart at No. 14, just behind ABC and The Washington Post, but ahead of Bleacher Report,, Yahoo and The Hill. The month before, the site ranked between the BBC and The Guardian, just behind The New York Times, which was at No. 7.

These told, narrowly, the story of reach on a new platform — one that the news industry was still coming to terms with as it redefined the terms of consumption. At the same time, they signaled much broader changes: On social platforms, all media had become marginal; elsewhere, much of the media was in structural collapse.

Growing distribution systems belonged to technology companies and their users. Publishers had become mere guests, their own distribution systems, like printed newspapers, stagnant or shrinking. So a news organization’s ranking in that online world — one in which the importance of legacy was diminished — meant something.

Faith in the importance of social metrics was a common trait among pro-Trump media, and for obvious reasons. They were clear indicators of support, participation and success, though exposed to no methodology. They were relative to other media and, by proxy, to politics.

The pro-Trump media understood that it was an insurgent force in a conversation conducted on social media on an unprecedented scale. It understood that its success could be measured by the extent to which it contributed to the assembled millions carrying out their political reading, watching, sharing, commenting and arguing among family and friends. David Bozell, president of ForAmerica, a conservative nonprofit group that operates a large Facebook news page, boasted of its social media prowess: “Because of our success, we know there are real voters delivering real-time political activism every day on these platforms. The press and the political class, at their own peril, ignored the signs, which is why so many got President-elect Trump’s victory wrong.”

In an interview in June, Mr. Bozell spoke more strategically: “We want people to come to our website, but that’s not what it’s designed to do. It’s Marketing 101: Go to where people are at.”

Herrman, J. (2016, novembe 10). Media. Opgeroepen op november 15, 2016, van The New York Times:


Breitbart News Was Just Banned by This Huge Digital Ad Network

Steve Bannon was Trump campaign’s CEO. Now Bannon, the former CEO of Breitbart, is a top White House aide.

For violating the network’s code of conduct banning hate speech.

Breitbart News, the outlet once led by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s chief strategist, has been blocked by one of the largest advertising networks serving digital publishers due to hate speech.

AppNexus deactivated Breitbart News after an audit of the site’s content determined that it violates the advertising network’s code of conduct banning hate speech, spokesman Joshua Zeitz said on Tuesday.

Breitbart Chief Executive Officer Larry Solov said the company “always and continues to condemn racism and bigotry in any form,” in an email statement.

The ban comes as the alt-right movement, which includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites, are being emboldened by Trump winning the White House.

Trump on Tuesday condemned the alt-right in a New York Times interview.

Breitbart was previously headed by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist. The news organization has drawn criticism for promoting far-right, sometimes racist views.

Trump’s appointment of Bannon was denounced by civil rights organizations and minority groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League and the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Advertising companies like AppNexus sell digital ad campaigns to advertisers and then place the ads on sites that are part of the network. The company has secured deals with publishers including Foursquare, Groupon GRPN -5.54% and Nasdaq NDAQ -0.84% .

Zeitz said the AppNexus move was apolitical and the domain can be reactivated once the content in question is addressed.

“We have no interest in turning off sites because of ideology. That’s not what this is about. This is about specific content that violates the hate speech code,” he said.

Breitbart has used racial slurs and derogatory terms related to sexual orientation on its site that AppNexus feared could incite violence against those groups.

While the step could reduce demand for Breitbart ad inventory and thus cost the site money, AppNexus competitors such as DataXu and OpenX Software offer comparable services, according to tech market research firm CB Insights.

The ban was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Reuters. (2016, november 23). Fortune. Opgeroepen op december 1, 2016, van Time Magazine:

Kellogg adverteert niet langer op extreem-rechtse site Breitbart

Kellogg (het bedrijf achter Kellogg’s merken als Choco Pops, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Special K, Frosties) wil niet langer dat zijn advertenties naast antisemitische en racistische content op de site Breitbart staan.

Het ontbijtgranenmerk is niet het eerste merk dat stopt met adverteren op deze site (waarvan oprichter Steve Bannon na de Amerikaanse verkiezingen is benoemd tot chief strategist van Donald Trump), maar met een omzet van 26 miljard dollar is het tot nu toe wel het grootste.

Het gaat ook om advertenties die via derden (advertentienetwerken) op Breitbart verschijnen.

Niet in overeenstemming met waarden bedrijf

De reactie van Kellog: ‘We kijken regelmatig met onze media-inkooppartners of onze advertenties op sites verschijnen die niet in overstemming zijn met de waarden van het bedrijf. Onlangs besloten we daarom te stoppen met adverteren op Breitbart.’

Verschillende Amerikaanse bedrijven, zoals Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker, SoFi, de dierentuin van San Diego stopten reeds of gaan stoppen met adverteren op de site na publieke druk.

Sleeping Giants

Twitteraccount Sleeping Giants is een van de partijen die druk uitoefenen op bedrijven die op Breitbart adverteren. Doel van mensen achter het account is de advertentie-inkomsten van racistische websites te doen laten opdrogen.

Fygi, K.-A. (2016, november 30). Media. Opgeroepen op december 1, 2016, van Adformatie:

Breitbart Urges Kellogg’s Boycott Over Pulled Ads

LOS ANGELES — Breitbart is encouraging a boycott of Kellogg’s products after the cereal maker said it would no longer advertise on the news and opinion website, formerly run by President-elect Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon.

The Kellogg Company cited company “values” in explaining its decision; a spokeswoman said Thursday it has “nothing to do with politics.”

Breitbart has been condemned for featuring racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.

Breitbart said Kellogg’s decision amounted to “economic censorship of mainstream conservative political discourse” and “as un-American as it gets.” It launched a #DumpKelloggs petition Wednesday calling for a boycott of Kellogg’s.

Breitbart said Kellogg’s decision represents “an escalation in the war by leftist companies like Target and Allstate against conservative customers” and their values.

Target and Allstate also have reportedly pulled ads from the site.

Press, T. A. (2016, december 1). U.S. Opgeroepen op december 1, 2016, van Teh New York Times:

Why Ditching Breitbart Is a Risky Move for Brands

Under pressure on all sides

Far-right news outlet Breitbart is the 36th most popular website in the United States, with 37 million unique visitors. So why are so many major American brands pulling their ads from the site?

A slew of big companies—Kellogg K -1.44% , Zulily ZU 0.00% and Allstate ALL 0.62% —have publicly announced they will no longer allow their ads to appear on Breitbart’s website. This comes after consumers, using social media, have waged a high-pressure campaign, calling the website’s content racist, misogynistic and xenophobic. Stephen K. Bannon, the former head of the site, has called Breitbart a “platform for the alt-right.” Some say that term, alt-right, is just window dressing white supremacy but Breitbart denies that.

After helping to steer the Trump campaign to victory, Bannon was appointed to chief White House strategist by Trump.

Still, brands are in a bit of quandry. For although Breitbart certainly has legions of detractors, including civil rights organizations, it is also a popular media brand with a loyal readership base. And in most cases, the brands didn’t even elect to advertise on the news site in the first place. That’s because of the automated nature of advertising technology. As Digiday notes, many ad placements are just retargeted ads that follow you on the Internet.

Think of this example: You browse for a Nikeshirt on and then switch to Facebook—an ad appears showing you the same shirt you just looked at on the Nike website. Nike didn’t specifically elect to run that ad on Facebook—it just followed the web reader as he or she progressed along the Internet.

But brands like Kellogg and Zulily are facing pressure to take a stance. Kellogg took a stance this week when it said it would no longer allow ads for the cereal company’s brands to appear on Breitbart’s website. It said it had worked regularly with media buying partners to make sure that ads don’t run on sites that “aren’t aligned with our values as a company.” The pressure to pull ads from Breitbart are coming from social media users.

The position that Kellogg took ultimately angered the folks at Breitbart, who called the move “un-American.” Social media users that support Breitbart were also enraged, circulating a #dumpKellogg hashtag.

Kellogg isn’t alone in facing this tough dance of trying not to anger consumers on the left or even far right side of the political spectrum. PepsiCo PEP -1.07% , Starbucks SBUX -2.88% , and other brands have also faced boycotts for stepping into controversy as it pertains to the election. One notable commonality: most of the targets are brands that sell consumer products. They are the easiest to target for boycotts, and also are well-known names.

So what can brands do? There may be no way they can truly “win.” The divisiveness of this election is a business risk for now, which may — or may not — dissipate over time.


Kell, J. (2016, december 1). Fortune. Opgeroepen op december 1, 2016, van Time Magazine:


Zal de Vlaming zwichten voor Sceptr, het ‘alternatief’ voor de ‘te linkse media’?

Sceptr is nieuwste uitdager op het internet

Alweer duikt op het internet een uitdager op voor de reguliere media: biedt een alternatief voor de ‘te linkse’ Vlaamse pers. Gaan we de VS achterna, waar Breitbart en The Huffington Post gevestigde waarden het nakijken geven? Voorlopig niet.

Al enige jaren beloven Apache, Newsmonkey en De Wereld Morgen klassieke redacties het vuur aan de schenen te leggen. Op 8 december voegt Sceptr zich bij het rijtje. Op de website van Sceptr staat nu nog geen nieuws, alleen een filmpje met de conservatieve columnist Theodore Dalrymple en een beginselverklaring. Die haalt aan dat er in Vlaanderen een te grote mediaconcentratie is en dat 56 procent van de Vlaamse journalisten links blijkt te denken. Dat verarmt de berichtgeving en promoot het eenheidsdenken. “Hier wil Sceptr verandering in brengen”, maakt de site zich sterk.

In de VS en zelfs in Nederland vinden alternatieve nieuwssites draagvlak, maar in Vlaanderen zijn nog geen succesverhalen opgetekend. Wordt Sceptr dat wel? De website is ontstaan op initiatief van financiers die naar de hoofdredactie van het Vlaams-nationalistische weekblad ’t Pallieterke stapten met het idee om een nieuw digitaal medium uit de grond te stampen. Hoofdredacteur Jonas Naeyaert hoopt dat de website op termijn kan overleven op basis van advertentie-inkomsten.

Veertig freelancers

“Het wordt heel moeilijk om op te boksen tegen de gevestigde media. Het Vlaamse publiek – ook jongeren – blijft teruggrijpen naar klassieke media en hun websites”, zegt professor Sarah Van Leuven, directeur van het Center for Journalism Studies aan de UGent.

“Er zal zeker een publiek zijn voor zo’n website, maar in de Vlaamse context wordt het heel lastig om te overleven”, zegt professor Baldwin Van Gorp van het Instituut voor Mediastudies aan de KU Leuven. “In de VS kom je uit de kosten wanneer je je richt op een heel kleine niche, hier lukt dat niet. Zeker niet als je echt nieuws wilt brengen, want dat kost tijd en geld.”

Het publiek waarop Sceptr mikt, bestaat uit lezers die hun gading niet vinden bij de traditionele nieuwskanalen. “Doordat het merendeel van de journalisten linksdenkend is, bestaat er een impliciete bias”, zegt Naeyaert. “Wij vinden dat de media te veel opvoeden, terwijl wij meer willen informeren. Nu mag je bijvoorbeeld niet vertellen dat daders allochtoon zijn, tenzij het relevant is. Maar wie bepaalt dat? Geef de feiten en laat de mensen een beslissing nemen.”

‘In de VS kom je uit de kosten wanneer je je richt op een heel kleine niche, hier lukt dat niet’

Mogen we dan een site verwachten met een rechtse invalshoek? “Wij hebben niet de bedoeling om de nieuwe Breitbart te zijn, want zij brengen semipropaganda”, verwijst Naeyaert naar de controversiële Amerikaanse website. “Ons doel is politiek nieuws te brengen, niet zozeer commentaar te geven. Ons logo – een scepter – verwijst naar macht.”

De hoofdredacteur zal een netwerk van veertig freelancers aansturen, elk met hun specialiteit. Zelf heeft hij geen journalistieke ervaring. Tot voor kort was hij woordvoerder van de Vlaamse Volksbeweging, als student was hij voorzitter van het Vlaams-conservatieve KVHV. “Ik ga niet ontkennen dat ik een kleur heb. Maar waarom worden diezelfde vragen niet gesteld over andere journalisten? Wij hebben geen politieke beweegredenen en willen geen ideologische stempel. Wij zijn niet van plan een positie in te nemen over abortus of euthanasie.”

“Het is goed dat andere invalshoeken en onderwerpen aan bod komen. Vanuit dat oogpunt is Sceptr zeker geen slecht initiatief”, besluit Van Leuven. “Maar ik geloof niet dat het een aanval kan zijn op te linkse media.”

Mensbrugghe, T. F. (2016, december 1). Media. Opgeroepen op december 1, 2016, van De Morgen:

Charlie Hebdo puts broken-down Angela Merkel on cover of first German edition

German leader is assessed by a VW mechanic as needing a new exhaust to win another term in office in new version of satirical magazine

Cover image of Charlie Hebdo’s first German edition, which launched on Thursday with an image of German chancellor Angela Merkel on a mechanic’s hydraulic lift.

French magazine Charlie Hebdo placed German chancellor Angela Merkel variously on a toilet seat and a car mechanic’s hydraulic lift as it released its first German edition on Thursday.

The cover asserts that Volkswagen, the carmaker hit by an emissions cheating scandal, “stands behind Merkel”, and shows the chancellor lying atop a platform with a mechanic commenting that “with a new exhaust, she’ll be good to go another four years”.

The launch publicity featured a poster showing Merkel sitting on a toilet and reading the weekly, with the slogan: “Charlie Hebdo – it’s liberating.”

The magzine’s first foreign-language edition is an innovation undertaken nearly two years after its staff were almost wiped out in a jihadist attack in Paris.

The initial 16-page edition – with a print run of 200,000 – features a sober four-page graphic travel reportage by cartoonist and publisher Laurent Sourisseau, better known by his artist’s name Riss, which portrays people he met and their reflections on their national identity, Germany’s refugee influx and other social issues.

German chancellor Angela Merkel reads a copy of Charlie Hebdo while sitting on toilet. The title reads ‘Charlie Hebdo it’s liberating – from now on also in German’.

German media mainly warmly greeted the launch of Charlie Hebdo, which will compete with homegrown monthlies Titanic and Eulenspiegel, the local counterparts to Britain’s Private Eye and US site The Onion.

The Frankfurter Rundschau daily judged that, although the proudly tactless Charlie Hebdo regularly takes a running leap across the boundaries of good taste, its appearance on the German media scene was to be welcomed.

It contains humour “as subtle as a steamroller” and its “impudence, especially when dealing with the religions, is legendary”, the newspaper said. “The magazine is pure impertinence. From December 1, German readers will be subjected to it. What can we say? Quite simply: Welcome, Charlie Hebdo.”

Riss, who was badly wounded in the January 2015 attack, believes there is a market. “Humour is everywhere, even in Germany,” he told public broadcaster ARD. “It’s an experiment for us to publish Charlie Hebdo in another language and try to find new fans for the magazine who can help defend it.”

Charlie Hebdo is now produced in a secret location, a legacy of the massacre at its former offices that claimed 12 lives, including some of France’s best-known cartoonists.

The German version will be edited from France by a 33-year-old from Berlin who on the advice of her colleagues uses a pseudonym, Minka Schneider.

Schneider told Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily that the “Je suis Charlie” solidarity movement was especially strong in Germany, where the magazine sold 70,000 copies of its “survivors’ edition” one week after the shootings.

Despite its many loyal fans and supporters in France, Charlie Hebdo has never had a shortage of enemies.

It became a target of Islamist extremists after publishing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad but has also delighted in outraging the Vatican and the French political establishment.

It angered many with a cartoon of Syrian refugee boy Aylan Kurdi, whose body was photographed on a Turkish beach in 2015, by imagining he would have grown up to join the “arse-gropers” who committed mass sexual assaults in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve last year.

GMT. (2016, december 1). Charlie Hebdo. Opgeroepen op december 1, 2016, van The Guardian: